Irish novelist, journalist, and travel writer. His first novel, The South (1990), tells of an Irish Protestant living in Spain, who then returns to Dublin for a bittersweet reunion with her son; The Heather Blazing (1992), an account of a retired couple's strained marriage, is similarly lyrical and compassionate. The Story of the Night (1996), set in Argentina, describes a young man's gradual awakening to his homosexuality. In the powerful Blackwater Lightship (1999), Declan Devereux summons his friends and family to his grandmother's house, where they learn that he is dying of AIDS. The Master (2004) is based on the life of Henry James. Like his fiction, Tóibín's travel writing (including Homage to Barcelona, 1990) is distinguished by its political awareness and refreshing lack of machismo.