Overview

Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes

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Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes

Credits

  • Words: Mary M. Talbot
  • Art: Bryan Talbot
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: Feb 8, 2012

James Joyce’s birthday marks the start of a curious semi-autobiographical adventure in one of the most unusual graphic novels you’ll ever read

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes is a new graphic novel written by Mary Talbot and drawn by her husband, Bryan Talbot. And to say that it’s groundbreaking is an understatement.

This is a difficult book to categorize: part autobiography (of Mary herself), part biography (of Lucia Anna Joyce, the talented but ultimately tragically fated daughter of the Irish novelist and poet James Joyce), and part…something quite indefinable, but definitely more than the sum of its parts.

Written in a meandering, conversational style which creates an illusion of familiarity between the reader and the author, the narrative bounces back and forth between the life stories of Lucia and Mary, one the talented but supposedly disturbed daughter of a famous father who tended to put his career before his family, the other the equally talented and mercifully rather less doomed daughter of a Joycean scholar who unfortunately appears to have had rather more in common with the object of his obsession than might have been desired when it comes to parenting.

Mary is unsentimental and uncompromising, but not unfair in her depiction of any of her "characters," including herself. As a result, these people comes across as very real and three dimensional, their motivation always understandable if not always excusable, Lucia’s mother’s irritation at her daughter’s supposed selfishness and her totally dismissive attitude to Lucia’s desire to have a career being a good example, and one which gradually fosters a growing resentment in the reader on Lucia’s behalf. It’s a frankly incredible piece of work from an author who, while she has plenty of published works to her name, has never worked in the graphic novel format before, but has definite plans to do so again--definitely a name to watch out for.

The story is perfectly complemented by the art, wonderfully rendered in a clean and simple, almost cartoony but very evocative style by Talbot, who really makes both eras come alive while keeping the feel of them very distinct from one another by a clever use of different colour schemes. Talbot’s art seems to continually change and evolve with each new project, and this one is no exception.

Apparently, Bryan and Mary’s next projects are both scheduled to be with other people, but one can only hope that this particular collaboration will prove to be the first of many. Highly recommended.

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