By Gordon Bowker
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $35.00, 608 pages
He is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. His name is synonymous with the country he was born in; you can’t separate Ireland and James Joyce. They are one and the same. His fiction takes place in Ireland, and at times is semi-autobiographical. Many editions of his books are available on bookstore shelves and in libraries all around the world. Many students are required to read Ulysses, Joyce’s masterpiece. Whether you like his work, or hate his work, Joyce had an impact on English literature in the 20th Century. Many biographies of Joyce have appeared, and this “new” biography is the latest one to hit bookstores. Unfortunately, it is a messy, and challenging read. The author attempts to connect the fiction of James Joyce with the life of James Joyce at points long before the Irishman started writing. These attempts to connect Joyce’s life with his art quickly become confusing; at times I did not know if I was reading a book about James Joyce, or a criticism of his work. Avoid this book, and read one of the other biographies available.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter