Recently published: Nora by Nuala O’Connor

#Nora #NetGalley

I alternated between reading and listening to this title. Both gave a good insight into the lives of Nora Barnacle and James Joyce. I did adore the narration and could hear that voice in my head when I was reading the text. The voices are beautifully captured in the audio.

So many find the works of James Joyce to be difficult to understand. It is fascinating to hear this icon simply referred to as “Jim” by Nora. It puts him in some perspective.

When the novel opens, Nora is working as a hotel maid. She meets Joyce on that fateful Bloomsday of June 16th and her life is transformed. Although he will not marry, Nora agrees to leave Ireland with her Jim as they seek a better life in Europe. It soon becomes clear that finding this life will not be easy. Readers become part of these characters’ worlds as their lives unfold.

Nora and Jim are earthy, bawdy lovers and their relationship is described in some detail. This adds to the aliveness and intensity of the characters and I feel belongs in the book. It is possible that some will wish for less of this description though.

I recommend this historical novel for its characterizations, details and keen look at the lives of these two well known Irish lovers. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

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