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Publisher's Summary

In sensuous, resonant prose, Nuala O’Connor has conjured the definitive portrait of this strong, passionate and loyal Irishwoman. Nora is a tour de force, an earthy and authentic love letter to Irish literature’s greatest muse.

Dublin, 1904. Nora Barnacle is a 20-year-old from Galway, working as a maid at Finn’s Hotel. On June 16th, Bloomsday, her life is changed when she meets Dubliner James Joyce - a fateful encounter that turns into a lifelong love. Despite his hesitation to marry, Nora follows Joyce in pursuit of a life beyond Ireland.

But as their life unfolds, Nora finds herself in conflict between their intense desire for each other and the constant anxiety of living in poverty throughout Europe. She desperately wants literary success for Jim, believing in his singular gift and knowing that he thrives on being the toast of the town. When Jim writes and drinks his way to literary acclaim, Nora provides unflinching support and inspiration but at a cost to her own happiness and that of their children.

Nora is a heartfelt portrayal of love, ambition and the quiet power of an ordinary woman who was, in fact, extraordinary.

©2021 Nuala O'Connor (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"The Nora that leaps off these pages is at once muse, temptress, earth mother and warrior queen all rolled into one glorious package." (The Irish Times)

"This fictional Nora is entirely convincing in her raw sensuality, her stubborn determination, her powerful sense of grievance and her inability to stop loving a deeply erratic, wildly manipulative yet enormously talented man." (The New York Times)

"An exceptional novel by one of the most brilliant contemporary Irish writers, this is a story of love in all its many seasons, from ardent sexuality to companionable tenderness, through strength, challenge and courage." (Joseph O’Connor, author of Star of the Sea)

What listeners say about Nora

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-24-22

Gripping

This is such a beautiful written story. I was intrigued in the story after attending Bloomsday and hearing Nuala O’Connor at a book store. I read parts of it and listened to other parts while travelling. The language is so accurate, mesmerizing at times. Very impressed with the reading by Jean McGuirk.

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  • E. Phillips
  • 06-09-22

Noras story will hold you in a trance

So beautifully written I felt I was right there with them throughout happy times and sad.

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  • Stephanie
  • 05-20-22

excellent

I loved this story of Nora I have read all of James Joyce's and Lucia's story so It was great to hear Nora's

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  • Sandra
  • 02-24-22

Astonishingly good

Nora is astonishing. The beauty, freedom and frustration of family life. Nora keeps the show on the road with aplomb and James Joyce is one lucky scut. A love story of genius and muse but which is which. Magic to the last word. The writing is flawless, bringing the Joyces to life, with so much humanity you feel you are there alongside them for all their joys and trials.

The narration is beautiful, adding to the story with her performance. It was a joy very have heard it in her voice with beautiful Irish accents and tones. Perfect. Highly recommend.