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Ulysses

Ulysses

Written by James Joyce

Narrated by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan


Ulysses

Written by James Joyce

Narrated by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan

ratings:
4/5 (100 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Released:
Jan 1, 1994
ISBN:
9789629545963
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Ulysses is one of the greatest literary works in the English language. In his remarkable tour de force, Joyce catalogues one day – June 16 1904 – in immense detail as Leopold Bloom wanders through Dublin, talking, observing, musing – and always remembering Molly, his passionate, wayward wife. Set in the shadow of Homer’s Odyssey, internal thoughts – Joyce’s famous stream of consciousness – give physical reality extra colour and perspective. Though Ulysses is widely regarded as a ‘difficult’ novel, this fresh and lively reading shows its comic genius as well as its great moments of poignancy, making it more accessible than ever before.
Released:
Jan 1, 1994
ISBN:
9789629545963
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. One of the most influential writers of the 20th Century, Joyce's life was punctuated by poverty, critical controversy and self-imposed exile. Joyce was one of the pioneering figures of modernism and counted W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound amongst his earliest supporters. Before his death in 1941, Joyce had published Ulysses, Finnegan's Wake, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners; works that today are recognized as amongst the greatest achievements in literature.


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What people think about Ulysses

3.8
100 ratings / 113 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    This recording is better than I ever would have imagined. A superb job by the readers.
  • (5/5)
    Oh, that, "apathy of the stars." I am wistful and amazed.

    P.S. I have since read texts by Julian Rios and Enrique Vila-Matas who devoted novelistic approaches to Ulysses that ultimately steer the reader back to Bloom and Dedalus. I know of no other groundswell that continues to percolate and excite.
  • (4/5)
    Well worth wading through, if you have some annotations or at least Cliff's Notes on hand - at the very least to pick up on the references that don't make any sense to anyone who wasn't living in Dublin in 1916. The analogy that Joyce draws between the journeys of Odysseus to a day in the life of one ordinary man is very powerful, even though we work backwards through his life and at the end we probably know more about Leopold Bloom than perhaps any character in any book. The streams of consciousness that comprise most of the book seem appropriate to get a clear feel for Bloom's state of mind, and the play style of the hallucinogenic Circe scene works well. Perhaps the climaxes of the book occur when the ghosts of their dead loved ones visit both Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. But Joyce also drops in what appear to be random styles of writing, particularly in the Cyclops chapter, and the question-answer style of Ithaca is fairly difficult to follow. Does it add to the book? Not that I can see. There are also constant lists of what appear to be nothing in particular; other conspiracy-minded books (Focault's Pendulum, Illuminatus) hint at their respect for Joyce and provide similar lists; coupled with the coded letters that Bloom writes in the book I think it's pretty likely that at least some of the lists contain secret messages. Bloom is clearly a Freemason - I don't see how anyone could say otherwise. I didn't take the trouble to try to translate the messages but it seems a pretty good bet that the key to the code is in the line N. IGS./WI.UU. OX/W. OKS. MH/Y. IM., which is the coded address of the woman to whom Bloom sends letters.The long stream-of-consciousness of Molly Bloom that ends the book is also very telling concerning Bloom; a look at him through the eyes of the person who probably knows him better than anyone else. I'm not sure I find the hints of reconcilation convincing, but I don't see that a divorce or angry recriminations are in the Blooms' future either. And I'd be surprised if our Everyman hero ever has a huge resolution, or third act, an end to his drama, because I think that is precisely what Joyce tries to avoid. His hero will remain ambiguous forever. And in the end, isn't that what we really can expect?
  • (5/5)
    6stars? 100? My favorite book? Kinda. The book I've read the most? Definitely. This is a book you can read 10, 20 times and get something new out of it each time. There are dozens of books written about this book, and they add something too, but the thing itself is (really) thoroughly enjoyable. Still shocking in form after all these years, this is as good as a novel can be.
  • (4/5)
    Inside the cover of this Second Hand copy a previous owner has written "June 2013, Got to page 12 Only". In some way it is the ultimate literary critique.I first read Joyce's book as a callow youth in my first year at Uni: Couldn't get into it - a way too intellectual, too self-indulgently, unleashing that 'stream of consciousness' prose style for my patience & understanding in that era of my life.Bought & read a copy in my thirties (decades ago) - it made much more sense, but there were still whole passages of Joyce's lyrical gallivanting with the English language that still had me perplexed & irritated.So, here am I (retired, time to take an in-depth, considered view on the alleged masterpiece) and read its 680 pages: Verdict - it's a damn clever piece of writing that really stretches the boundaries of word-play and its visionary erudition challenges almost every concept of what constitutes a literary novel - Joyce is extremely talented & this tome about one day bristles with extraneous vivid idiosyncratic bouts of words in scenes that need the most intense concentration to make sense of them: Is all that effort worthwhile? Is it genius at work?I'm not clever enough to make a judgement: I do know it figures in the top25 of most 'great' literature lists - BUT, for me it doesn't make my personal top50 'great reads' & there I suppose is something of the difference between the literary critics and the much wider, less intellectual readership of novels - if a reader struggles to make head or tail with many of the passages then that is NOT a 'great' read and nor is it necessarily an important literary read.James Joyce's Ulysses can be judged, I suspect, as TOO CLEVER BY HALF for many of us!
  • (4/5)
    This is an experimental novel for it’s time that follows a Dublin school teacher, Stephen Daedalus through the events of June 16th, 1904. It is a pretty ordinary day. The cast of characters is large, with Molly Bloom and her husband Leopold dwelt on quite thoroughly. To sum up this is a major classic of English literature, and quite fun to read. First Published February 2, 1922.inished January 18th, 1971.
  • (4/5)
    I signed up for a lecture on how to enjoy reading Ulysses, and eagerly bought the book. I decided to start reading a few pages before the lecture....got to page 60 (of 933) and was notified that the seminar was cancelled! Nonetheless, I decided to proceed without professional help.The novel takes place over a single day as we follow Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dadelus on their meanderings in Dublin. There isn't much plot; the book is a character study of Bloom, modeled after Odysseus, and also an exploration of writing techniques to show how different ways of telling a story change the perspective of the reader and the characters themselves. It was more enjoyable than I'd expected and, several days having passed since I finished it, I am still coming to appreciate aspects of Leopold Bloom's character that I may have missed. Hard to rate....it's a masterpiece of style for sure, but sometimes confusing and so long!
  • (2/5)
    "A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are portals of discovery."This novel has a remarkably simple story. It traces the paths of two characters on a single day in 1904 Dublin. Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged, Jewish man and Stephen Daedalus, a young intellectual.Bloom spends the day in the knowledge that his wife, Molly, is probably spending her day at home entertaining her lover. He spends the morning attending the funeral of a friend who had died suddenly whilst Stephen in contrast, spends his morning teaching before moving on to a newspaper office, a public library and finally a maternity ward where the two men's paths cross. Stephen invites Bloom to join him and some friends on a drunken spree, visiting a notorious brothel along the way and ends with Bloom inviting him back to his house, where they spend a number of hours talking and drinking coffee.In the final chapter, Bloom slips back into bed with his wife, Molly, and we get a final monologue from her point of view. This book is a notoriously difficult read and in fact resides in number 1 position on Goodreads '100 most difficult books to finish list'. It is not it's length, nearly 700 pages in my case, but Joyce's writing style that makes it so much hard work. In fact I was tempted on more than one occasion to abandon it. Firstly it is largely written in a stream-of-consciousness manner which whilst allowing the author to portray a unique perspective on the events, it also requires a fair bit of concentration and perseverance. But Joyce isn't content with finishing there. He also employs several other narrative and linguistic techniques. For example, he employs phonic representation in one chapter whilst another is laid out like a play. Joyce is trying to show is that there are more than one way to tell a story. The final chapter returns to the stream-of-consciousness process and is virtually devoid of any punctuation marks.Ulysses's experimental literary structure makes it a powerful but also incredibly taxing piece of work and whilst I am glad that I finally got around to reading I cannot in truth say that I particularly enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    I started off thinking Ulysses was a pile of incoherent drivel, even though I'd never got past the first page. At 20 I would sit in the uni bar getting pissed and slagging off literary types and lecturers who mentioned it (some of them were pretentious posers; some of them weren't). At 30 I decided to put up or shut up by actually reading it so that I could explain why it was incoherent drivel. The result was that I was drawn into it and have read it five times cover-to-cover. Like a lot of challenging literature, it requires a bit of life experience to get into.The funniest bit in 'Ulysses' is when he's browsing a second hand book store for a book for his wife. As nice as she is, Bloom obviously knows she's not really on his intellectual/reading level. He decides to look for the kind of romance, Mills&Boon, type books for her. In the whole novel of course, the narrative style has it that the description of action, his thoughts, what he's reading, and his speech are all rolled together in the same syntax. So it's funny when he comes across a book, flicks to a random page and it says something like 'and she wore her finest gowns for him, she would do anything, for Raoul', and he just pisses himself, deciding there and then:“This is it. This is the book. This one.”Then a few pages later, the quote crops up again in his mind (much like things come back to us after a while when doing something completely unrelated) and he laughs about it again. A very interesting outline of the psychological process.Random thoughts:- Interestingly enough, Joyce was very influenced in on the porno-lit side, by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch's Venus im Pelz. Joyce was a diagnosed schizo, which disease, at the beginning, made for one of the world's great Kustwerke, Ulysses, but in its way-out stages made for his garbled nonsense, "Finnegans Wake", as well. There is, really, too much of a good thing. Too much mouse running up your clock, jumbles up your hickorydickory beyond comprehension;- To me "Ulysses" is still the #1 laugh-out-loud novel of all time, worth every minute of effort---and the best critical intro is still Ellmann's relatively small but high-impact "Ulysses on the Liffey." Read that first and you'll instantly enjoy 90% of the tough parts. Still laughing about the Irishman dragged away for setting a cathedral on fire. "I'm bloody sorry I did it," says he, "but I declare to God I thought the archbishop was in there."- How could you not love Leopold Bloom? He talks to his cat. He eats with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls, which "give to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine". He wonders if it would be possible to cross Dublin without passing a pub. He surreptitiously observes the marble goddesses in the lobby of the National Museum to see if they have anuses. He buys pornographic novels for his wife, masturbates on a public beach without getting caught, and picks the winner at Ascot without even trying. The most endearing character in all literature.
  • (1/5)
    The life of the everyman in a single day in Dublin is the basic premise of James Joyce’s Ulysses, yet this is an oversimplification of the much deeper work that if you are not careful can quickly spiral down into a black hole of fruitless guesswork and analysis of what you are reading.Joyce’s groundbreaking work is a parallel to Homer’s The Odyssey though in a modernist style that was defined by Joyce in this novel. Though the primary character is Leonard Bloom, several other important secondary characters each take their turn in the spotlight but it is Bloom that the day revolves around. However any echoes of Homer are many times hidden behind Joyce verbosity and stream-of-conscious writing that at times makes sense and at times completely baffles you. Even with a little preparation the scale of what Joyce forces the reader to think about is overwhelming and frankly if you’re not careful, quickly derails your reading of the book until its better just to start skimming until the experience mercifully ends.While my experience and opinion of this work might be lambasted by more literary intelligent reviewers, I would like to caution those casual readers like myself who think they might be ready to tackle this book. Read other modernist authors like Conrad, Kafka, Woolf, Lawrence, and Faulkner whose works before and after the publication of Ulysses share the same literary movement but are not it’s definitive work.
  • (5/5)
    A brilliant book to read and reread, but not a book to love with the heart, more with the brains. Great variety in styles, themes, some experiments are a succes, others not. This is not about Dublin on 1 day, by 1 person, no, on the contrary, the multiple points of view are essential! It's kind of cubustic view on reality. A few of the topics Joyce touches: what is truth, what is reality? How can you know reality? And how, as a human, can you cope with this reality?
  • (5/5)
    Utterly perfect.
  • (1/5)
    Impenetrable
  • (5/5)
    I was able to knock this out in about 5 weeks, on my first try. I used an old copy of A Reader's Guide to James Joyce by Wm Tyndall for reference, along w Sparknotes. If I could only have one book on a deserted island, this would prob be it.Still quite confused by the whole book. Each chapter having a different writing style is a bit unsettling. It is imperative to read it until the end, because the last two chapters really give you perspective. I read most of it on a Kindle, and kept pace in a Gabler edition.My favorite character was Bloom. What a whack job, what a silly man. Stephen didn't do much for me. Have to process the story a bit more, because it was intense. JJ makes up some crazy/funny words.
  • (1/5)
    I know this is supposed to be one of the greatest books of all time, but goodness did I struggle to get through it! Even when I was done I must admit I barely had a clue what had happened.
  • (5/5)
    A brilliant book to read and reread, but not a book to love with the heart, more with the brains. Great variety in styles, themes, some experiments are a succes, others not. This is not about Dublin on 1 day, by 1 person, no, on the contrary, the multiple points of view are essential! It's kind of cubustic view on reality. A few of the topics Joyce touches: what is truth, what is reality? How can you know reality? And how, as a human, can you cope with this reality?
  • (1/5)
    Cacotechnous humbuggery.
  • (5/5)
    WOW!Nuff said.
  • (5/5)
    Thoughts made narrative; Odyssey-reflecting themes, coupled with a different narrative style for every episode and a boatload of rhetorical devices (did Joyce leave out any?); reversions to historical literary styles; obscure references to Catholic and Irish and Jewish tradition, Irish politics and history, and a wide scattering of other things ... 700 pages of this, and still we cover no more than eighteen hours of a rather ordinary day in Dublin: June 16th, 1904. An absolutely brilliant novel, but I needed help to understand it. I relied on the Wikipedia outline and Sparknotes chapter summaries, two among many references available. Much of this novel is written in the language of the daydreamer, not restricted to interior thoughts that move a plot forward but open to capturing every thought that might pass through the consciousness of these characters as they go about their day. The sheer volume and range of this delivery turns a nothing-special morning and afternoon into an epic. Joyce is lambasted for writing over most people's heads, but he isn't doing it in a bullying or non-inclusive way - else why are there enough body function references to entertain a toddler? Some of his characters' thoughts, particularly Stephen's, can be learned in the extreme but are interspersed with the most casual, mundane passing fancies. Everything and nothing is important. All people are capable of every kind of thought up and down the scale of decorum, and all of us are riding that scale on a daily basis. These are the most realistic characters ever put to paper, and I'm ready to believe nobody will ever do it better.What I don't believe is that Ulysses is worthwhile reading for anyone who doesn't come to it of their own volition. Forget the critics, the professors who are paid to help you appreciate it. It's only good reading if you think it is. Approach Joyce via Dubliners and Portrait first to see if you can enjoy him at all, and catch up on Homer's epics. If those are a hassle or boring (and whether you understand them is beside the point), don't trouble yourself any further because all you're going to miss here is an exercise in frustration with his madness (exactly why I'm not going to read the Wake). But if you liked all of that and what Joyce can do, his prior work pales next to the technical feats he pulled off with Ulysses.
  • (5/5)
    "Ulysses" by James Joyce (1934) is a novel about the interaction of social responsibility and personal desires. It focuses primarily on three characters: Stephen Dedalus a self-absorbed scholar attempting to find his artistic voice, Leopold Bloom who tries to meet his social responsibilities in a culture that is not completely accepting of him, and Molly Bloom (Poldy's wife) who struggles with her feminine destiny. The novel parallels the structure of Homer's "Odyssey" that chronicles the 10 year struggle of Odysseus to return from war in Troy to his home in Ithaca. Ulysses, the Latin translation of the Greek name Odysseus, is Leopold (Poldy) Bloom who travels the streets of Dublin one Thursday on June 16, 1904. His goal is to accomplish his daily task of meeting his family's economic needs, forming social alliances with Dubliners (including Stephen), and satisfying his own drives for understanding and fulfillment. Odysseus sought to reunite with his wife and assess her fidelity in his absence, and Bloom looks forward to the end of the day when he returns to his home at 7 Eccles Street, concerned about his wife's unfaithfulness. "Ulysses" is remarkable in its descriptive detail of the physical and psychological environments of Dublin and its characters. The feelings related to immersion in the living Irish city are so strong that there may be some irrational fear of being unable to return to current life. The entrance into the reality of the lives of Stephen, Molly, and Poldy is uncanny as readers become physically and psychically connected to characters. It is a matter of proximity. You lose your own personality as you accompany these people when they converse, walk the streets, visit stores, drink and philosophize, reveal themselves in stream of consciousness monologues, argue, pursue bacchanalian extremes, and have private battles with loss and melancholy. The reader `sees' everything that day, the external locations and the inner worlds of the characters, with the "ineluctable modality of the visible." This is the direct and complete experience of Joyce's art without the restriction of our own frame of reference, history, obligations, and wants. It is intimidating to realize that your own life is changing, that part of your personal history now contains a new day of your own existence - you have extended your life for a day. Many people throughout the world celebrate a second birthday on June 16 (Bloomsday). After publication of "Ulysses," I believe that James Joyce (like a few other artists) spent the rest of his life amazed at his creation. As he lay dying in hospital waiting for his wife to return to his bedside, he had to wonder where his inspiration originated, where he summoned the ability to give the gift of another day of life to us all. The reader can benefit most from "Ulysses" by preparing to read it. Read (re-read) Homers "Odyssey." Pay close attention to the structure, the symbolic content, and the psychology of Odysseus. Odysseus was a flawed hero, externally brave but also self-serving and blind to parts of his own personality (like Bloom). Use "Ulysses Annotated" by Don Gifford to help guide you through the detail of theology, philosophy, psychology, history, rhetoric, and the physical layout of Dublin. This reference work is very good because it allows readers to have their own experiences by providing only supplementary content (facts) that help to understand the myriad allusions presented in the text. I suggest that you enjoy the many beautiful styles of prose presented in the 18 episodes pausing to quickly glance at the definitions in your opened copy of "Ulysses Annotated." Then before reading the next episode, go back and read the complete explanatory entries in this reference book. Give yourself a couple of months to enjoy the novel and add this new day to your life.
  • (1/5)
    I loathe Ulysses the way that most sensible folks loathe the very existence of Bernie Madoff. It's an all encompassing and consuming loathing leaving no room for mercy. In fact, if I were The Blob or a Killer Tomato on the attack, I'd consume every volume of Ulysses extant (and Bernie Madoff) with my acidic, dissolving loathing. I wish the book were still banned and my access to it summarily and arbitrarily denied by Big Brother, so that I wouldn't have wasted my precious, irreplaceable time and energy reading it, is how deep my Ulysses loathing goes. Yes, it's true, reading Ulysses (even just half of this poo poo) feels like being disemboweled (or at least like having bad, painful gas; and that's bad, painful gas when you're stuck inside somewhere with other people and it would be too impolite - even as painful as it is holding it in - to let it rip. Oh yeah?! You think that's tacky and tasteless? Well if the "genius," Joyce, can make fart jokes in Ulysses left and right, why can't anybody else do the same in describing his flatulent, nauseating tome?Worse, reading Ulysses leaves one feeling like they've been had, scammed, rused, abused, conned, pawned, cheated, excreted, duped, nuked, swindled, swizzled, diddled, belittled, hustled, hoaxed, stiffed, tricked, taken to the cleaners or taken for a ride, ripped off royally of everything you've worked hard for your whole life and hold dear. How you like that list, Joyce, you MOTHERF%$#!R?Less painful indeed, having your wisdom teeth extracted with pliers by an orang-utang...and without novocaine, than trying to read Ulysses first page to last.I hated it.
  • (1/5)
    Never again
  • (5/5)
    "Ulysses" by James Joyce (1934) is a novel about the interaction of social responsibility and personal desires. It focuses primarily on three characters: Stephen Dedalus a self-absorbed scholar attempting to find his artistic voice, Leopold Bloom who tries to meet his social responsibilities in a culture that is not completely accepting of him, and Molly Bloom (Poldy's wife) who struggles with her feminine destiny. The novel parallels the structure of Homer's "Odyssey" that chronicles the 10 year struggle of Odysseus to return from war in Troy to his home in Ithaca. Ulysses, the Latin translation of the Greek name Odysseus, is Leopold (Poldy) Bloom who travels the streets of Dublin one Thursday on June 16, 1904. His goal is to accomplish his daily task of meeting his family's economic needs, forming social alliances with Dubliners (including Stephen), and satisfying his own drives for understanding and fulfillment. Odysseus sought to reunite with his wife and assess her fidelity in his absence, and Bloom looks forward to the end of the day when he returns to his home at 7 Eccles Street, concerned about his wife's unfaithfulness. "Ulysses" is remarkable in its descriptive detail of the physical and psychological environments of Dublin and its characters. The feelings related to immersion in the living Irish city are so strong that there may be some irrational fear of being unable to return to current life. The entrance into the reality of the lives of Stephen, Molly, and Poldy is uncanny as readers become physically and psychically connected to characters. It is a matter of proximity. You lose your own personality as you accompany these people when they converse, walk the streets, visit stores, drink and philosophize, reveal themselves in stream of consciousness monologues, argue, pursue bacchanalian extremes, and have private battles with loss and melancholy. The reader `sees' everything that day, the external locations and the inner worlds of the characters, with the "ineluctable modality of the visible." This is the direct and complete experience of Joyce's art without the restriction of our own frame of reference, history, obligations, and wants. It is intimidating to realize that your own life is changing, that part of your personal history now contains a new day of your own existence - you have extended your life for a day. Many people throughout the world celebrate a second birthday on June 16 (Bloomsday). After publication of "Ulysses," I believe that James Joyce (like a few other artists) spent the rest of his life amazed at his creation. As he lay dying in hospital waiting for his wife to return to his bedside, he had to wonder where his inspiration originated, where he summoned the ability to give the gift of another day of life to us all. The reader can benefit most from "Ulysses" by preparing to read it. Read (re-read) Homers "Odyssey." Pay close attention to the structure, the symbolic content, and the psychology of Odysseus. Odysseus was a flawed hero, externally brave but also self-serving and blind to parts of his own personality (like Bloom). Use "Ulysses Annotated" by Don Gifford to help guide you through the detail of theology, philosophy, psychology, history, rhetoric, and the physical layout of Dublin. This reference work is very good because it allows readers to have their own experiences by providing only supplementary content (facts) that help to understand the myriad allusions presented in the text. I suggest that you enjoy the many beautiful styles of prose presented in the 18 episodes pausing to quickly glance at the definitions in your opened copy of "Ulysses Annotated." Then before reading the next episode, go back and read the complete explanatory entries in this reference book. Give yourself a couple of months to enjoy the novel and add this new day to your life.
  • (4/5)
    I don't feel qualified to review such a huge, erudite and often impenetrable work, or give it a meaningful rating. I found some parts of it interesting and enjoyable, plenty of it educational. Some sections are dense and require either a huge amount of background knowledge or spending more time looking words up than reading, and Joyce's vocabulary includes a lot of composite words and new coinages - there are also fragments of Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Hebrew and Gaelic.
  • (5/5)
    Humbling. Exhausting. Sometimes exhilarating. Often beautiful. This is a novel that puts you in your place. It tries your patience and requires you accept that you'll go large stretches without understanding what's happening. Eyes will glaze over. Attention will wander. But it will reward the reader. There will be points at which the reader will marvel at how deftly Joyce twists and turns the English language. The humanity that busts out of this thing is impressive. The second to last 'chapter' alone is an incredibly powerful piece of writing. Perhaps a bit too erudite for its own good, Ulysses still manages to captivate as often as it obfuscates.
  • (4/5)
    Read this to work my way through 100 Greatest Novels List. Most interesting walk through the streets of Dublin.
  • (2/5)
    This is hell on Earth. I can't even rate it because I had zero desire to read it, which made it a downright torturous experience. I read it for a class with my trusty Ulysses reader in tow, and would not have survived otherwise. Who are you lunatics who enjoyed this?
  • (4/5)
    The book is the story of Leopold Bloom, a middle aged married man, father of one adult daughter who spends one day wandering around Dublin. We also meet Stephen Dedalus a young university graduate, want to be author and current educator of young men. Much of the story is told by internal dialogue (stream of consciousness) as the characters travel the streets of Dublin. It is really a story of paternity. Leopold thinks about his dead son. Stephen thinks about his conflicted relationship with his father and Leopold takes on a surrogate father relationship with Stephan. Other stories include infidelity of Bloom's wife Molly. If the story was only that simple. Joyce uses the book Odysseus to form the segments of the book and each segment is a whole new and sometimes not very enjoyable experience. I won't bother to describe because you can read Jen's review (excellent) or go through the questions and get an idea of each section but I agree that this book is best enjoyed if taken on as a project and not a reading experience. It takes work but it can be rewarding. I like the aspect of working at something. Reminds me of researching and studying which I enjoyed. I am glad I read the book. It would have been very controversial at the time with its sexual content (mostly just words) but it does not feel gratuitous like so many books. I give it 4 stars because I did enjoy it and I appreciated the genius of the author but I also felt that Joyce was also flaunting his intelligence towards the readers. The person who deserves 5 stars is the narrator of this audible work. Jim Norton did a splendid job of reading this book. It took work because you can't just read this book and know when to sing, when to give certain styles to the words. What a marvelous job. Marcella Riordan does the voice of Molly. A steady stream of consciousness without much pause or change. Marcella's part does nothing to endear you to Molly.
  • (1/5)
    Well, I tried but I have to declare that I am abandoning my attempt to read Ulysses. I gave it a good go, 200 pages (well over my usual 100 page limit), but I've come to realise that I JUST DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS. Reading it has become a chore, and reading should NEVER be a chore. Maybe the mistake I've made has been to read the thing while sober,because it dawned on me that the whole thing is like the ramblings of a drunk in a bar. (Given the legends surrounding Joyce and his penchant for booze it's not a huge leap to suggest that that is exactly what this book is.) Anyway, while on the one hand I feel a certain degree of failure at not being able to see this thing through, there is also the relief in knowing that I don't have to read it ANYMORE.
  • (3/5)
    A seminal work, yes. Gems in the text, yes. Poetry in motion, yes. Enjoyable read, no. I got lots of great advice when tackling this book: friends let me borrow their annotations; some suggested to simultaneously read and listen to audio; while others recommended to just "let go" and "submit" to the text. I tried to do all three, and am halfway through, and am lost as hell. I want to read challenging pieces, but this is outside my literary knowledge--or caring. I was an art major, not a lit major, and feel that if you don't have in-depth lit knowledge re iambic pentameters or verse and an understanding Old English, this book may be un-doable. However, trying is never a waste, I did get a sense of the Joycean style of writing, which is pretty damn spectacular. There is a free association among those passages, often relating to the most mundane activities, that makes it feel that you were participating. And yet, grounded in those inane activities is the passage of life, death, love, class, Shakespeare, Vedic texts, Celtic history, and of course, the Odyssey itself. Perhaps I will return to this text in the summer when I take my week long beach vacation, and pray have no distractions. Somewhere in there is the finish line, but I may not cross it.