"The Joyce Girl" Annabel Abbs
Lucia, the talented and ambitious daughter of James Joyce, is making a name for herself as a dancer, training with many famous dancers of her day and moving in social circles which throw her into contact with Samuel Beckett. Convinced she has clairvoyant powers, she believes her destiny is to marry Beckett, but the overbearing shadow of her father threatens this vision. Caught between her own ambitions and desires, and her parents’ demands, Lucia faces both emotional and psychological struggles that attract the attention of pioneer psychoanalyst Dr Jung.
This is a really interesting story - Abbs has chosen a more hidden story and focused on the lesser known character amongst all the legendary names who play roles in her novel which makes it a really intriguing read.
The era is well evoked and the characters are all deftly created. Quiet, often referenced or in the background, but fiercely powerful and influential, the men are described cleverly and with subtle phrases as soft as the sweep of an artist's paintbrush.
I think Beckett and Joyce are fascinating writers to read about in this fictionalised story of real events. Although the star of the show really is Lucia. It is an eye opener and a moving story about Lucia's life as she tries to develop her own talent and creativity alongside the struggle of living in the shadow of a genius. The reader definitely shares Abbs' affection for her!
It is quite mesmerising and I enjoyed it. I found it a real insight and appreciate how much research the author must have done in order to complete such a convincing piece of writing. It doesn't feel "academic" at all considering its about Joyce and Beckett and the writing is fluent and easy. I would recommend this book, particularly for fans of Paula McCain.
I have had this book on my TBR pile for ages as I bought it following a flurry of good reviews on Twitter when it was published. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it - it didn't disappoint and I can understand why so many other reviewers enjoyed it so thoroughly.