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Betsy Recommends

  • Nora Webster (Hardcover)

    $27.00
    ISBN-13: 9781439138335
    Availability: On Our Shelves Now
    Published: Scribner Book Company, 10/2014
    At first it’s hard to know what to make of the newly widowed Nora Webster. That she loved her late husband is evident in her every thought and action. That she loves her children is less clear. Oh, she takes care of them dutifully enough, but her oblivion to their feelings is maddening. Then slowly, over time, she creeps out from under the carapace of her grief. She’s a fascinating character, the polar opposite of Toibin’s portrayal, in his quietly brilliant Brooklyn, of the blank slate that was young Ellis. What had at first seemed helplessness in Nora gradually begins to transform from fragile to tough, even formidable; watching that transformation is revelatory. I don’t always believe in men’s depictions of women in novels but Toibin’s are the exception. More thoughtful than Emma Bovary and less self-destructive, in the end far and away a better parent than the doomed Anna Karenina for all the latter’s dramatic posturing, Nora Webster is easily as memorable as either—and far more believable. To say more would spoil a masterful— and unforgettable—novel.

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