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Dotter of Her Father's Eyes Hardcover – February 21, 2012
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"Dotter of Her Father's Eyes is doubly enjoyable for writer Mary Talbot's masterful interweaving of two father-daughter relationships and cartoonist Bryan Talbot's equally brilliant drawings, which transported me back-and-forth between gritty postwar Britain and the swinging Paris of the 20s and 30s. This is one of the best collaborative efforts I've seen in the comics medium." -- Joe Sacco "A fascinating and original book, which will have wide appeal - not just to fathers and daughters!" -- Jennifer Coates "[Am]bitious, entertaining and perceptive...blends a first-time script from Mary Talbot with stunning drawings and design from her husband, Bryan... It's a small triumph." -- Tim Martin * Daily Telegraph * "Elegantly drawn and fluidly told, like Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, Fun Home, this is a moving take on fathers, daughters and literature." -- Tom Gatti * The Times * "Lucia Joyce's tragic descent from creativity into fragmentation is brilliantly brought home by the writing and art of the Talbot team." -- Lucille Redmond * Irish Times * --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Mary M. Talbot is a British academic who specializes in language, gender, and power, and is the author of Language and Gender, second edition. In 2012 she wrote her first graphic novel, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, illustrated by her husband, artist Bryan Talbot, which won the Costa Biography Award. She went on to publish Sally Heathcote: Suffragette (2014) and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia (2016).
Bryan Talbot is a British comic book artist and writer, best known as the creator of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright; its sequel, Heart of Empire; and the award-winning The Tale of One Bad Rat. He collaborated with his wife, Mary M. Talbot, to produce Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, which won the 2012 Costa biography award.
For more please visit bryan-talbot.com/biog/index.php. The author lives in Wigan, Lancashire, England.
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I hear there's another Talbot X 2 story out there and I can't wait to read it!
The book alternates between the two women at similar points in their lives from childhood to adolescence to adulthood and shows parallels between them and their fathers. Mary's father was an eminent James Joyce scholar whose work "The Books at the Wake" remains the best book written analysing Joyce's incredibly difficult novel "Finnegan's Wake", and in turn an equally difficult man to get along with. Mary details her clashes with her dad who was mentally abusive to her while growing up, often belittling her achievements and dreams.
Lucia's father wasn't abusive - Joyce was too wrapped up in his own writings to be that way - and he was generally quite involved in raising his daughter, but when she became a young woman wanting to become a professional dancer and start an independent career, Joyce and his shrill wife forbade it to the point where she became so frustrated she threw a chair at her mother. Incredibly this incident led to her becoming institutionalised, a forced way of life that she would never escape until her death.
Mary Talbot's writing is superb and she brings to life her story with warmth and candour, perfectly matching her husband's artwork in tone and mood. The book is enthralling to read and, for Mary, ultimately a happy ending. For Lucia, it's hard to imagine a thwarted dance career and an overbearing mother could lead to a decades long imprisonment, but perhaps it really was all that - maybe there is more to her story than presented here.
I loved Bryan Talbot's work in this book. It's not nearly as polished or dramatic as his work in books like Grandville, and the book is coloured infrequently, mostly in sepia tones throughout, but it's still wonderful to see. His depiction of Lucia's descent into madness is as high a quality fans have come to expect from this artist, while the drawing of he and Mary's wedding day is very beautiful in its simplicity and expression of pure happiness.
"Dotter of her Father's Eyes" is a fascinating comic book of human relationships and the importance of an unshackled human spirit, but moreover it's a great read. Who knew that Bryan Talbot's wife was also a talented writer? Highly recommended.
I was going to say I hadn't been familiar with Mary's writing before this, but of course it turns out I had, as she's written quite a lot on gender, language and consumer culture. I just hadn't connected the Talbot names! This is Mary's story of her childhood, of remembering her childhood and how she's sees it through the prism of Lucia Joyce's life because her father, James Atherton, was a prominent Joycean.
Lucia's life is a heartbreaking one; there are parallels between their lives -- headstrong daughters butting heads with their famous (and equally willful) fathers. But the contrasts are perhaps more important and show why Talbot achieves success and happiness while Lucia ends so tragically. Part of the difference is time: women's lives have improved despite the continuing madness of retrograde morons. Part too is due to finding a true partner: the book itself shows the beauty of that relationship, but the story brings it to life. Ultimately, the power of creation -- and the horrifying effects of having that human need crushed -- offers the most powerful beacon.
Exquisite art: there's such beauty here, but the most harrowing images seared my brain: Robin's birth and Lucia's "dance" in the sanatorium. It's an incredibly moving story with a lot of sorrow, but ultimately reaffirming. You'll treasure it.