After Nora

Penelope Curtis


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Les Fugitives
15 April 2024
ISBN: 9781739778347
205 pages

From the publisher

‘Penelope Curtis's After Nora is a fascinating European novel in the best sense. Spanning three generations and countries, it is a rich, tantalising portrait of beautiful minds in love and in the thick of creation.’  - Xiaolu Guo, author of Radical

In early 1920s England, Nora’s life is in a state of flux. Married to a man named Herbert, she has fallen in love with another. Sent away to her parents’ home to consider her position, she decides to take control of her life and divorces her first Herbert to marry the second. We follow her in the inter-war years, as she leads an existence on the margins of the artistic and political elite. This quest for control of her life as an artist, mother and wife will continue, as she struggles to find the focus that seems to come so easily to male artists who are not required to fit their work into their domestic lives.
In late 1960s Glasgow, young biologist Maria de Sousa wrestles with her feelings for Adam, her older colleague. Fifty years later, his daughter seeks out Maria to discover what really happened between them. Adam is the author’s father, and Nora the grandmother who she never knew.
Penelope Curtis offers sensitive portraits of those whose lives she has had to imagine in order to understand. After Nora reveals the forces that check personal callings, and movingly resurrects a past whose remnants still permeate the present.

‘A thoroughly absorbing read, After Nora evokes a vivid sense of place, seamlessly combining autobiography and history.’ - Daria Santini, author of The Exiles: Actors, Artists and Writers Who Fled the Nazis for London

‘I found After Nora increasingly moving as it went along and I loved the various musings on the purpose and meaning of/in art as Nora tries to understand the value of the paintings she’s producing.’ - David Thorp, artist and curator

After Nora tells a brilliantly layered story. Everything in the telling is both certainly true and only possibly true. We read and we trust everything in the unravelling.’ - Erica Van Horn