Excellent if a little muted. I feel ashamed to have never finished any of Thomas Mann's full-length novels, though I continue to return to them, so it was a guilty pleasure to read this novelistic treatment of Mann's life.
Toibin was reportedly motivated by the release of Mann's private journals and letters, which demonstrated his erotic attraction to men. The novel is undercut with a running thread of Mann's conscious and subconscious sexual feelings for men and his apparent decision not to act on them. At the same time, he had six children with his wife Katia in what the novel illustrates as a lively, loving marriage.
Mann was a celebrity author and his children and brother suffered from his fame. According to Toibin's novel, he lived mostly for his work, in his study, and left the emotional upbringing of his children to his wife.
Worthwhile but strange.