On Colm Toibin’s ‘The Magician’

Dwight Garner at The New York Times:

In those diaries, Mann frankly discussed his sexual interest in men, an interest that remained coded in his fiction. In “The Magician,” a subtle and substantial new novel about Mann’s life, Colm Toibin writes that, were Goebbels to get his hands on the diaries, he would Oscar Wilde the eminent author, transforming “the reputation of Thomas Mann from great German writer to a name that was a byword for scandal.”

Goebbels didn’t find them. A funny thing about those diaries, though. When they were finally published in the 1970s and ’80s, more than two decades after Mann’s death, they prompted a reappraisal of his life and work. The diaries humanized a writer who, off the page and sometimes on it, could seem stuffy and pompous, driven by protocol and vanity.

more here.