Toibin’s fictionalized work about Thomas Mann describes the great writer’s life in prose similar to Mann’s. Although all of his works were written in German, Thomas Mann was famous and appreciated throughout Europe and the United States. His wife was from a wealthy Munich family and was one quarter Jewish. They had six children-all creative, head strong and unorthodox. Although hailed as one of the greatest authors of the 20th century, Thomas Mann was a man without a country. He moved from Germany to Switzerland to Los Angeles and then back to Switzerland, never completely comfortable anywhere.
Toibin is an excellent writer who portrays Mann as a gifted, complex, rigid, sometimes aggravating “magician.” If you’ve read his most well known works, The Magician will be especially enjoyable.