Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Odd Echo - Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Apparently the legacy of Lucia Joyce lights a fire under a good many writers. This year's Costa Prize for biography in Britain has been awarded to Bryan & Mary M. Talbot for their graphic biography (yes, you saw correctly, a graphic novel bio) of James Joyce's daughter, Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

I haven't forgotten about my shelved phd project and find Lucia's sad story as fascinating as ever. I'm still hard at work on the novel portion of said phd and am sort of simul-adapting as I move along into the accompanying screenplay as more and more of the sections feel best represented visually.

Clearly the Talbots thought so as well and chose to depict the story of this dysfunctional family with its literary genius at the center in images as well. I jumped to acquire the hard copy of course, but this is a perfect work to engage with digitally, either on ipad or iphone or e-reader. All the images are black and white and have a kind of child-like quality which, in my opinion, sort of adds to the heartbreak. 

The Talbots were also inspired by the same book as I was-- Carol Schloss's To Dance In The Wake, but I've obviously added several highly fictional elements to my version of the story. 

Interesting fact, Mary Talbot has lived and breathed the Joyce family most of her life as the daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar, James S Atherton. And the piece tells not just the story of Lucia the daughter, but of of Mary the daughter as well. The part memoir, part biography juxtaposes Mary's childhood with Lucia's. 

It's strange hearing about a similar yet so dissimilar project to mine. In some ways, it gives a feeling of validation. I maintain my feeling that I'm on the right track. In other ways, I feel territorial and want to write faster. Either way, I'm looking forward to cracking into this one. Keep on thinking of unexpected ways to tell those stories, people. 

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