In a brilliant, nuanced, and wholly original collection of essays, the bestselling and award-winning author of Brooklyn and The Empty Family offers a fascinating exploration of famous writers’ relationships to their families and their work.
From Jane Austen’s aunts to Tennessee Williams’s mentally ill sister, the impact of intimate family dynamics can be seen in many of literature’s greatest works. In New Ways to Kill Your Mother, Colm Tóibín—celebrated both for his award-winning fiction and his provocative book reviews and essays, and currently the prestigious Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia—traces and interprets those intriguing, eccentric, often twisted family ties. Through the relationship between W.B. Yeats and his father, Thomas Mann and his children, and J.M. Synge and his mother, Tóibín examines a world of relations, richly comic or savage in its implications. In Roddy Doyle’s writing on his parents, Tóibín perceives an Ireland reinvented. From the dreams and nightmares of John Cheever’s journals, Tóibín illuminates this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children. “Educating an intellectual woman,” Cheever remarked, “is like letting a rattlesnake into the house.” Acutely perceptive and imbued with rare tenderness and wit, New Ways to Kill Your Mother is a thought-provoking look at writers’ most influential bonds and a secret key to reading and enjoying their work.
Colm Tóibín is the author of nine novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; The Testament of Mary; and Nora Webster, as well as two story collections, and Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know, a look at three nineteenth-century Irish authors. He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. Three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.
Gerard Doyle has appeared in London's West End in The Hired Man and in Shakespeare's Coriolanus and The Winter's Tale, and has toured nationally and internationally with the English Shakespeare Company. He has appeared on Broadway in The Weir and on television in New York Undercover and Law and Order. Mr. Doyle is also an award-winning audiobook narrator.