The Heather Blazing: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

Eamon Redmond is a judge in Ireland’s high court, a completely legal creature who is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Tóibín reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships—with his father, his first “girl,” his wife, and the children who barely know him—and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the Irish coast with such painterly skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel of stunning power, “seductive ...
See more details below
The Heather Blazing: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.93
BN.com price

Overview

Eamon Redmond is a judge in Ireland’s high court, a completely legal creature who is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Tóibín reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships—with his father, his first “girl,” his wife, and the children who barely know him—and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the Irish coast with such painterly skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel of stunning power, “seductive and absorbing” (USA Today).

A brilliant new novel from the author of The South, winner of the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Award. In a story of stunning power, Toibin reconstucts the history of the relationships of an Irish judge--a completely legal creature who is just beginning to discover how painfully disconnected he is from other human beings.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Irish novelist Toibin here follows up his Irish Times /Aer Lingus Irish Literature Award-winning first book, The South , with another extended study in paralysis--not the physical kind, but rather the willed emotional stasis that James Joyce, in a famous formulation, contended gripped the Irish soul. The hero here is Eamon Redmond, a High Court judge in Dublin who is readying for retirement. He and his wife, Carmel, are thinking of moving permanently to the south coast, near Enniscorthy, a place filled with childhood memories for them both. As they contemplate the joys of their autumn years, strains in their relations emerge: their unwed daughter announces she is pregnant; Eamon writes an unpopular opinion in a civil rights case; and Carmine accuses Eamon of always having been distant (``You sound bored. It is one of the things that you have learned to do over the years''). Toibin's acclaimed prose style--measured and restrained as a Victorian memoir yet poetic in precision--makes a character of the brooding, enigmatic Irish weather and gives voice to the darker side of the Irish character. As in Joyce's stories in Dubliners , the proceedings lead to an epiphany of sorts, as Eamon finds himself doting on his grandson at the shore. A small advance in the moral education of Eamon Redmond, yes; but under Toibin's generous, forgiving gaze, the moment rings profound. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Scholarly, aloof Eamon Redmond became a judge in Dublin's high court at a relatively young age after a lonely childhood. His meticulously constructed judgments adhere so strictly to the letter of the law that room for appeal is impossible. But what of compassion? Why do his wife and children turn their backs on his decisions? This novel is more a character study than the action-packed tale suggested by the title. The narrative leapfrogs from past to present as Redmond, the motherless boy, plods along with his father, listening to tales of earlier uprisings. His happiest times, as both man and boy, come when he is swimming or walking along the southern Irish coast. When his wife of many years dies and he is truly alone, solitude is no longer the prize he once sought. Toibin ( The South , LJ 7/91) has a subtle way of ensnaring the reader into Redmond's life. Recommended for serious fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/92.-- Marion Hanscom, Binghamton Univ. Lib., N.Y.
Donna Seaman
T{ó}oibin is an Irish writer of great subtlety and restraint. His first novel, "The South" , probed the ruthless self-involvement of a woman artist. His newest book explores the rigidly controlled mind and soul of a high court Dublin judge, Eamon Redmond. Toibin maintains a strikingly compelling emotional rhythm and intensity as he presents the simple, albeit painful, particulars of Redmond's life: his devotion to the law, his daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy, his controversial decision in a case concerning the expulsion of a pregnant high school student, and his wrenching memories of his motherless childhood and his father's debilitation after a stroke. We become deeply involved in Redmond's deliberate, careful personality, recognizing the sorrow behind his fastidious detachment. We understand his struggle with pity and revulsion as he tries to care for his ailing wife, another stroke victim, and respect his gradual triumph over grief after her death. Toibin, who wastes not a word, has, naturally, chosen the perfect setting for this quiet but fierce battle between fear and love, Redmond's memory-drenched summer home on the steadily eroding Irish coast.
From the Publisher
“[A] stunning Irish novel, which seems to derive its clear and affecting style in part from the staunch personality of its protagonist…and in part from the chilly beauty of the south-east coast of Ireland.”—The New Yorker

“The more one thinks about this clear-headed yet intense book, the stronger the impression it leaves.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Heather Blazing makes a breathtaking leap into the realm of Joyce’s Dubliners.”—Mirabella

“There are…a handful of writers who manage to combine our time’s awareness of the boot tracks families leave on their members’ psyches with a direct and uncomplicated experience of those wounded lives. They are masters, and there are precious few of them…To nominate someone for that august company, Colm Tóibín seems an unavoidable candidate.”—Geoffrey Stokes, The Boston Globe

"This lovely, understated novel proceeds with stately grace."—Alice McDermott, The Washington Post Book World

“Beautifully written…Tóibín weaves past and present together in a way designed to extract maximum resonance…One of the book’s surprises is its subtle humor, its awareness of small ironies.”—Voice Literary Supplement

“The novel is narrated dispassionately and with deceptive simplicity, moving between the public figure of the judge in his study and the terrible deaths of childhood…It is impossible to read Tóibín without being moved, touched and finally changed.”—Linda Grant, Independent on Sunday

“The quiet but relentless force of Tóibín’s prose, its honed honesty and extraordinary shading of color and mood, animates his stories…There are breathtaking moments, episodes of glassing clarity and trueness to the deepest chords of emotional and spiritual life.”—Vince Passaro, New York Newsday

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476704470
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 233,458
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Colm Tóibín
Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; and The Testament of Mary, as well as two story collections. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.

Biography

Colm Tóibín is a literary star of the "new" Ireland, the one -- as noted by National Public Radio's Jacki Lyman -- is short on whiskey and St. Patrick and long on cell phones, personal computers, and a stage set for economic opportunity. This is an Ireland where the people stop to cheer an author, yes, an author, whose latest novel has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, even though its key subject matter is the protagonist's struggle with his homosexuality.

"When I went down to get my groceries, people stopped their car and got out of them and waved at me and looked at me as though I was an athlete and shouted at me, ‘Come on, you can do it. You can do it,' " Tóibín said on NPR's All Things Considered in 2000. "And I basked in the sunshine of Irish approval and love for about three weeks.... You know, sort of -- I keep wondering when this, you know, backlash or something is going to happen, but I'm afraid it isn't going to happen. I'm afraid the country has changed, and being a writer there is actually quite a nice thing these days."

In fiction, travelogues, essays, and newspaper columns, Tóibín has established himself as a writer who can connect both the political and the personal to a sense of place. Though his work has often been informed by the political history of Ireland, he has also drawn on his travels to places like Spain and Argentina to create settings for his work.

And, even though his current home of Dublin has never made an appearance in any of his fiction, the environs of his youth -- County Wexford -- have been prominent.

The Washington Post, in a 2000 review of The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction, which Tóibín edited, called him a "journalist and critic of influence, a brilliant novelist steadily harvesting his own postage-stamp piece of Wexford as diligently as Faulkner worked Mississippi."

"Colm Tóibín has established himself as a major and distinctive voice in contemporary Irish fiction," the Dictionary of Literary Biography has noted. "While his work makes much of the complex associations between people and place, he eschews easy stereotypes of Irishness in favor of the often-contradictory impulses that pull on contemporary lives.

Tóibín was born into a family that had a long history in his hometown. His father, who died when Tóibín was 12, was a local schoolteacher, and his grandfather was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and was twice imprisoned by British authorities for civil disobedience against British rule.

Tóibín explored this history as a writer, following four years teaching English in Barcelona, Spain. He began as a features editor but moved to editing a current affairs magazine and joined the Sunday Independent in Dublin in 1985 as a columnist. As an author, he started by writing travelogues on Ireland and Spain before publishing his first novel in 1990. The South, which draws on Ireland's Catholic-Protestant tensions as well as Tóibín's life in Spain, is about an Irish woman who leaves her husband and son and moves to Spain, falls in love with a political artist, and returns to Ireland as an artist herself, once her son is grown.

This novel would establish Tóibín's reputation as a writer with a keen sensibility for characterization ("His novels have been noted for their deft characterizations, particularly of women, as evidenced by the strong female protagonist in The South," noted Contemporary Literary Criticism), but it wasn't until later novels such as The Story of the Night and The Blackwater Lightship that readers would realize his insight into gay characters as well.

"This is not a simple, upbeat story about gay liberation or political activism," Merle Rubin wrote in The Christian Science Monitor in 1997. "Powerfully imagined and tautly written, it is a subtly shaded portrait of a country in transition, a culture beginning to reflect important political changes, and a man coming to a new understanding of himself."

David Bahr, writing in The Advocate in 2000, predicted that The Blackwater Lightship -- now that it had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize -- would finally make Tóibín known outside his magazine's primary readership: "His latest...should finally prove to straight American readers what many gay people have long known: that Tóibín is one of the more honest and subtly powerful novelists publishing today.... Perceptive and moving, The Blackwater Lightship again reveals Tóibín to be the kind of restrained, quiet writer whose prose feels as natural as breathing. His poetic narrative is so understated that its profound lyricism often takes you by surprise, infusing a potentially familiar tale with vibrant new life."

Mixing fiction and biography in 2004, Tóibín penned a novel inspired by the life of Henry James. "Ambitious and gracefully plotted," said the New Statesman. In the pages of London's Observer, a previous Tóibín skeptic confessed he had been swayed. "There's little in Colm Tóibín's previous work, to some of which this reviewer has been immune or even mildly allergic, to prepare for the startling excellence of his new novel," Adam Mars Jones wrote, "The Master is a portrait of Henry James that has the depth and finish of great sculpture."

Moving fully into nonfiction, Tóibín continued to impress.

The New Statesman observed that The Irish Famine: A Documentary was "no arid survey of the historiography of the famine, but a stimulating quest, prompted by a personal and vocational curiosity. And Joseph Olshan, writing in Entertainment Weekly in 1995, awarded Tóibín's The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe an A, not only for its ability to dissect the Church's close relationship with European politics and social order. "[W]hat Tóibín comes back to is the transcendent power of Catholic ritual," Olshan writes. "Indeed, in a very moving centerpiece, Tóibín describes a therapy session during which he relives his father's death and comes to realize that his most profound wish is to bless his deceased parent with the sign of the cross. This is an extraordinary document."

But it may always be the intensely personal moments in his fiction that will always stand out. Susan Salter Reynolds noted as much in the Los Angeles Times in 2000. "There is little reconciliation in Colm Tóibín's novels; moments in which the stage is set for it usually pass," she wrote. "His novels build to these moments, fraught with potential, from which the air goes out with a nasty little hiss, and a new chapter, full of reasons not to live, begins.... It's good to read Tóibín's honest novels, in which human beings fail to forgive, fail to understand. We spend so much of our lives in the dark, shouldn't literature face this as squarely as we must?"

Good To Know

Tóibín's novel The Story of Night is No. 84 on the Publishing Triangle's list of the best 100 gay and lesbian novels of all time.

He counts two books by James Baldwin -- Giovanni's Room and Go Tell It on the Mountain -- as major influences on his work.

Tóibín covered the downfall of the military dictatorship in Argentina in 1985.

He joined such authors as Roddy Doyle in the 1997 novel Finbar's Hotel, in which each of the seven authors wrote individual chapters set in the same 24-hour period at a fading hotel.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 30, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland
    1. Education:
      St. Peter's College, Wexford; University College, Dublin, B.A. in English and history
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002

    Narration about man or state?

    A great book showing the hand of a great writer. Our hero is a High Court Judge who is the law, casting a cold eye on life while the state struggles with terrorism, nationalism and the religious secular divide. Toibin brings us through this man to his very soul and we find most human emotions and a humbling but noble past. A great journey and an insight to another world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2001

    the best fiction since mcgahern's amongst women

    the protagonist, Eamon Redmond suffers the lack of a mother in his childhood and this follows him to his adulthood, where he is unable to get 'close' to female and male members of his own family. This book deals with the landscape of ireland and metaphorically implies that eamon's life is like that of the land: eroding. this is highly appropriate as the heather blazing was first published in 1994, a time when the peace process in n.ireland was crumbling. excellent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Spiritheart

    Me and you working together to save our clan.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Ian

    Swims in the lake

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Jack

    " we leave... now!" He slams the pedal to the floor and they zoomed to "car ride one" on the search to start thier journey.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Bridgette

    Smiles

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)