Wednesday, November 30, 2011

0 James Joyce: A Life by Edna O'Brien review

Title: James Joyce: A Life
Author: Edna O'Brien
Pulbisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: November 29, 2011
paperback, 179 pages
ISBN: 978-0-14-311993-7
Genre: Biography


Summary:
Arguably the most influential writer of the twentieth century, James Joyce continues to inspire writers, readers, and thinkers today. Now Edna O'Brien, herself one of Ireland's great writers, approaches the master as only a fellow countryman can. From Joyce's adolescence through his travels abroad to the publication of Ulysses-the scandalous masterpiece that was initially banned in the U nited States but later hailed as one of the most brilliant novels of the twentieth century-O'Brien traces the arc of Joyce's remarkable life. Her biography is a tribute, at once affectionate and stern, from a contemporary writer to one of our most significant literary ancestors.


James Joyce was an author who could easily have been classified as mad or brilliant or perhaps both. Edna O'Brien gives us a glimpse into James Joyce's unconventional life in her novel, James Joyce: A Life. I wanted to read this book because James Joyce is on my list of authors whose books I need to read. I've had Dubliners sitting on my shelf unread for the longest time. However I have managed to read a few of his works so I didn't feel totally unprepared. 
Edna O'Brien touches on various points in Joyce's life from birth to death. From Joyce's dysfunctional family life to his volatile marriage to his wife, Nora. O'Brien includes many interesting facts about Joyce's rise to fame. His peculiar tendencies and his prideful nature.
I think if I had read more of Joyce's novels before hand it would have helped me to decipher and make the character connections even more so.  O'Brien did a fairly good job in trying to correlate the influences in Joyce's life to the characters in his novels. This is also a short biography so it doesn't go into great detail about Joyce's life. However this is a great introduction to James Joyce. 
Overall this is a good read. It's an insightful look into one of literature's treasures. This biography is really enjoyable and I'm so glad that I read it. Now it's time to dust Dubliners off the shelf.
My rating:

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*I received this book from the publisher for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my opinion.


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