Book review: “The magician” by Colm Tóibín is magic | Arts

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The magician


By DREW GALLAGHER FOR FREE LANCE – STAR

Let me start by offering my humble and concise summary of Colm Tóibín’s novel “The Magician” for the paperback presentation pages: “The Magician” is magic!

Tóibín is, of course, a literary heavyweight, so I doubt my influence or that of The Free Lance – Star will be enough to do the paperback if another newspaper with a circulation north of 200,000 copies uses. the same game on the title. Nonetheless, I felt I had to gush with enthusiasm as quickly as possible because I can understand that a reader might be a little skeptical about reading a 500 page novel about the life of German author Thomas Mann. .

There are arguably very few writers who could tempt the world with a portrayal of Thomas Mann, whose reputation, like many white male authors of the 20th century, has waned even though Mann’s homosexuality offers a welcome wrinkle. in diversity. But Tóibín is one of the few writers who can bring Mann to life in such compelling and compelling detail. He’s already done this when he used a similar concept when he wrote “The Master” about Henry James, who made one of the year’s best lists. His novel “Brooklyn” was turned into an award-winning film (with Hollywood changing the ending), so his name and work are familiar to many.

Mann’s place in history also extends beyond his literary achievements. His final denunciation of Hitler’s rise to power forced him and his family to flee to Switzerland and then to the United States, where he became a spokesperson in the United States to support his entry into the Second World War. His lectures during the war filled concert halls and, as one government official told him, only Einstein was a more important German figure living in the United States during the war. And through it all, Mann wrote.


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