Book Review: The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs


Format: Paperback
Publisher: Impress Books
Published:  16th June 2016
Pages: 350 Pages

The Blurb
1928 Avant-garde Paris
is buzzing with the latest ideas in art, music, literature and dance. Lucia, the talented and ambitious daughter of James Joyce, is making her name as a dancer, training with some of the world s most gifted performers. When a young Samuel Beckett comes to work for her father, she s captivated by his quiet intensity and falls passionately in love. Persuaded she has clairvoyant powers, Lucia believes her destiny is to marry Beckett. But when her beloved brother is enticed away, the hidden threads of the Joyce’s lives begin to unravel, destroying Lucia s dreams and foiling her attempts to escape the shadow of her genius father.

1934 Her life in tatters, Lucia is sent by her father to pioneering psychoanalyst Carl Jung. For years she has kept quiet. But now she decides to speak. Inspired by a true story, 

The Review
Thank you to Impress Books for sending me a copy of  The Joyce Girl to read and review.

Based on the life of James Joyce, The Joyce Girl focuses on his daughter  Lucia and her struggles with living in her father’s limelight.

Prior to reading the novel, I did have to do a  little research because I knew nothing of James  Joyce, I ashamedly haven’t read any of his novels either. I wouldn’t suggest doing the research if you’re not that bothered, but I felt I needed a little background knowledge before I started.

In the 1920’s, and perhaps even closer to present day, James Joyce is known for his classical literature, as well as, his passion for his hometown of Dublin. But, what Annabel does is bring to life the story of Lucia (his daughter) and how she had to deal with a very uncomfortable situation. It’s no secret that her family thought Lucia was mentally ill and they even sent her to see a psychiatrist. Personally, I think it was her father that was the one who was suffering from mental illness and lived in a world of self-love and infatuation. All Lucia wanted to do was dance and be in love, and both eventually ended up emotionally damaging.

It was great to read just how passionate Lucia was about her dancing and the determination to try and be the best in her field. Her hard work was admired by audiences and she was even spotted by a few dance experts that she admired. It’s a shame that other people had things to say about her life and never trusted her in making her own decisions. People unfortunately painted her in bad way and often just laughed at her.

Although she gets treated very badly, by a lot of people, family included,  I don’t think she deserved it. Not once did she come across naive or vulnerable, more just rose-tinted and focused on love – essentially it’s a bad case of people being horrid and selfish because they fancied it.

My Nan has also devoured my copy, whilst on holiday and she thoroughly enjoyed it. She knew a lot more about James and his life, so was more familiar with certain elements.

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Published by Clare

Book lover, tea drinker and sushi fiend!

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

      1. Great! It’s working for me now 🙂
        Sounds like a fascinating book. I managed to dodge studying Joyce, I must admit and know nothing about his family, so would be coming to this without any prior knowledge.

      2. Yay, glad it’s working. ☺

        It helps to know a little about the Joyce family, but it won’t be any less enjoyable if you go into the novel blind!

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