In his latest novel describes Colm Tóibín the difficult path of his heroine Nora Webster for their self-discovery. After the unexpected death of her beloved husband Maurice, the 46-year-old stands to twenty happy years of marriage before the need for a reorientation. Alone to build their own personality it is not readily possible, because it is the late sixties, and she lives in Enniscorthy, a small town in the southeast of Ireland, where it is suddenly taken out of the corner and gets an outsider when the usual can not be bestowed conventions expected obedience.
In the backward narrowness of this place will be born, and few, manage to free themselves from it. (One of them is Colm Tóibín himself; he was born in 1955 here.) The bonds of social control are lashed tightly. Everyone knows each other, one eyed each other suspiciously, need not among his peers with comments both good and restrain evil. At tea the housewives and the Golf Club of men gossip are passed spitzzüngig.
According to their social status in the middle-class structure is allowed to arrogance and arrogance permit or holding up better covered and adopt submissive. Supreme authority in all, the Catholic Church, but a hotbed of charity it is not.
Maurice Webster was a respected citizen, a popular teacher. Even months after his death are neighbors, friends, acquaintances to the house to express their condolences. Your compassionate gestures, words and looks hurt Nora. But the hope that it will finally be destroyed, is equal eaten away by the fear of the people they could begin to avoid.
Suddenly alone with the responsibility for four children, suddenly single woman in a small town, suddenly alone with their grief as a widow – has what signals they can send to their environment? Her best friends could stand by her, they would not have moved long ago to Dublin.
Although getting everything had turned to the children, Nora is unable even to comfort them or to reveal to them about their emotions. Before the half-grown sons Donal and Conor she hides her grief as well as the daily growing worries and financial hardships. The two teenaged daughters Fiona and Aisne come only on weekends from their home colleges. Each family member is another way to deal with his feelings of loss. The distances are unbridgeable. You sink in thought, silent, the daughters seem repellent, Donal stutters increasingly screams in his sleep. When it came to Maurice to an end, Nora felt completely overwhelmed and quartered the sons of one for two months at Aunt Josie. Now beat their fierce accusations against it had deported the boys and neglected.
How should it go on? The small pension, which she is entitled, does not allow big jumps. To take the first financial hurdles, it needs the weekend house sale seafront, just this place beautiful shared memories of the united the family. Then they will have to worry about a job, preferably part-time. But the selection is not great, especially since it was able to close as a young girl no education as they would have liked and certainly wanted done. As the age of fifteen she is better or worse, have to make do with an office job full of humiliations and confrontations with the Gibneys again, the family that specifies, in the region of the tone and has the final say.
Nora must admit that freedom and security that had given her marriage to Maurice, are irretrievably gone. Although she is strong, impulsive and stubborn enough to tread new paths, but insecure at heart and always anxious to meet the presumed expectations of others. With its complex, contradictory personality, she feels uncomfortable in their unfamiliar new roles, struggles with every decision, then hits actually slightly beside it, slipped on the floor of the conventions of even the consent of losing their children, from the to mention the critical citizens throughout , Without any measure they hit back when they believe personally attacked or thinks her children done an injustice.
In this microcosm where everywhere subtle problems come and Nora often rages with a sledgehammer, developed Colm Tóibín their story not just progressively, but as in concentric circles over three years. As long as they will need until they let go of Maurice, disposed of his clothes, throw the intimate letters into the fire and can renovate the house.