Extended Audio Sample

Download New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families, by Colm Tóibín Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (77 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Colm Tóibín Narrator: Gerard Doyle Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $17.95 Download
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Download learn more )

In a brilliant, nuanced, and wholly original collection of essays, the bestselling and award-winning author of Brooklyn and The Empty Family offers a fascinating exploration of famous writers’ relationships to their families and their work.

From Jane Austen’s aunts to Tennessee Williams’ mentally ill sister, the impact of intimate family dynamics can be seen in many of literature’s greatest works. In New Ways to Kill Your Mother, Colm Tóibín—celebrated both for his award-winning fiction and his provocative book reviews and essays, and currently the prestigious Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia—traces and interprets those intriguing, eccentric, often twisted family ties.

Through the relationship between W. B. Yeats and his father, Thomas Mann and his children, and J. M. Synge and his mother, Tóibín examines a world of relations, richly comic or savage in its implications. In Roddy Doyle’s writing on his parents, Tóibín perceives an Ireland reinvented. From the dreams and nightmares of John Cheever’s journals, Tóibín illuminates this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children. “Educating an intellectual woman,” Cheever remarked, “is like letting a rattlesnake into the house.” Acutely perceptive and imbued with rare tenderness and wit, New Ways to Kill Your Mother is a thought-provoking look at writers’ most influential bonds and a secret key to reading and enjoying their work.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Toibin is such an adept and morally serious close reader that his criticism becomes nearly as galvanizing as his fiction. There really aren’t, it turns out, any new ways to kill your mother, at least not artistically. But all the old ways, in Mr. Toibin’s telling, still work rather beautifully.”

    New York Times

  • “[A] lively exploration of writers and their families…There’s more storytelling than analysis, but the gossip is fascinating. Let’s just say Thomas Mann’s family is one that both Freud and V. C. Andrews would’ve loved.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Colm Tóibín is a masterly novelist who is also a fine critic. New Ways to Kill Your Mother is most alive when these two sensibilities merge, and Mr. Tóibín shows the ways in which the imagination preys on personal history. One comes away with the unsubtle but powerful conclusion that a successful artist is one who learns, early on, to reimagine conflict; who is capable, as a result, of creating art more true and more telling than the quotidian realities thieved to make it.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Good biographers are rightly wary of tracing lines of cause and effect between a writer’s life and work; it takes a novelist’s leap of imagination and power of compressed suggestion to risk mixing them up as boldly as Tóibín does here…Enjoyably readable.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Tóibín finds an engaging multiplicity of detail. And his critical voice is as seductive as the widely varying voices in his novels…Throughout the collection, Tóibín’s voice retains authority while also displaying some of the protean qualities of his fiction. He argues with himself often, not afraid to show us his critical restlessness, his change of mind. The sense of the writer as a perpetual wanderer is what makes these essays so lively: the house of literature has many mansions, and Tóibín is keen to tour them all.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Fascinating…New Ways to Kill Your Mother not only illuminates the lives of writers we admire, but also raises subtle questions about the relatives we have, wish we had, or wish we didn’t. Editor’s recommendation.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Irish novelist and essayist Tóibín (Brooklyn, 2009, etc.) investigates how writers’ classic works were inspired by their families—and sometimes in spite of them…But like all fine critics, Tóibín inspires readers to go back to the work, and he brings a human aspect to the works of seemingly deracinated authors like Beckett and Jorge Luis Borges…It’s a pleasure to watch Tóibín rove through nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary history.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sigrun Hodne | 9/19/2013

    " I think I should give this book, or rather myself, a second chance - . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Saxamaholly | 8/13/2013

    " Though it was not at all what I expected, I really enjoyed this book. I have a lot of books by Toibin on my to-read list, and I love his writing style. This makes me want to read more of his fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marie Christine | 7/5/2013

    " Intriguing exploration on how authors are influenced by their family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Olivia | 12/10/2012

    " I've never read an entire collection of literary criticism (if that's what this really is), let alone wanted to - Toibin is scandalous, clever, perhaps biased, but who cares? It's good writing. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations