Read a histria da noite by Colm Tóibín Online


From the award-winning author of Brooklyn and The Master, a powerful, brave, and moving novel set in Argentina.In Argentina, in the time of the Generals, the streets are empty at night, and people have trained themselves not to see. Richard Garay lives with his mother, hiding his sexuality from her and from society. Stifled by his job, Richard is willing to take chances, bFrom the award-winning author of Brooklyn and The Master, a powerful, brave, and moving novel set in Argentina.In Argentina, in the time of the Generals, the streets are empty at night, and people have trained themselves not to see. Richard Garay lives with his mother, hiding his sexuality from her and from society. Stifled by his job, Richard is willing to take chances, both sexually and professionally. But Argentina is changing, and as his country edges toward peace, Richard tentatively begins a love affair. The result is a powerful, brave, and poignant novel of sex, death, and the diffculties of connecting one's inner life with the outside world....

Title : a histria da noite
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 12291170
Format Type : ePub
Number of Pages : 299 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

a histria da noite Reviews

  • Barry Pierce
    2019-03-13 17:33

    Not in a million years would I have put this novel in Colm Tóibín's bibliography. It isn't set in Ireland, there isn't a woman running way from something, and it's received little-to-no awards. However, and I may be premature in this decision, I think this might be Tóibín's masterpiece. Split into three parts, we follow Richard's journey from Argentina during the Falklands War, through the entire decade, up to the AIDS crisis of New York in the late 80s. It goes from Giovanni's Room to Angels in America and it thoroughly deserves those comparisons. The Story of the Night is the unknown Irish classic. Richard's story is memorable, funny, and utterly heartbreaking. One could suggest that it droops a bit in the middle but its overall mastery makes up for that. This is one of the best books I've read this year. It's just wonderful and it will break you. So look forward to that.

  • GTF
    2019-02-24 17:54

    My first Colm Tóibín novel and I was not disappointed to say the least! I really enjoy stories that deal with the full swade of life events of the protagonist. It kind of reminded me of a gay, south American version of John William's 'Stoner' as the main focus of both novels is on the careers and relationships of Richard and William. It was interesting that this story was set in South America as opposed to Ireland which I know is where most of Tóibín's novels are set. Even though I didn't have any knowledge on the historical events that occurred throughout the time of the book, I didn't in any way feel like I was losing track of what was happening in the story line as most historical events were not focused on too abundantly and if they had a significant role at a particular point, a brief explanation was given. One of the things I appreciate most about this book is the characterization. It is not easy to write intelligent and introverted characters such as Richard nor is it easy to write shrewd and fun characters such as the diplomatic couple who were Richard's best friends. The mingling of the characters had that sensationalised edge to it. You actually become engrossed by who's attracted to who, who's unfaithful and who's liked or disliked. I also liked how Tóibín didn't hold back on details relating to sex, aids, drugs and reality in general. If you are going write a story of this kind, put it all out there, don't swerve away from topics that are difficult to discuss.

  • Jennifer (aka EM)
    2019-03-18 16:56

    This was really three books in one:1) Richard Garay lives with and cares for his domineering mother until her death, and then attempts to make his own way as a gay man in macho, politically volatile Argentina in the mid-80s.2) Richard gets involved with a family, the patriarch of which seeks to become President of Argentina, and takes a job as a translator thanks largely to the influence of two American CIA agents who are working behind the scenes to "democratize" Argentina in the post-Falklands period of disappearances and human rights abuses. 3) Richard falls in love with the son of the presidential hopeful, Pablo, who has returned from living in San Francisco with a number of secrets, which he keeps from his parents and from Richard himself.Gay men in Argentina in the 80s. The downfall of the Generals and the rise of HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, none of these stories is well linked, and the political one in particular is undeveloped. Richard is not a very compelling character, although there were some interesting parts early on as he navigated the very complicated relationship he had with his mother including coming out to her in the time before her death. And while Richard's and Pablo's love story is more developed - especially the rather surprising ending - overall, I would have preferred less gay sex and slightly more Argentinian politics, and a more coherent relationship between the various plot lines.

  • Teresa
    2019-02-24 10:30

    3 and 1/2 starsEngrossing, compelling story (with some interesting set-pieces) that, more than once, seems to be going one way and then takes you another. I don't think, as a whole, it's as good as Toibin's later works; but it's just as readable. I enjoy reading all the works of favorite writers and seeing their development. I found this one better than his earlier The South, and it's also interesting to see how this one probably led to his next one, The Blackwater Lightship, which I loved.

  • David
    2019-02-26 13:42

    Colm Toibin is one of my favorite Irish authors writing today. Among his books that I've read to date ("The South", "The Heather Blazing", "The Blackwater Lightship", "Mothers and Sons" and this one - I haven't read "The Master" yet), "The Story of the Night" is my favorite.Set in Buenos Aires during the Falklands war and its aftermath, the novel tracks the development of Richard Garay, a gay schoolteacher, the son of an Argentine father and English mother. At the novel's opening, the generals are still in power, and Garay is closeted and emotionally stunted. Toibin, who covered the trial of General Gualtieri as a reporter, is extraordinarily effective in conveying the sense of menace that prevails, and the way people are forced to hold their emotions in check in order to survive. The Falklands are lost, the generals lose their hold on power, and the story traces Richard’s gradual emotional development in parallel with the opening of Argentine society. The aspect of Toibin’s writing that I like best is his extraordinary emotional intelligence, which he deploys here to full effect, in a sensitive and moving account of Richard’s story. Richard is a complex, and not entirely sympathetic, character, but Toibin draws us in to his story, and makes us care deeply about his fate.An evocative and moving story, which I highly recommend.

  • Nick
    2019-03-09 15:36

    Colm Toibin is much-loved and I must say that I admire the breadth of vision, Ireland to Brooklyn to Argentina to Scientology to an alternate to the Gospels. "The Story of the Night" reads, to me, like a sequence of four themes featuring the same narrator, a gay Argentine of the seventies and eighties. The first segment is a youth reminiscent of Borges, not in writing but in the household reverence for English despite living in Latin America; the narrator's mother was British. Family business dispatched in that section, the reader is escorted to the Argentine military dictatorship and its humiliation in the Falklands. The long third movement focusses on the post-junta privatization and the American involvement in it, before swerving to an AIDS tragedy in the final pages. The first and last sections are most involving, although the beginning gives us a dispassionate and self-involved narrator, close to his mother (of course) but aimless and untouched by human connection until a couple of American handlers make him wealthy as a translator for technical types during privatization. On the central two sections, I must plead guilty to prejudice; I knew victims of the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships--obviously not the ones thrown from Argentine airplanes--and I have read enough about the era (including Nathan Englander's fine "The Ministry of Special Cases") to wonder about a novel where it is checked off as part of the background history. A more probing look at what it meant to be an English-speaking Argentine--especially a gay one--during that awful period, including a war against Great Britain, would also have been interesting (perhaps only to me). I know less about the privatization in Argentina than I do about the great contemporaneous sell-offs in Mexico and Russia, where inefficient socialism was transformed into inefficient capitalism; here, it is simply backdrop for the Americans fiddling around in Argentine economics, politics, and sex. I think perhaps the disconnect between the novel and the great passionate issues of the times has to do with the narrator, who is on stage for the full novel yet never quite became flesh for me, or perhaps, once he lost his mother, never seemed to become an adult with a full range of attachments and emotions. It is difficult to fully engage with the tragedy of a character who himself seems so little interested in the tragedies of others.

  • Darin
    2019-03-02 15:48

    I will read (and I *will* read) anything written by Colm Toibin. The writing is unpretentious and largely unadorned, but beautiful nonetheless.

  • Alicja
    2019-03-12 11:49

    rating: 5.5/5 My initial reaction: "Brilliant, emotional, and will leave you, well, utterly speechless. Just... WOW!"As Argentina is going through political upheaval, so is Richard. Strangled by his job and lack of love life, he takes risks and grows just like this new Argentina does. He finds himself in a new career and in a new love.The melancholy, trance-like prose beautifully illustrates how Richard drifts through life being a part of it yet apart at the same time. He is lonely and detached but manages to hang on to enough life to carve for himself a place within the political atmosphere of Argentina post the Falklands loss and the fall of the generals. The novel is vague about the specifics of the political atmosphere but it parallels beautifully the changes in society to the changes within Richard. Richard is a complex character, growing and becoming more confident and self-assured as he finds his way in this new society.Surprisingly, this is also a deeply emotional love story. Through the first half the book it looks like Toibin is setting up political intrigue but then Richard's life takes an unexpected turn (as life tends to do) and he falls in love with Pablo. The characters are presented emotionally coarse yet gentle. It is stunning just how Toibin is able to thrust us into this raw reality where the emotions bombard the readers, sometimes unbearably. And through tragedy they are able to find the very soul of humanity, love.

  • Grady
    2019-02-18 11:47

    A Timelessly Important Yet Also A Timely Novel2005 and Argentina has just revoked amnesty for those responsible for the brutality and occult treachery of the Dirty War that ended with the overthrow of the military junta with the British defeat of Argentina's forces over the Falkland Islands. And it is during this closure of a long suppressed circle that Colm Toibin's superb 1995 book THE STORY OF THE NIGHT comes back into circulation. By all means read this book now not only to celebrate Toibin's genius but also to gain valuable insight into a political intrigue that has smoldered in Argentina for the past thirty years! Toibin conjoins the tale of a young lad Richard Garay, the son of a haughty British mother and an Argentine man whose childhood is disrupted by loss of income and instability of social presence, with the general social and political upheaval in Argentina). Richard moves from poverty and the death of his parents to teaching English in Buenos Aires and eventually comes into contact with an American couple Donald and Susan Ford who draw him into their hazy presence in the realm of political coups as an interpreter. Through them he works to gain acceptance of the powerful Canetto family: the father wants to become President of the nascent democracy after the Falklands War has rid the country of the Generals. Richard is a man in conflict: he envies the wealthy, he is gay, and he embodies the state of mind of surviving with a day persona of longing for order and rank which is antagonistic to his night persona of craving passion. Through a series of twists of fate Richard gradually comes into money by way of the prelude to oil privatization and after unsatisfying attempts at mating he finds love in Pablo Canetto, a handsome man who has likewise hidden his true identity from his family by fleeing to San Francisco's atmosphere. The development of this profound love between Richard and Pablo, threatened as it is by nearly every aspect of life in Buenos Aires, forms the substance of this novel, that substance eloquently exploring the spectrum of love and loss as beautifully as any romance in literature. Colm Toibin is a master storyteller and one who has obviously scrupulously researched the time frame he has chosen for his novel. Every character is painted well, there being no extraneous moments that are not additive to the story. Toibin's prose is liquid and ravishingly beautiful and he is unafraid to present intimate physical encounters, knowing exactly how much to say without offending the senses of anyone. This richly historic novel ends in a microcosm of a romance: the 'desaparecidos' of the dirty war are mirrored in the equally plangent wake of AIDS. The story is superb, the introduction to a heretofore vague history of South American coups is fascinatingly related, and above it all is the magic of Toibin's impeccable prose. This is a book to read again and again. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp

  • Ryan
    2019-03-14 12:30

    Fiction - Argentina, LGBT. eBook. Discovered by internet browsing.How has this book passed by me for so long? This book was beautiful and devastating, creating a haunting world for a single character to inhabit fully, letting me become that character for a few days. This was my first Tóibín and not my last by any means.This is the story of Richard, his name mentioned only once from what I can recall, the son of a British mother and Argentinian father, straddling both worlds, then coming out in Argentina in the 1980s. I don’t want to describe the plot any more because it is such a wonderful unraveling of character and plot. This book exists in such a specific time and place with such well created character, I felt fully immersed in this novel. This book combines historical fiction, a war novel, political intrigue and crushing romance into a beautiful novel with carefully constructed prose.I can’t recommend this novel enough. It is brilliant in concept and execution.

  • A
    2019-02-28 17:40

    WTF?!?!?!?! I thought this would be like gay Joan Didion, twisting together a sordid coming out tale and the shadowy political intrigue of Argentina's desaparecidos-era dictatorship. Granted, it IS that for the first 20pp., but unless you're Henry Kissinger you wont understand a thing that's going on because it's totally oblique and confusing. (Only good thing about this novel is it was so iffy on the political part it forced me to go down a Google hole learning about Operation Condor; what a shameful and overlooked period of American history.) But not to worry, the horrors of human rights atrocities quickly give away to a sort of Shopaholic/Sex and the City/Architectural Digest fantasy of how fun it is to be a rich gay yuppie. Then all THAT goes away, too, as the whole miserable apparatus crashes and burns like a badly-written gay after-school special that even LOGO has too much integrity to broadcast. I know people wet themselves over Colm Tóibín but this was absolute crap; was this ghostwritten by Candace Bushnell or something? I'm pretty sure I'll never read one of his books again, and I'll just wait for Tom Ford to make a movie of The Master.

  • Doogyjim
    2019-02-18 17:37

    Toibin's third novel was his first openly 'gay' novel and I wonder how much he felt compelled to tackle the subject of AIDS. It was published in 1996 so maybe there was a sense of obligation on his part. Reading it in 2006, I couldn't help sighing a little with a sense of deja vu when the topic reared its head at the end of the book - which is, admittedly, an unfair reaction.The novel blends confession, love story and the sort of ambassadorial intrigue that Graham Greene went in for. In fact, I was disappointed that the whole plot revolving around the Americans seemed to disspiate at the end. Clear parallels are drawn by the author between Richard's life and that of Argentina as both he and his country nervously emerge from under the shadow of others: his mother in Richard's case and the Generals in Argentina's. Only then can they emerge truly as themselves.Toibin's prose, I think, is at home in the countryside and there's something moving in the way his precise prose described landscape without embellishment in The Heather Blazing; I think he's less successful when describing Buenos Aires. But it's still a complusively readable novel as well as being melancholy and rendered with an acute, sympathetic eye.

  • Micah
    2019-03-02 14:50

    Styleless writing and lack of emotional engagement finally became too much to bear. It was like reading about a damp cardboard box given human form.

  • Sivananthi T
    2019-03-05 16:44

    A fascinating love story of love, loss, disease. Well-written, you can't put it down.

  • María Belén
    2019-02-25 18:39

    The Story of the Night es un libro con un tono triste y melancólico sobre el amor, la sexualidad, la identidad, la política y la historia. Este libro me dejó con sentimientos encontrados. Por un lado me sorprendió mucho que esté situado en Bs.As. Leí que Colm Tóibín estuvo un tiempo acá en los '80 cuando trabajaba como periodista y que de su experiencia en Buenos Aires nació la inspiración para The Story of the Night. Por otro lado me pareció que el autor no aprovechó al máximo marco temporal para desarrollar los personajes y las situaciones que atraviesan. Richard, el protagonista, dice que sabían que algo ocurría pero nunca habían visto nada. Me hubiera gustado que se desarrolle más esa parte porque me hubiera gustado ver a Richard en esa situación. Creo que le podría haber dado más desarrollo al personaje. De todos modos no deja de ser un personaje interesante y bien construido. Los demás personajes, Pablo incluido, me resultaron bastante genéricos. No tiene ninguna característica que los haga destacar. Rozan lo cliché. La trama es extensa y no está totalmente definida (se puede decir que también hay una subtrama), pero es interesante. Lo que más me extraño del libro fue el final. Entiendo el porqué pero me hubiera gustado un poco más de desarrollo. En fin, la lectura de este libro fue una buena experiencia. Me gustó.

  • Andreas Steppan
    2019-03-16 18:35

    Das Buch hat alles, was Colm Tóibín zu einem meiner Lieblingsautoren macht. Er ist der Meister des Schwebenden, Unausgesprochenen, der Momentaufnahmen und Zwischentöne, der schwer fassbaren Stimmungen, die er, ohne sie benennen zu müssen, ganz deutlich spürbar macht. Diese Zweideutigkeit gilt auch für die Figuren: Tóibín erzählt ruhig und in einfacher, lakonischer Sprache von normalen Menschen mit ihren Schwächen und Unsicherheiten. Tóibíns Charaktere sind nicht unbedingt sympathisch, herausragend oder gar bewundernswert. Doch er schildert sie so zutiefst menschlich, dass ich mich als Leser ganz mit ihnen identifizieren kann. Und die vermeintlich ohne Höhepunkte dahinplätschernde Handlung birgt doch die großen Emotionen und Lebensfragen - aber eben ohne Kitsch und Pathos.Das gilt auch für "Die Geschichte der Nacht" und ihren Protagonisten Richard Garay, einen jungen Mann mit ungewissen Eigenschaften, dessen Leben in Buenos Aires vor dem Hintergrund der argentinischen Militärdiktatur, des Falklandkriegs, des Übergangs zur Demokratie und des Ausverkaufs an die USA, schließlich der aufkommenden Aids-Epidemie geschildert wird. Lateinamerikanische Zeitgeschichte ist hier aber weniger das Thema als die ganz persönliche Entwicklung Richards, dem die Uneindeutigkeit der Identität schon mit der Zweisprachigkeit - die dominante Mutter ist gebürtige Engländerin und hält stark an ihrer Herkunftskultur fest - eingeschrieben ist. Ambiguität ist denn auch charakteristisch für Richards Lebensweg, privat wie beruflich. Gegenüber seiner Mutter outet er sich als schwul, und er lebt seine Lust aus, nach außen aber bleibt seine Sexualität verborgen - wenn auch längst nicht so ängstlich abgeschirmt wie bei seinem späteren Partner Pablo. Mehr oder weniger zufällig und passiv schlägt Richard mit Hilfe eines US-amerikanischen Paars, zweier CIA-Agenten, eine Karriere als Berater und Dolmetscher für Vertreter nordamerikanischer Wirtschafts- und Politinteressen ein, die ihn auch ins Zwielicht führt. Durch die politischen Untiefen Argentiniens schlafwandelt Richard ohne klare Haltung - ohne amoralisch zu sein wie manch anderer, aber alles in allem opportunistisch.Trotzdem ist Richard nicht der wenig greifbare, aalglatte Charakter, als der er erscheinen könnte. Es ist Tóibíns außergewöhnlicher emotionaler Intelligenz zu verdanken und seiner Fähigkeit, in den schlicht aneinandergereihten Sätzen so viele Nuancen der menschlichen Natur zu vermitteln, dass wir mit Richard mitfühlen - vor allem in der tief bewegenden Liebesgeschichte, die im dritten Teil ganz in den Mittelpunkt rückt. Zum Schluss hin wird das Buch immer packender und am Ende erschütternd.Unter diesem Eindruck sind meine winzigen Vorbehalte und Kritikpunkte dahingeschmolzen. Aber ich muss doch zugeben, dass es zwischendurch kleine Hänger gibt, die ein oder andere Partybeschreibung sich vielleicht ein wenig im Detail verliert und - mitsamt Agentengeschichte, politischem Hintergrund und allerlei erotischen Wirrungen - fast zu viel an äußerer Handlung in dem Roman steckt. Wer nicht so ein ausgesprochenes Faible für Tóibín hat wie ich, könnte sich phasenweise langweilen. Zum Einstieg ins Werk des Autors würde ich dewegen noch ausgereiftere Bücher wie "Portrait des Meisters in mittleren Jahren" oder "Brooklyn" empfehlen.

  • Derek Bridge
    2019-03-10 10:55

    Not my favourite of Toibin's novels, but beautifully-written and wholly engrossing nevertheless. It seems a novel of two halves: mostly about double-lives, about what we hide and what we show, about what people see and what people choose not to see. The backdrop is Argentina through the time of the Generals to the time of a flawed democracy. But, in the second half, the backdrop fades, seemingly central characters disappear from view, new characters appear, and the theme becomes the devastation of AIDS. I might have preferred two novels, more properly following through each theme.

  • K.M. Soehnlein
    2019-03-02 16:39

    We follow a narrator -- a half-British, half-Argentinian gay man in Buenos Aires named Richard -- from childhood to middle age. The span of his life intersects with all sorts of interesting history, like the Falklands Island war, the political struggles in Argentina and, eventually, AIDS. But "intersects" is probably the wrong word, because the author's idea of Richard is to render him more or less blind to the high-stakes historical moments going on around him. I wondered if Toibin's intention was to create a portrait of an "everyman" with his head in the sand, someone who remains oblivious to upsetting realities (like the disappearances of civilians under the military government, or the onset of plague). Maybe he's trying to say something about the way many people live their lives worrying only about immediate personal comfort at the expense of political reality. Or perhaps Richard is meant to be nearly amoral, like Camus' "Stranger" (a character who came to mind in scenes where Richard gets involved in the oil industry almost by accident and without any apparent political conviction).The most gripping parts of this novel were the poignant childhood moments -- Richard's near-poverty after the death of his father -- and the drama of being inside of Buenos Aires as the British fleet headed toward the Falklands to rout the Argentine army. There's also an unexpected love story late in the novel, though again the main character's lack of initiative was at times baffling. I kept wanting to turn up the heat--but a novel is not a stove. It's the stew on the stove, and you get only what the author prepares for you. This novel was for me a slow burn, but Colm Toibin remains an understated and sensitive writer, and I would recommend him especially to readers of gay fiction.

  • James Barker
    2019-03-06 16:36

    This book started strongly- the protagonist's relationship with his mother was explored with sensitivity and depth and I found it intriguing. But Toibin passes over this quickly, intending to produce something epic, a novel covering the whole of the Argentinian 1980s, nodding a hat at the age of dictators and the disappearances, the Falklands War, the selling-off of the oil fields, and- because this is a GAY novel- AIDS, of course. Because-sigh- writing a gay novel without AIDS would be the same as writing about the 1940s and not mentioning the Holocaust. I find it very, very tiresome as a gay man. Does a plague on a gay house- a plague that, in fact, turned out to be directed as much at the straight community, it was that undiscriminatory- preclude other subject matters, other endings than the inevitability of sickness? Toibin's style in this book is described as starkly beautiful but I found it rather dull, full of extraneous detail that added nothing. I had no idea when I read the book that the writer is gay himself- the descriptions of encounters between men (invariably 'beefy' or 'tall') are dry and sex-less so I presumed him a straight man trying to write himself into a plethora of gay characters. But no, Toibin is gay, and that was the surprise of my month. Where was his love for these characters, where was his own passion? The half-English, half-Argentinian lead, Richard, had no Latin spirit. He may as well have been an accountant in Wilmslow.

  • Carolyn Mck
    2019-03-11 13:26

    As a fan of Toibin's work, I was pleased to find this early work on a friend's bookshelves. The narrative follows the mid-life of Richard Garay in Argentina, before and after the Falklands war. Richard teaches English but rejects his English mother's commitment to Thatcherism. Initially uninterested in politics and deliberately unaware of the crimes being committed by the generals on their own people, he becomes involved in reform politics through the family of a pupil (Jorges) and their travels together in Europe. On his return to Argentina, Richard comes under the influence of an American couple (who apparently work for the CIA). Is this taking Argentina out of the frying pan into the fire?The other major strand of the novel is Richard's acknowledgement of his homosexuality and his love affair with Pablo, the younger brother of Jorges. Towards the end of the novel, Richard, Pablo and other homosexual friends face the scourge of AIDS. The novel is written in Toibin's lucid, intelligent prose but it does not have the coherence, intensity or narrative drive of some of his later works. I found the Argentinian politics interesting but this strand of the novel falls away as the emphasis on the love story develops. It is easy to see how his writing here led to his later, superb novel, Blackwater Lightship.

  • Bishan Samaddar
    2019-03-01 13:26

    I may not have Mr Naipaul's astonishing ability to judge the gender of writer from the first two paragraphs of a book (nor do I aspire toward such an ability) but I believe I possess a certain capacity to judge the merit of a book after reading a couple of pages. The Story of the Night struck me immediately as a difficult book—not because it is difficult to grasp but because it's tedious to go through. It is not the tedium of self-conscious style. It is the tedium of the self-conscious lack of style. Mr Tóibín has tried to keep his prose very plain. In doing so he has failed to entice the reader into his narrative. The narrative in itself has tremendous possibility: it can be both implosive and explosive. But in his effort to say things very simply he has lost his audience. The only time the prose shines is when Mr Tóibín, early in the novel, describes his dying mother. From that point, the book steadily descends into unreadability. I must confess that I could not care to finish the book. Since it came with good recommendations, and also out of sheer solidarity with a gay narrative, I gave the book ample chance to enthrall me but to no avail.Only if you have no other books to read you can consider plunging into this one. Be assured to find little in the shallowness.

  • Michael Flick
    2019-03-05 12:38

    This doesn’t quite work for me, doesn’t seem to know where it’s going and when it gets there finds that it packed the wrong bags.“[O]ne side of me, the English side maybe, was a way of hiding from the other side, which was Argentinian, so that I never had to be a single fully formed person, I could always switch and improvise.” [189] The narrator, Richard Garay, puts his finger on his problem and the problem with this novel: neither can quite assemble into being fully formed and coherent.The narrator in his self-absorption is strangely divorced from what is happening around him. There’s little or no consciousness of what is going on around him in Argentina, of history even as he lives through it. Tóibín is obviously aiming for a resonance between the narrator’s private struggles and Argentina’s (halting emergence from silence regarding mass death). But too much is absent here. It’s too vague, too oblique, too opaque to fully work.It’s hard to engage with the tragedy of a character who is blind to the tragedies of others. If mass murder and torture is going to be a metaphor for AIDS, or the reverse, solipsism don’t have a place.The writing is nice, but Tóibín really needs to learn and apply the proper use of “which” and “that.” It’s not too much to ask of a serious author. Small quibble...

  • Joanna
    2019-03-21 11:39

    Although you may not guess it throughout the first third, this book is at heart a deeply moving love story. In parallel movement to a political scene that is coming alive as youth become aware and take an interest - in part because the economic crisis is forcing them to - the death of the main character's mother forces him out into the world and on the beginning of a journey to find himself. He becomes more involved and interested in politics as he becomes more self assured and as society begins to open. As a gay man in what was a repressive culture, his existence is almost inherently political. His sexual coming of age also coincides with the heart of the AIDS epidemic, which also plays a role in the story.But politics aside, the love story is beautiful and heartbreaking. Using a stark writing style, with minimal description, Toibin is able to pass on the emotion of the feel his emptiness at times, and then the richness where love is involved.

  • James
    2019-03-20 18:51

    This was the first book by Colm Toibin that I read. I did not realize he was an Irish author since the story was so convincingly set in Argentina. In fact it was his sixth book and I was as sorry that I had not discovered him sooner as I was glad to have finally found this very good writer who would go on to win the Booker Prize. The Story of the Night, presents a narrator, Richard Garay, who lives in silence about his homosexuality and in denial about the actions of his country, Argentina, with its terrible history of dictatorship, torture and murder. ''We saw nothing,'' he states, ''not because there was nothing, but because we had trained ourselves not to see.''The details of his story are well told and I still remember reading and rereading this novel. More than a decade later I would encourage readers to try his more recent novel Brooklyn and then pick up this book and you will find yourselves looking for more of the writings of this "Irish" author.

  • David Silva
    2019-03-19 11:34

    This is the first time I have read a Tóibín novel and I am very glad that I did. Is this book political? Yes. Historical? Absolutely. Romantic? Extremely. To be frank, I had not been this impressed with a piece of Contemporary Fiction since I read Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The Story of the Night well paced, beautifully written, and had me staying up into the wee hours to finish it. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of The Master, which is the author's supposedly most well-received novel. OK, now for the negative without giving any spoilers. Soap opera-type coincidences do bubble to the surface on rare occasion, in addition to (I hate to say it) LGBT novel clichés. Despite this, I would still recommend this novel—it is a beautiful, romantic, and extremely interesting read.

  • Irene
    2019-03-18 16:45

    I'll probably come back to this review later and go into a bit more depth, but so far here are my thoughts on it:- Bland writing style - too plain and just uninteresting.- Too many plot lines that try to interconnect but don't: politics in Argentina, gay relationships, family stuff. Characters travel from Buenos Aires to the US (including NYC) as if those places were next to each other. - Main character develops unnaturally, starting out as a really shy, highly reserved boy to end up becoming a cheeky, sexy gay guy. Not saying that's not possible, but given the way it was handled, I wasn't convinced (aka didn't buy the switch).- Far from surprising ending, although it sounds like it should be.I picked this one as my first Tóibín, looking forward to reading Brooklyn in the near future. Not sure that's happening any time soon, after all.

  • Gili Austin
    2019-03-14 17:54

    Riviting reading the like of which I have not come across in a long time. Toibin's style in this novel is so racy, it places you in a trance, links you profoundly to Richard Garay's character and emotions and finally crushes you into sudden oblivion, as Richard is wiped out by the wicked senselessness of the plague, HIV Aids. However, the nobility of this character is such, that not only does he emerge from the closeted and suffocating personal existence of the lone homesexual but he also abandons himself to a profoundly sacred love of another that he forgets himself triumphantly and his deadly illness as he cares for a lover / partner who had abandoned him because he could not face telling him that he had contracted the disease. I consider this story as indeed what I refer to as secular scripture which touches one at the core of that which is intrinsically human and spiritual. Wow

  • Catherine Siemann
    2019-03-08 17:45

    The subject matter of the book is intense and important -- being gay in a repressive society, Argentinian politics and corruption, emotional isolation, AIDS -- and yet it had less impact than I expected. The narrator is oddly emotionally distanced, which makes sense in the context of his childhood (a British mother who holds herself at a distance from the Buenos Aires society she's spent most of her life in; the constant sense of his sexual difference), but even when he falls genuinely in love, the tone remains so consistently distanced that his emotional damage is far more convincing than his emotional connection.Or maybe that's the point. It's well worth reading, and made the list one of the Lambda 100 best gay novels; but it's not my favorite of Toibin's.

  • Rachel Wallis
    2019-02-22 15:31

    I do love Colm Toibin. He's one of my favourite authors but this early novel is not one of my favourites. It follows a lost gay Argentinian/English teacher who lives with his mother until her death, when he is forced to go out in the world and participate in it. He lucks into a better job, friends and money and eventually love, all of which make a good storyline but I found his style in this book a bit undeveloped. He goes into full detail of some conversations and not others and it just seems quite aimless in parts. Still, it's better than many other novels and interesting in terms of Toibin's own development as a writer. Good, but not one of his best.

  • John Treat
    2019-02-20 18:30

    Well, every one of Tóibín's books is worth the effort, but this one requires patience as well. It's several stories each struggling to be a novel: a man and his mother, Argentina and its Dirty War, a Graham Greene tale of Americans abroad and up to no good. Finally, it's a story about AIDS, and that makes the project clear: in a world where everyone is in some kind of hiding, dying finally outs us all. It's early Tóibín, and you can feel him flexing his young literary muscles-- fans will of course read this one, but those more skeptical of his reputation should wait until the later work.