The Magician by Colm Toibin

Published: 2021 1. First lines 2. Cover Simon & Schuster 3. L to R: Thomas Mann, Erika Mann, Katia Mann and Klaus Mann, 1929. Photo: Eduard Wasow [Public Domain] via picryl 4. Buddenbrooks, (1909) By Thomas Mann [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 5. Thomas Mann, 1945 [Public Domain] via Library of Congress 6. Lubeck, 1885. Detail from the painting by Cornelis Springer [Public Domain] via Wikimedia

This is a fictionalised biography of Thomas Mann, a German writer whose life spanned the years 1875-1955. His first novel, Buddenbrooks was published in 1909, and he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1929. Thomas Mann opposed the Hitler regime, so he moved from Germany to Switzerland in the mid-1930s, also spending some time in the United States, but never returning to live in Germany.

“…it is a grubby business writing novels. Composers can think about God and the ineffable. We have to imagine the buttons on a coat.

BOOK SNAPS: I found this fictionalised biography of Thomas Mann, German Nobel Prize-winner in 1929, fascinating. His immediate family is full of unconvential characters that are brought to life in entertaining detail. Positive reviews are from The Guardian “This is an enormously ambitious book, one in which the intimate and the momentous are exquisitely balanced.”; and The Newtown Review of Books: “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.”


“She calls once a day and I take her call once a week,” Mrs. Roosevelt replied.” 

”In the future, he thought, perhaps when this war was over, women like Agnes would have more power. Erika, it occurred to him, would be a good companion for her as they set about some noble task. He smiled at the idea of Agnes and his daughter in each other’s orbit. Together they could run the world.”

Author: Colm Toibin

Awards: Nobel Prize for Literature 1929.

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