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The Magician


​From one of today’s most brilliant and beloved novelists, a dazzling, epic family saga set across a half-century spanning World War I, the rise of Hitler, World War II, and the Cold War that is “a feat of literary sorcery in its own right” (Oprah Daily).

The Magician opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.

In this “exquisitely sensitive” (The Wall Street Journal) novel, Tóibín has crafted “a complex but empathetic portrayal of a writer in a lifelong battle against his innermost desires, his family, and the tumultuous times they endure” (Time), and “you’ll find yourself savoring every page” (Vogue).

“A masterly evocation of the life and times of the great German writer Thomas Mann, showcasing his relations with his contentious family and his intensely private sexual yearnings.”
—New York Times, Best Historical Fiction of 2021

“This subtle and substantial novel imagines the life of Thomas Mann, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “Death in Venice” and “The Magic Mountain,” among other classics.”
—The New York Times, Critics’ Top Books of 2021

“Powerful… The Magician masterfully weaves together Tóibín’s take on Mann’s personal and interior life with the creation of his major works… a remarkable dual portrait of Germany’s history in the 20th century and of a great, internationally famous writer… a stirring paean to literature and music… Tóibín does a particularly sensitive job depicting the Manns’ long, successful marriage… a magnificent achievement.”
—Heller McAlpin, The Christian Science Monitor 

"The Magician recaptures a literary giant... Toibin’s symphonic and moving novel humanizes [Mann]… Maximalist in scope but intimate in feeling… The great theme of Toibin’s novel, as in much of Mann’s fiction, is decline — of manners and morals, of families, of countries and institutions.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

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