RaveNewtown Review of Books (AU)A grim but compelling coming-of-age novel ... In the final pages there is redemption for the family and hope for Mungo. It’s no fairytale ending, but it is realistic and optimistic. This is a tightly controlled novel, beautifully written and structured. Mungo and his family’s story is engrossing and will stay with the reader for a long time.
RaveThe Newtown Review of Books (AUS)... a very clever and enjoyable novel ... [an] elegantly drawn portrait of Mann ... The descriptions of Mann’s years in exile are absorbing ... His siblings, children and in-laws are all interesting characters with rich histories, and Toibin has fully exploited this to bring together a marvellous story as powerful as Mann’s own Buddenbrooks in its exploration of the tensions of the artistic world. This leads to brilliant dialogue and many splendid scenes ... Toibin has succeeded in giving life to a distant, almost austere writer and intellectual. This is beautiful, elegant writing, encompassing a solid family and social history. Toibin has researched Mann thoroughly, and his imagination fills in the detail with a novelist’s flair, turning the story of the Mann family into an outstanding saga.