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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Nora Webster: A Novel

Oh Colm Toibin, how you steal my heart every time. This is Nora Webster, his latest.

Nora Webster is a widow with four children just trying to get by. She loved her husband dearly, but she knows that moving forward is the only way to stay afloat. She sells their country house to a friend, she pays off the car, and she takes her two youngest sons on skip-day trips during the school day. She deals with family and well-meaning neighbors, all the time just wanting to be left alone to her home and her family. Nora takes the time to discover whom she is on her own, and in this time becomes a stunning pillar of strength and hope.

One of the most beautiful take-aways from this novel is that grief looks different on everyone. Some people don't have the ability to dive under the covers and not come out, and others just don't want to. Nora dealt with the prolonged illness of her beloved, and when he passed she chose to keep going. Partially because there wasn't another choice, and partially because she just had to spiritually. Nora chooses to grow into herself and allow life to take her there, and the result is a stunning piece of literature that will sit with me for a long time to come.

This is a novel where nothing happens yet everything does. Nora's going to the hairdresser to dye her hair is one of the most simple of stories yet has such a profound impact, and it is one of my absolute favorite moments in the book. Getting to know all of Nora's children is fascinating and they inform who she is, and her fierceness in protecting them is just right.Watching her go to her old employers knowing they will offer her a job feels like begging but is necessary at the same time. Every little thing that Nora does is weighty; even the every-day things become profound.

Nora Webster is classic Colm Toibin. His elegant sentences contain simplicity and complication all at once. Reading his work is like taking a long, hot bubble bath--a luxury indeed, but one worth every second you spend in that water.

No one is allowed to touch my personally autographed copy. For the record.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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