REVIEW: The Joyce Girl - Annabel Abbs


Independence. Love. Achievement. Freedom.

In short, that's what The Joyce Girl is about. I can't even begin to imagine what it would have been like to be a woman in the 1920s-30s but the feelings of suffocation that arise in this novel have given me an insight that it wouldn't have been too much fun.

I'm not usually a huge reader of historical novels but I have always enjoyed the idea of following the 'hidden' character. Instead of a novel about James Joyce and his genius, The Joyce Girl surrounds Lucia, an incredible dancer and the daughter of a toxic father. 

Without giving too much away, The Joyce Girl is a tragic tale of stolen potential and lost dreams. It's everyone's worst nightmare, and one historical figure's reality. We flicker between Lucia's early adult life in Paris and her consultation with a psychologist years later as she reflects on the past. It's apparent pretty early on that something horrible has gotten trapped in Lucia' psychosis, the question is... What?

As an English student I enjoyed reading about literary figures like James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. The way The Joyce Girl is based on a true story gives it a whole other level of deeper meaning. It draws attention to the way people portray themselves and the reality of their lives, which remains disguised from the public. 

It's hard not to appreciate how much thorough research must have gone into The Joyce Girl. It's believable, and more than that, enriched with detail which brings the story to life. The descriptions of Paris were particularly special.

Without a doubt, The Joyce Girl gets a 5/5 from me. You need to go and read it (click here for a copy). Let me know what you think!

Love, Jess

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