Nora Webster Pdf Summary Review By Colm Tóibín

Nora Webster Pdf Summary

From one of contemporary literature’s most acclaimed and beloved authors comes this magnificent new novel set in a small town in Ireland in the 1960s, where a fiercely compelling, too-young widow and mother of four moves from grief, fear, and longing to unexpected discovery. Toibin’s portrayal of the intricacy and drama of ordinary lives brings to mind of the work of Alice Munro.
     Set in Wexford, Ireland, and in breathtaking Ballyconnigar by the sea, Colm Toibin’s tour de force eighth novel introduces the formidable, memorable Nora Webster. Widowed at 40, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world she was born into. Wounded and self-centred from grief and the need to provide for her family, she struggles to be attentive to her children’s needs and their own difficult loss. In masterfully detailing the intimate lives of one small family, Toibin has given us a vivid portrait of a time and an intricately woven tapestry of lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, and where well-meaning gestures often have unforeseen consequences. Toibin has created one of contemporary fiction’s most memorable female characters, one who has the strength and depth of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. In Nora Webster, Colm Toibin is writing at the height of his powers.


Nora Webster Review

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3.0 out of 5 stars Nora Webster
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 17, 2016

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Nora Webster is the story of a widow by the same name. It is the late 1960s in Wexford, Ireland, and Nora’s husband has just died, leaving her with four children to care for. It isn’t the dramatic tale that one would imagine, but rather the story of the next few years as Nora struggles to come to terms with Maurice’s death. Finding her way in the work force after 25 years away is one element of her new life, as well as discovering hobbies that interest her as an individual.

Nora Webster is a very layered novel. There is not a lot of dramatics, but rather it is Nora quietly trying to forge a new path. My favorite parts of the novel were mostly when she was working at Gibney’s. Nora had left Gibney’s 25 years earlier when she married Maurice, and she was offered a position once she was widowed. Her old nemesis, Francie Kavanaugh, is now the manager, and she is a bitter woman who still feels slighted by Nora’s attitude towards her decades ago. Nora also shares an office with Elizabeth Gibney, the socialite daughter of current Gibney scion, William Gibney. Elizabeth is very flighty and would rather gossip on the phone than do any work, yet she and Nora form an unlikely friendship.

The other parts of the novel didn’t interest me as much. Nora discovers that she has a passion for music and singing. She joins the Gramaphone Society and also begins taking voice lessons. This didn’t interest me in the slightest and I began to become bored with the novel towards the end because of it.

Nora’s relationship with her children is also a focus of the book. Her relationship with then honestly felt a little odd. Nora was very careful, to a fault, of not prying into the lives of her children. It seemed that she was scared of how they felt about the death of their father, and that Nora couldn’t bear the weight of their pain and loneliness along with her own, so she set herself adrift. It would have been very interesting to see what the family dynamics were prior to Maurice’s death, because Nora wouldn’t have been seen as particularly nurturing or warm in the novel.

I absolutely love Colm Toibin’s novel Brooklyn, so I was excited to read this book. I enjoyed it well enough, but I don’t think it resonated with me as much as it could with another reader. Because of how layered it is, I think it is the type of novel you could read multiple times, discovering new details and depths each time.


4.0 out of 5 stars A Seemingly Ordinary Life
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 30, 2021

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Nora Webster is a well-written, seemingly quiet novel about a young widow in a small town in Ireland, around the time of the “troubles.” There is not a lot of loud drama or big climactic scenes in this novel. Instead we follow Nora on her journey through her grief over the loss of her husband, her feelings about the small-town neighbors and relatives who seem to know everything about her or draw conclusions that aren’t necessarily correct, and her attempt to come into her own. She also has two young sons to care for, and two older daughters who don’t live at home any more, and these characters require energy and attention from their mother, no matter how self-efficient they may seem. Everything is gradual, but although she often seems to keep her emotions and reactions in check, Nora can also have a biting tongue and won’t suffer fools gladly. You kind of cheer for here whenever she stands up for herself, either with words or actions. Don’t expect a huge “reveal” at the end or anything. But you can clearly see the changes in this woman and recognize her growth and transformation by the end of the novel.



5.0 out of 5 stars Days In The Life
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 12, 2014

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In the late 1960’s, Ireland was just about to enter troubled times. In Wexford, Ireland, in the southeast, Nora Webster was in the midst of her own troubled times. Her husband, Maurice had died. She had left her four children to be with him in the hospital during the last two months of his illness. In the beginning of her mourning, she had little idea what her children had gone through. Fiona was in Dublin in teacher’s school, Aine was at boarding school, and her two sons, Donal and Conor, at local school. The boys had spent the past two months with her Aunt Josie. Now, Nora was faced with the real world, no money, a small pension and she decides to sell their seaside home at Cush. She accepts the offer of a poorly paid office job in the firm where she worked as a young woman.

The relatives and townspeople had all visited as part of the mourning process, and now Nora was on her own. Nora has an mind of her own, and she is not easily led into anything she does not agree with. She finds her emotions that were pent up, coming out in strange ways. Donal has developed a stutter, and she wonders what to do. Her sister, Catherine has money to assist, but that means giving up control.

During the three years since Maurice’s death we follow Nora and her thoughts. This story is told from her perspective. She gradually finds her way clear from the deepest of grief, and finds her love of music and her singing voice renewed. She starts to engage with her children, friends and relatives. Nora is an engaging woman, and from snippets of her past life, we find she could be a difficult woman. Maurice, her husband, was the love of her life and her salvation, and, now, here she was, starting anew.

Colm Toibin is one of my favorite authors. His novels are often about women, and he has keen insight. We get a glimpse of what life might be like with the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, and how they impact on life everywhere in Ireland. Everyone knows the problems of each other in this small Irish town, and life as it was is portrayed in real time. This is not a story with fast paced narratives, but of the days in the life. Such a well written novel, it ended too quickly.

Recommended. prisrob 10-1214

About Colm Tóibín Author of Nora Webster Pdf Book

colm tóibín
colm tóibín

Colm Tóibín FRSL the Author of Nora Webster Pdf Book is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic, and poet. Tóibín is currently Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University in Manhattan and succeeded Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester.

Nora Webster pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information

Nora Webster pdf books
Nora Webster pdf books
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scribner; 1st edition (October 7, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1439138338
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1439138335
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.25 x 1.3 x 9.25 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #1,155,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • #9,734 in Women’s Domestic Life Fiction
  • #20,279 in Family Life Fiction (Books)
  • #54,747 in Literary Fiction (Books)
  • Customer Reviews: 3.7 out of 5 stars    1,546 ratings

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