Klaus mann

The secret life of Thomas Mann: The Magician, by Colm Tóibín, reviewed

In a letter to Stephen Spender, W.H. Auden, who had married Thomas Mann’s daughter Erika sight unseen in order to provide her with a British passport, wrote: ‘Who’s the most boring German writer? My father-in-law.’ This is clearly not a sentiment shared by Colm Tóibín, who has brought out a fictionalised biography of the Nobel prize-winning novelist. Unlike The Master, Tóibín’s 2004 novel about Henry James, which confined itself to a four-year period when the protagonist was in his mid-fifties, The Magician covers almost the whole of Mann’s life, from his boyhood in Lübeck, which inspired his first and arguably finest novel, Buddenbrooks, to his death in Zurich at the