Reading from ‘Nora Webster’
"She realised that she was being given the hairstyle of a much younger woman, and that the women watching it all happen knew that and were taking it in with considerable satisfaction."
Enjoy this charming video of the great Irish writer Colm Tóibín reading a humorous passage from his praised novel ‘Nora Webster’, in which the recently widowed protagonist, who lives in the conservative town of Enniscorthy, Ireland, gets a “very fashionable” haircut. Read more …
“Slowly, as she watched Bernie working with the hair drier, she realised that she was being given the hairstyle of a much younger woman, and that the women watching it all happen knew that and were taking it in with considerable satisfaction.” The novel ‘Nora Webster’, which is set between 1967 and 1972, portrays 46-year-old Nora Webster, who is dealing with her grief and her memories while trying to make sense of her new reality as a widow and mother of four in a tight financial spot. Nora is newly exposed to the probing and interferences of people in the small Irish town, and we feel her effort to hold off this unwanted interest – not least in the hairdresser passage that Tóibín reads from: “When she had finished, she knew, that anyone who saw her on her way home would think that she had lost her mind, or that she was trying to look like a young woman, rather than someone who was recently widowed.”
Colm Tóibín (b. 1955) is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic and poet. Among his novels are ‘The Heather Blazing’ (1992), ‘The Story of the Night’ (1996), ‘The Blackwater Lightship’ (1999), ‘The Master’ (2004), ‘Mothers and Sons’ (2006), ‘Brooklyn’ (2009), ‘The Empty Family’ (2010), ‘Nora Webster’ (2014) and ‘House of Names’ (2018). He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the 2004 Lambda Literary Award (for ‘The Master’), the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (for ‘The Master), 2009 Costa Novel Award (for ‘Brooklyn’) and the 2011 Irish PEN Award for contribution to Irish literature. Tóibín has also been shortlisted for the Booker Prize several times. He works as a professor at the Humanities at Columbia University in the U.S. For more about him see: http://www.colmtoibin.com/
Colm Tóibín read from his novel ‘Nora Webster’ (2014) at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2015.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken and Mathias Nyholm
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018
Supported by Nordea-fonden