14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
21st century Joyce, 10 Jun. 2011
'Ephiphanies' - the short fictionalised opening to this biography, positions the reader within Joyce's experience from youth to late adult life. This brave departure from accepted methods of introduction by Gordon Bowker - immediately and compelingly invites the reader to engage with both the life and the work of his subject.
This biography is both scholarly and readable. Gordon Bowker is acknowledged to be a reliable and meticulous reseacher as his previous works on George Orwell, Laurence Durrell and Malcolm Lowry have proved. In each case he discovered new information about his subject and this is equally true of Joyce.
Joyce lives and breathes in this text as Bowker has adopted a style that allows Joyce to articulate the autobiographical elements as they appear in his work; thus the Joycean voice speaks throughout. This necessitates a shift between Joyce's life and his work; plus the commentator's voice (Bowker's) and Joyce's own mediated through his ficion. Bowker has acheived all this superbly without sacrificing fluency.
This biography capapults Joyce and his work into the 21st century. Readers of Joyce will be drawn back to his writings and the uninitiated will be able to approach Dubliners; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Ulysses and even Finnigans Wake with confidence.