Monday, January 30, 2012

Dotter of Her Father's Eye by Mary M. Talbot, art by Bryan Talbot

Mary Talbot remembers growing up with her father, a renowned James Joyce scholar.  Talbot draws parallels between her own life and the life of Joyce's daughter, Lucia.

An interesting story.  The main parallel between Mary and Lucia was that they both had fathers who were praised and admired, but when it came to their own families, they were sadly lacking.

Mary's father had moments of kindness and fun, but most of the time he seemed emotionally abusive.  He was focused on his work and writing about Joyce, which did not bring in much money for most of Mary's childhood, leaving Mary's mother to not only provide for her family, but also care for all the children.

I thought Lucia's story was fascinating, and I felt absolutely awful for her.  I didn't know anything about Lucia Joyce before reading this.  She was an incredibly talented dancer, but both her mother and her father discouraged her.  It was so sad to see her so excited after a performance, being praised by critics and other dancers and to have her parents say, "Yes, very nice dear, but when are you going to stop this?"  Her father's moving around and insisting she come with her ruined her career.  When she lashed out in anger after giving up dance at the request of her father, her brother had her put in an asylum.  The poor woman.  If she was actually crazy, it was completely the fault of her parents, but she probably wasn't.  She was finally expressing what she felt and she got shut up for the rest of her life.  Yikes.

Mary got pregnant young and she and her then boyfriend, Bryan, got married.  And they're still married to this day.  That made me happy.  They have two children and are making books together.  Lucia's story did not have a happy ending, but I think Mary got one.

Dotter of Her Father's Eye come out February 8, 2012.

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