Momma Leighellen's Book Review
If you are curious about the love story of Nora Barnacle and James Joyce, this book may be for you. It is a no holds barred and interesting look into their lives. Irish Novelist Naula O’Connor does a realistic job reimagining the intense + unique relationship. While fiction, Nora reads like a memoir. It even includes rather graphic and passionate letters written between the two throughout their turbulent relationship.
It starts in Dublin, 1904. Nora was just a twenty year old working as a maid when she meets James Joyce. This fateful encounter will turn into her lifelong pursuit. Despite his hesitation to marry, Nora follows Joyce and creates a life so unusual for this era. The book also includes many greats from this era including Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and Samuel Beckett.
While called a love story, I found their romance to be more an extremely toxic obsession. Joyce is a typical writer of these times. He drinks like a fish and is self absorbed. Nora, however, is obsessed with him for some reason and does whatever he needs. She lives with constant anxiety and poverty. Yet she completely believes in him and his gifts and encourages him despite his drinking and gambling.
Nora is the story of an ordinary woman with a passionate love willing to do anything for her man, leading to a unique life. Go into this knowing the sex and language is graphic.
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