The Charmed Life


Jack Butler Yeats


Book, 18.9 x 13 cm, 295 p., language : English, publisher : Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London (1974), ISBN : 0-7100-7667-3.
Materials: Ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2027/157).

Literary synopsis

The Charmed Life is basically a sequential narrative concerned with two primary figures, Mr. No Matter, the narrator (a Jack Yeats self-portrait) and his sometime friend Bowsie, rambling without much purpose from one hamlet to another in a coastal region of the West of Ireland—Yeats does not say exactly where, and is obviously concerned that specificity should not destroy the representativeness of the events. At the end Bowsie learns he has been offered a job in a Government office in Dublin and departs, leaving his friend to fend for himself among the locals. The novel begins in medias res, with Bowsie and No Matter there on the page somehow without any of the usual novelistic light and shade, and ends in medias res, with No Matter thinking of Bowsie and regretting his absence, but conquering his unhappiness and still responding with terrific imaginative vigour to his situation. Whenever the mood of the book threatens to become predominantly gloomy, No Matter shrugs his shoulders and casts around for something in which to find comfort; whenever the tone threatens to become too farcical or whimsical, No Matter catches himself indulging his desire to distort reality into shapes it does not possess, and administers a cold shower of truth that is savagely sad.

- John Pilling

Authorship: Artist Author.

Creative Strategy: No Link to Artworks.

Genre: Plain Fiction.

Publishing: Publishing House.

Theme: Desire, Friendship, Frustration, Truth.

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