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Edna O'Brien's James & Nora: A séance over the souls of one of ­literature's most enigmatic couples

Fiction: James & Nora

Edna O'Brien

W&N, 80 pages, paperback €8.39, e-book £3.99

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Joycean wordplay: Edna O'Brien

Joycean wordplay: Edna O'Brien

James & Nora by Edna O'Brien

James & Nora by Edna O'Brien

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Joycean wordplay: Edna O'Brien

A "meditation" might be the best way to describe the slightly untethered formal energies of this 1981 essay by Edna O'Brien, now revived for this year's Bloomsday celebrations.

The purpose here does not seem to be to merely chart one of Irish literature's most enigmatic romances but to disassemble and inhabit in a manner that perhaps novelists are better suited to than professional biographers.

It was while studying pharmaceutical science in the 1950s that O'Brien came across a copy of TS Eliot's Introducing James Joyce. At that very moment, she says in her original introduction from 1981, her burgeoning dreams of becoming a writer suddenly found some form of purchase in the reality of her situation. "I saw that literature was not mysterious lofty stuff," she recalls, "but the rough and tumble of everyday life."