It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them. Slowly, through the gift of music and the power of friendship, she finds a glimmer of hope and a way of starting again. As the dynamic of the family changes, she seems both fiercely self-possessed but also a figure of great moral ambiguity, making her one of the most memorable heroines in contemporary fiction. The portrait that is painted in the years that follow is harrowing, piercingly insightful, always tender and deeply true. Nora Webster is a novel that illuminates our own lives in a way that is rare in literature. Its humanity and compassion forge an unforgettable reading experience.
Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six previous novels, collections of short stories (Mothers and Sons, and The Empty Family) and many works of non-fiction. He has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Master (2004), and longlisted for Brooklyn. The Master won The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (2006), and Brooklyn won the Costa Novel Award. He currently lives in Dublin.