James Joyce: Literary Legend

James Joyce: Literary Legend is the latest instalment of Poolbeg’s In a Nutshell series. The illustrated paperback describes the life and career of one of Ireland’s greatest writers.

Andrew O’Connor’s text provides a very clear overview of the key moments in the life of James Joyce. The reader is brought on a journey, which includes Dublin, France, Italy and Switzerland. We are introduced to Joyce’s most notable works, Dubliners, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. We meet family, mentors and, most significantly, Joyce’s partner and the love of his life, Nora Barnacle.

O’Connor touches upon the hardships and struggles Joyce experienced over his lifetime, all of which influenced his writing. The controversial content of Joyce’s literary masterpieces are alluded to. And it is these little nuggets of information that will entice young readers to want to know more.

Derry Dillon’s illustrations do an excellent job of livening up the pages with pictures that will appeal to children, while still effectively portraying the atmosphere of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Not an easy task.

This is definitely one for the classroom, with the text providing quite a few opportunities for discussion and debate. It will make an excellent addition to school libraries.