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The Testament of Mary


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About the Author

Colm Toibin was born in Enniscorthy in 1955. He is the author of eight novels including Blackwater Lightship, The Master and The Testament of Mary, all three of which were nominated for the Booker Prize, with The Master also winning the IMPAC Award, and Brooklyn, which won the Costa Novel Award. He has also published two collections of stories and many works of non-fiction. His most recent novel is Nora Webster. He lives in Dublin.


Beguiling and deeply intelligent...In a single passage - and in a rendition, furthermore, of one of the most famous passages of western literature - Toibin shows how the telling and the details are all-important. -- Robert Collins * Sunday Times *
Toibin's weary Mary, sceptical and grudging, reads as far more true and real than the saintly perpetual virgin of legend. And Toibin is a wonderful writer: as ever, his lyrical and moving prose is the real miracle. -- Naomi Alderman * Observer *
This is a flawless work, touching, moving and terrifying. -- Linda Grant * New Statesman *
There is a profound ache throughout this little character study, a steely determination coupled with an unbearable loss. Although it has some insightful things to say about religion and the period - the descriptions of the Crucifixion are visceral - it has a universal message about the nature of loss. -- Stuart Kelly * Scotland on Sunday *
This novel is the Virgin's version of the life of Christ. After a lifetime listening to everyone else's versions of that life, she is angry and frustrated because they are all questionable. * Irish Independent *
Toibin has created an impressive work of religious imagination...haunting, highly original. * TLS *
Beautifully crafted * The Times *
Fearsomely strange, deeply thoughtful * Guardian *
With deceptively modest prose, Toibin presents the Virgin Mary's story as one of human loss rather than salvation. By doing so he gives us a Mary to identify with rather than venerate. * Metro *
Daring and very moving -- John Banville * "Books of the Year", Irish Times *
The Testament of Mary, a novella of absences and silences, achieves a shimmering power -- Joseph O'Connor * Irish Times, "Books of the Year" *
Toibin's take on the most famous mother in history ... is all too believable * Financial Times, "Books of the Year" *
Finely written * Spectator 'Books of the Year' *

Channels the memories of the Virgin Mary into a subversive tour de force of economy and
lacerating style

-- Roy Foster * TLS 'Books of the Year' *
Stands out for its bold conception and blazingly brilliant execution -- Claire Harman * TLS 'Books of the Year' *
A miniature masterpiece -- Marina Warner * TLS 'Books of the Year' *
The miracles are real, but unsettling and sinister; Toibin's writing can be stunning beautiful; another should-have from this year's Booker shortlist -- Kate Saunders * The Times 'Books of the Year' *
Toibin's short, powerful book offers itself up as an additional gospel -- Gaby Wood * Telegraph 'Books of the Year' *

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