Despite the negative feedback of the film and the story itself, I enjoyed Albert Nobbs, a long out-of-print novella by Irish novelist George Moore. It’s a very interesting story of a man who lived in mysterious circumstances. He worked for years and years as a waiter at a posh hotel in Dublin, never known for being anything but a hard working serious man. Then after one chance encounter everything changes. Forced one night to share his bed with an out-of-town laborer, Albert Nobbs’ carefully constructed facade nearly implodes when the stranger discovers his true identity-that he’s actually a woman. The story of his life is rather tragic, but Albert never dwells on it, the story concentrates more on his dreams and his attempts to find happiness.
At first glance this story seems to be nothing more than a sorrowful tale of lost identity and of love; how sad it must be to recognize that you can have more in life, but not know how to get it. Albert’s loneliness is what I got out of this book. Her almost desperation to achieve her dreams and plans is heartbreaking. In this compact book, Moore criticizes the atmosphere of unrelieved poverty and squalor; the frustration of all ideals; the suppression of individual thinking; the hysterical fear of sex as the supreme evil of which man is capable; the confusion of servility with obedience, furtive inhibition with virtuous self-denial, caution with wisdom; the fear of full expression and hence the distrust of the artist. 121 pages, Penguin.