So, I have reached the infamous “Lucia Joyce” chapter of Alan Moore’s new novel, Jerusalem. It’s written as a pastiche of James Joyce’s Finnegan‘s Wake, with nearly every word misspelled punally, or mangled in some crossword way. Moore says that writing this chapter broke his brain, and he had to take 18 months off from writing the novel to recover. Even just reading it is doing odd things to my use and perception of language.
It’s a difficult read, but not without its rewards. I have laughed out loud more often during this chapter than any other; not merely because of funny events (though there certainly are some), but a rare sort of revelatory laughter, as I realize another layer of meaning snaking around the surface level of the plot.
But I really started writing this post to express my joy and amazement at one particular scene in this chapter. Reading and Alan Moore novel, one expects a great deal of intertextuality, and guest appearances by all manner of obscurely famous people. What I did NOT see coming, was an extended conversation between Lucia Joyce and Herbie Popnecker, a.k.a. The Fat Fury!
Okay, TECHNICALLY, it was artist Ogden Whitney, but as portrayed by Moore, that’s a distinction without a difference.