Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Brian Talbot: Review

Dotter of her Father's Eyes Mary & Bryan Talbot

Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Brian Talbot


Dotter of her Father’s Eyes is the semi-autobiographical story of Mary Talbot (illustrated by her husband Bryan Talbot). Her story is told alongside the fascinating story of Lucia, the daughter of the famous author, James Joyce. The book went on to win the 2012 Costa biography award.




Two daughters’ early childhood could not have been more different. For Mary, it was a matter of tip-toeing around her father’s tantrums and strict hand. Meanwhile, her sister Lucia is encouraged to be open, creative and bathed in affection.


The girls grow into women and the roles slowly reverse. As Mary continues with her education, her father begins to become proud of her work. However, as Lucia follows her dream of becoming a dancer, her family dismisses her aspirations as worthless and improper for a young lady. Lucia’s dreams are soon quashed and the venomous blame she holds towards her parents results in her own brother having her committed.



Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Brian Talbot review


These two tales work well alongside each other and the story of Lucia is especially engrossing. Although, it was a shame that no positive aspects of Mary’s life were included as it did become a very sombre read. From her childhood to childbirth, it continues to focus on the negative.


What really makes this book stand out are the illustrations. From the simplicity of the cover to the perfectly captured emotions on the character’s faces, it’s all stunning. These images bring the story to life in a very beautiful and unique way.


If you like Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Brian Talbot you’ll love Nelson edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix



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