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The Heather Blazing Paperback – 6 May 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330321250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330321259
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'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 Toibin without being moved, touched and finally changed' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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‘It is impossible to read Tóibín without being moved, touched and finally changed’ Independent on Sunday

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
'The Burning Heather' is written in Colm Toibin's spare syle. He does not clutter his work with unnecessary words, but each word is chosen to tell a compelling story. I literally didn't put it down until it was finished. This book helped bring back the habit of reading regularly. I went to the library and got several more of his books. I would recommend The Blackwater Lightship.
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Format: Paperback
One of my favourite novels. Along only with John McGahern, Toibin writes the most beautifully economical prose that I have read. If you have read The Master, prior to reading this work it comes as a surprise. The Master is utterly different in terms of writing style, very ornate and precise reflecting perhaps its subject matter Henry James. The narrative here alternates simply with each chapter from flashback to present day. The protagonist is Eamon Redmond, a judge of the High Court. Eamon's reminiscences of some of the pivotal moments of his childhood in Wexford and his sexual awakening are masterfully executed and the "segues" back to the present day events, perfectly timed. Even Toibin's portrayal of the Judge's intellectual struggles with some of his cases, are wonderfully detailed and to me at least seem very accurate. The book deals with the Judges' regret, his own realisation of his distant and cold nature (having its origins in profound grief and loss experienced in childhood and a deep-seated feeling of his own worthlessness) his inability to properly express - or perhaps feel wholly feel - love towards his wife and finally, it hints at a possibility of redemption for him. This is all done with a prose style that is starkly beautiful in its simplicity but seems effortless at the same time.
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Format: Paperback
I love Toibins writing style and this book is one of his best. An Irish High Court judge who has learnt to suppress his emotions due to the loss of his mother in early childhood combined with his fathers emotional remoteness finds himself examining the past prompted by changes in the physical coastline at the families seaside holiday home. The reader is immersed in Eamon's work and personal life in a way which is truly moving as the themes resonate with so much that is common in the family life of men. There is a wonderful naturalness about the writing which disguises the depth of the insights into how internal emotional change is achieved.
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By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Mar. 2016
Format: Paperback
On the last day of the legal term, High Court judge Eamon Redmond will deliver a judgement and then head off for the summer to Cush on the coast of County Wexford, where he has spent all his summers since childhood. Outwardly he is a successful man, well respected in the country, an advisor to the government, and someone who takes the responsibility of his position seriously. But he is also reserved, his life ruled by order, and somewhat remote even from his closest family. As the summer progresses, he finds events in the present force him to revisit and re-assess his past.

Like so many of Tóibín's books, this is almost entirely a character study with very little in the way of plot. Generally speaking, that doesn't work for me, but Tóibín's deceptively plain prose and in-depth understanding of the people and communities he's writing about exert an almost hypnotic effect on me, drawing me into the lives of the people he offers up for inspection – characters so entirely real and well-drawn that it becomes hard after a time to think of them as in any way fictional. This effect is magnified by his siting of so many of his novels in and around the town of Enniscorthy, where Tóibín himself grew up – a place whose culture and society I have gradually come to feel I understand almost as intimately as my own hometown.

History plays a major role in this book, both personal and political. An only child, Eamon's mother died in childbirth leaving him to be brought up by his father and extended family. His grandfather was involved in the 1916 Easter Rising and his father too played a part, albeit small, in the troubled history of the country.
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Format: Paperback
The Heather Blazing by Colm Toibin is a deeply emotional, deeply moving book. It's the story of Eamon Redmond, a complex man, grown on tender roots, influential friends, a keen intellect and a tangible distance between himself and those whom he loves.

The book is set in three parts, each of which dips in and out of time. We are with Eamon as a child in the small Wexford seaside villages he forever regards as home. Coastal erosion changes them over time and provides, in itself, a metaphor of aging, both of the individual and the community. Eamon's schoolteacher father is a significant figure, both locally as a renowned teacher, and nationally as a result of what he accomplished in his youth in the furtherance of Irish independence and political development. Eamon's mother died when he was young, an act for which, perhaps, he could never forgive her.

We also see Eamon as an adolescent, hormones abuzz, becoming aware of adulthood, a physical, intellectual and, for him, a political transformation. But it is also a time when his father's illness complicates his life. Throughout, we are never sure whether Eamon's perception of such difficulty remains primarily selfish, driven by self-interest. If we are honest, none of us knows how that equation works out.

We are with Eamon when he meets Carmel, his future and only wife. They share a political commitment and a life together. And they have two children. Naimh becomes pregnant at a crucial time. Donal is successful in his own way, but perhaps inherited his father's distance in relationships.

And then there's another time and another Eamon, the professional, the legal Eamon. At first he practices law, but later, at a relatively early age, he accepts a politically-driven appointment to the judiciary.
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