by Colm Toibin
Scribner, 2014. 373 pgs. Fiction
Nora Webster is the character-driven story of an Irish woman recently widowed who must figure out how to live on without her husband. With two grown girls away, and two young boys at home, Nora must for the first time since her marriage deal with finances, finding a place for her singular self in the world, care for her family, and her own grief and that of her children. She must take a job again, under the supervision of a woman she bullied as a girl, sell their summer cottage by the sea, find a way to advise her older girls without pushing them away, care for her little ones. Nora is not always a sympathetic character - she is often blind to the grief of others, and unsympathetic to bothersome or foolish people. But her growth through the course of the novel, as she makes a new life for herself by embracing what she once loved, and seeing and helping her children in new ways, makes Nora Webster a subtle but powerful narrative. Designated one of the New York Times' notable books of 2014.