Colm Tóibín and Joseph Rezek

Apr 14, 2022

Why are You in Bed? Why are You Drinking?

Colm Tóibín and Joseph Rezek in Conversation

New Books Network 2022

Colm Tóibín, the new laureate for Irish fiction, talks to Joseph Rezek of Boston University, and guest host Tara K. Menon of Harvard. The conversation begins with Colm’s latest novel The Magician, about the life of Thomas Mann, and whether we can or should think of novelists as magicians and then moves swiftly from one big question to the next. What are the limitations of the novel as a genre? Would Colm ever be interested in a writing a novel about an openly gay novelist? Why and how does death figure in Colm’s fiction? Each of Colm’s revealing, often deeply personal answers illuminates how both novels and novelists work. As Thomas Mann wrote of the “grubby business” of writing novels, Colm reminds us of the “day to day dullness of novel writing.” Insight and inspiration only arrive, he warns, after long, hard days of work.

Mentioned in this episode:

Robinson Crusoe (1719), Daniel Defoe
Pride and Prejudice (1813), Jane Austen
The Portrait of a Lady (1881), Henry James
The Wings of the Dove(1902), Henry James
The Ambassadors (1903), Henry James
The Golden Bowl(1904), Henry James
The Blackwater Lightship(1999), Colm Tóibín
The Master (2004), Colm Tóibín
Brooklyn(2009), Colm Tóibín
The Testament of Mary(2012), Colm Tóibín
Nora Webster(2015), Colm Tóibín
The Magician(2021), Colm Tóibín

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.

Listen to more episodes on:

Your Host

Aarthi Vadde and John Plotz

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.


Learn More

Also Hosted By Aarthi Vadde and John Plotz