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Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom [Paperback]

Brenda Maddox
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 15.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

May 19 2000
In 1904, having known each other for only three months, a young woman named Nora Barnacle and a not yet famous writer named James Joyce left Ireland together for Europe -- unwed. So began a deep and complex partnership, and eventually a marriage, which endured for thirty-seven years. This is the true story of Nora, the woman who, transformed by Joyce's imagination, became Molly Bloom, arguably the most famous female character in twentieth-century literature. It is also the story of Ireland, a social history encapsulated in the vivid recreation of Joyce and his small Irish entourage abroad. Ultimately it is the portrait of a relationship -- of Nora's complicated, committed, and at times shocking relationship with a hardworking, hard drinking genius and with his work. In NORA: THE REAL LIFE OF MOLLY BLOOM, the award-winning biographer Brenda Maddox has given us a powerful new lens through which to see both James Joyce and the woman who was in turn his inspiration and his salvation.

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From Publishers Weekly

Not only is this a highly engaging Joyce family biographybrightly written, scrupulously researched and full of intimate, little-known Joyceanait also gives an important thrust to a scholarly opinion now gathering force: that far from being an insignificant factor in her husband's work, Nora was the inspiration for Ulysses's Molly Bloom, Finnegans Wake's Anna Livia Plurabelle and principal females in all his other writings. Though she was semiliterate and never read Ulysses, Galway-bred Nora was intelligent, humorous and strong; and, for the exiled Joyce, she was Ireland. This account of how she stood by her hard-drinking, thriftless "genius" through years of poverty, physical tribulations and endless nomadism is deeply touching. Others figure prominently in the storymost notably Joyce's brother Stanislaus, benefactor Harriet Weaver, his first publisher Sylvia Beach and the Joyce's two children, Lucia, who went mad, and Giorgio whose career as a singer was disastrousyet the figure who shines through in the freshest, strongest light is Nora. The reader may well agree that Joyce could not have written any of his books without her. Maddox's previous books include Who's Afraid of Elizabeth Taylor and Married and Gay. Illustrations.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Nora Joyce has long been seen as a shrew who was a poor cook, basically illiterate, and an unlikely helpmate for the greatest novelist of the 20th century. Maddox presents a different Noraperfectly ordinary, in the Joycean sense of the word. A caring, devoted wife, with a sharp tongue, fine wit, and strong sense of survival, Nora not only made Joyce a man, but also, at least in part, the author he was. Nora was the model for many of Joyce's heroines, from Lily in "The Dead" to Molly of Ulysses and Anna Livia Plurabelle of Finnegans Wake. A carefully written, sensitive study that offers many new insights on the Joyces' family life. Essential for Joyceans. Donald Kaczvinsky, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
The story of Nora and James Joyce's unconventional relationship and how it shaped the writings of one of history's most controversial authors. This book is nothing short of riveting, both in terms of the story it is telling and the way it is told. It explores the influence Nora held over Joyce in his life and his writing and gives countless examples of how he used the experiences of those around him in his books. More than anything, this is the story of a woman struggling to hold her life and her family together in the face of hardship after hardship. A truly incredible read that I couldn't put down until the last page - I even read the bibliography!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful and compelling look into a life and a marriage Jan. 3 2003
By Yvonne W. Lynch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The story of Nora and James Joyce's unconventional relationship and how it shaped the writings of one of history's most controversial authors. This book is nothing short of riveting, both in terms of the story it is telling and the way it is told. It explores the influence Nora held over Joyce in his life and his writing and gives countless examples of how he used the experiences of those around him in his books. More than anything, this is the story of a woman struggling to hold her life and her family together in the face of hardship after hardship. A truly incredible read that I couldn't put down until the last page - I even read the bibliography!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and a pleasure to read Jan. 26 2012
By vladb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great counterpart to the authoritative work by Richard Ellmann, and the picture of the Joyces' family life is incomplete without reading both. While not as academic as Ellmann's biography, "Nora" is a highly enjoyable page-turner, with some quality analysis alongside dozens of interesting anecdotes and insights from the Joyces' contemporaries. It really shows that Maddox has done extensive research. As the book continues past 1941, anyone curious about the later lives of Nora and her children should read it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect companion Oct. 15 2005
By James Peter Walsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the perfect companion to Richard Ellmans bio of JJ. I first read it when it came out a few years ago and I found it to be a good "other side of the story". Much has been made of Joyce's letters to his wife and of her being the model for Molly Bloom. He must have been a happy man if that was the case. She was all woman.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read! Oct. 23 2013
By Adele Aldridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The books is so well written about a very interesting subject. I love reading about the lives of artists and writers and learning about who they were as real people. Nora happened to be born in the same month as both my grandmothers so that added another aspect of interest for me.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 27 2014
By Katherine Gilmour - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A terrific book.
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