Book Review: ‘Nora: A Love Story Of Nora And James Joyce’ Is An Enjoyable, Captivating Tale

Acclaimed Irish novelist Nuala O’Connor’s bold reimagining of the life of James Joyce’s wife, muse, and the model for Molly Bloom in Ulysses.

This is a love story and your introduction to the relationship between James Joyce and Nora, is very personal, and it speaks in rough intimate language. The need they have for each other is shown by the satisfaction she portrays, fulfilling that need for him, and her joy is understanding he has given her power over him. A joy she carries with her for the duration of their lives together. Their journey spans a length of time and takes place in Dublin, Ireland, and in Zurich, Switzerland, between 1904 and 1951.

The entire narrative shows their struggles to survive as Jim’s writing skills develop. His love/hate relationship with Ireland is not fully explained because he lives on the periphery of the story. I wish I had the words to bring to life his love/hate relationship with the Emerald Isle and author Nuala O’Connor did a wonderful job which reflected the love in Nora and Jim’s arms. I have no doubt this was not an easy book to write but the end result is well worth the journey it takes you on.

The story is beautiful and harrowing in parts but you get a great insight into the love Nora has for Jim and all the characters that filled their lives. You get to observe Jim, every now and then when he arrives home after a night of drinking with his friends and Nora has no food on the table for him. You most certainly sympathize with her but you know she also forgives him. Without Nora to uplift him, Jim would falter but not for long, they never wavered in their love for each other.

Death separates us all in the end but I have no doubt that they are out amongst the stars, holding hands and no doubt Jim is coaxing his Nora into telling him another story. This book is beautifully stated and an unadulterated joy to read. Enjoy!

Now available in Bookstores

Ann McDonald

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