I have a particular prejudice against male writers who either are proclaimed, or self proclaim as genius. It is a little jealousy. Not because I am remotely close to being a genius, but because it is a tag more often given to male writers than female writers which seems unfair and a product of sexism that has undervalued the work of women.
I will not give you my list of male writers I unfairly hate (even if I like their books). They are men I imagine flouncing about, dining out on their books and treating women like commodities.
This brings me to The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs which Jane chose for the Pocket Book Club. Disclaimer: my prejudice about so called genius writing men are my views alone and not the views of the pocket book club…
Poor Lucia. Not only is she the daughter of James Joyce she falls in love with Samuel Beckett. Annabel Abbs tells a fictional account – based on a mass of research – of Lucia. Intelligent and a talented dancer, Lucia ends up spending 50 years of her life in mental institutions. This book follows her sad descent from obsessive dancer to incarceration.
The Pocket Book club was intrigued by Lucia Joyce and her life in Paris in the 1920s. We did not think Annabel’s Abbs’ book gave it quite the life it deserved but our curiosity about the people was piqued. We did wonder how much of the book is fact and fiction which is answered by the author herself.
This is an easy book to read. I flew through it in a few days. I would recommend it if you are curious about how the other half lived.
It is fascinating that so many women in this era seem so easily diagnosed as mad and their lives waste away in institutions.
Most importantly, look what we ate and drank. Macaroons, brie and sparkling stuff not allowed to be called champagne. All in keeping with the french theme. Sue also diligently read a Joyce book and remembered she had already read the Beckett photographed.