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Dubliners

Dubliners

Written by James Joyce

Narrated by Jim Norton


Dubliners

Written by James Joyce

Narrated by Jim Norton

ratings:
4/5 (83 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Released:
May 1, 2004
ISBN:
9789629545949
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Dubliners is a collection of short stories about the lives of the people of Dublin around the turn of the century. Each story describes a small but significant moment of crisis or revelation in the life of a particular Dubliner, sympathetically but always with stark honesty. Many of the characters are desperate to escape the confines of their humdrum lives, though those that have the opportunity to do so seem unable to take it. These stories introduce us to the city, which fed Joyce’s entire creative output, and to many of the characters who made it such a well of literary inspiration. Rich in humour and musical allusion, they contain some of Joyce’s most powerful and moving prose.
Released:
May 1, 2004
ISBN:
9789629545949
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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4.1
83 ratings / 82 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    I'm currently re-reading this book (the Norton edition) for perhaps the 8th time (or maybe more), in preparation for teaching it this fall semester. The wonderful thing about these short, pithy stories is that you CAN re-read them many times and get something more from them with every re-reading.

    At first glance, they're pretty depressing, realistic portraits of life in turn-of-the-century Dublin. But a closer reading reveals rich underpinnings of symbol, allusion, even allegorical contexts. And the reader who persists, getting through all the stories to the last one, "The Dead," will be rewarded with a final vision of Irish hospitality and celebration, closing with a sense of equanimity (though not everyone reads the final passage this hopefully).

    Joyce never fails to disappoint.
  • (5/5)
    Reading this collection was the first step of my master plan to tackle Mount Ulysses. Dubliners is said to be Joyce's most accessible work in addition to his earliest, so it seemed like the logical place to start. The reading is easy, but I was no further than the end of the first story, "The Sisters", when I turned to Sparknotes.com to ensure I wasn't missing something. Joyce purposely outlines and hints but doesn't fill in the whole puzzle; nothing much seems to happen, and in a sense that's the point. There's only what's on the surface, the theme rather than the events: how death makes us feel paralyzed by its strangeness, its simultaneous presence and lack thereof. In the subsequent stories he portrays other things besides death that unbalance us, leaving us faltering and disconnected: loss of innocence, exposure to illness or madness, first love, rebellion, intoxication, dull routine. Through these episodes we may gain insight that promises to guide us towards living our lives more fully, but insight alone is not enough. Positive change requires action but these characters are doomed to paralysis: they sentence themselves to understanding the truth of their chosen lot while doing nothing about it. Some stories hit painfully close to home, triggering my own regrets about opportunities I've passed on or the risks I didn't take.This collection has more unity than just its theme: there is also the locale of the title with which the theme is closely associated. These tales are meant to describe the plight of Dubliners and the Irish in general as a downtrodden lot. Some of the stories such as "Two Gallants" speak to this more directly than others through symbolism and mood. I still find them universally applicable. There's also a subtle aging in how the stories are ordered, the first being that of a child, up to the last about man who has been married for several years. Every age must contend with the same choice placed before them, to live or merely to exist. It isn't impossible to make the right choice, only improbable because our greatest obstacle is ourselves.
  • (4/5)
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading these short stories - the first I have read of Joyce. I've the centennial edition and the pages are cut in a serrated style which. is. AMAZING.What I didn't like, however, was the "Index" at the back of the book explaining Irish colloquialisms, which I obviously didn't mind, but it also felt the need to refer to every street name and bible/religious tones - something I tired of checking halfway through the book. Man, did that drag.
  • (4/5)
    Like so many others, I read this collection in hopes of gathering momentum to attack Ulysses. I do think I acquired a better sense of his style, which is full portraiture of ordinary events. Little happens that qualifies as dramatic, yet the reader is still pulled along through the narratives. It is difficult to imagine why Joyce had such challenges getting this book published. But I suppose any group can blush at such an unromantic and truthful account of its members. Onward, I suppose, to Portrait.
  • (5/5)
    James Joyce's collection of short stories were written one hundred years ago, but when you read them they seem relevant and important today. These stories collectively offer a revealing glimpse into life in Ireland at the dawn of the First World War. James Joyce has an uncanny talent in portraying lives lived and loves won and lost. It's almost as if you are secretly watching these people from a window. You get a first hand view as these characters live their lives and interact with their friends and family. The stories are about different people, but the place is always Dublin. Joyce has portrayed Dubliners as they really were at this point in time. The descriptions are beautifully written, the characters are real and life-like, and the beautiful language connects it all. I had read "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" awhile ago, and was impressed then with Joyce's writing skills. But that was a novel and even though it was beautifully written, I was aware that he had the whole length of the novel to flesh out his characters. In these short stories the story and the characters are perfectly fleshed out in the space of the few pages for each of the fifteen stories. I couldn't really pick a favourite among them as each was an incredible masterpiece in its own right. A remarkable achievement and one that very few authors can achieve. In his time Joyce was known as a revolutionary author. His form, structure, language and creativity continue to influence writers today. I couldn't help but wonder how much top-rated authors like Alice Munro were influenced by Mr. Joyce's work. I definitely need to read a few more of this author's books. "Finnegan's Wake" and "Ulysses" are calling me.
  • (4/5)
    Joyce was a fantastic writer. That is until he perpetrated the greatest fraud in the history of literature by producing "Ulysses" and resting on his laurels. He followed with an even more outrageous work "Finnegan's Wake" which I believe tweaked the noses of the literati, making it so incomprehensible that it "must be good". Bull. His "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and "Dubliners" proved his gift. "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake" show his sense of outrageous humor concerning his worshipers.
  • (5/5)
    A slim volume of fifteen short stories make up James Joyce's first prose book published in 1914. They are easy to read apart from a few obscure Irish phrases and it soon becomes apparent that Joyce is writing with a realism and insight that must have seemed quite modern when they first appeared. They are slices of middle class life told in a simple fashion with no sudden plot twists or trickery and may at first seem rather inconsequential, however they are certainly not that and build up to "The Dead" one of the best short stories I have ever read. The book has an accumulative power with that final story bringing together many of the strands and themes that appear earlier in the shorter tales. All the stories are beautifully crafted with characters that are sketched in with such a preciseness that the reader feels at home with them straight away. The reader is never surprised with the actions (or in many cases inactions) that they take; they are a product of their times and those times are superbly caught by the author. Catholic Ireland in the first decade of the twentieth century was smarting under English rule and while a Nationalist uprising was just around the corner the middle class characters that inhabit Joyce stories seem as wary of the Nationalist as they are of English rule and while the political situation does not dominate their lives it is in the background to many of the stories, however Joyce is interested in the way people behave within their own community and his insights into the human condition are just as relevant today. Missed opportunities or a failure to follow a dream is a theme that predominates, but in many of the stories it would seem to me that the characters are better off not chasing that dream. The events in their lives lead many of them to an epiphany of some sort, it could be a crossroads, but the tragedy is that some of them only realise this after the opportunity has passed them by. There are no risks taken, characters are content to live the lives that they are born into, conventions are followed and you have to say that many of the choices made are inevitable and may even be the right choices. In "An Encounter" an adventurous young lad is curious about a strange man, who the reader can see could be a paedophile. In "Eveline" a young domestic is given the chance to run away to Argentina with a man who she may love. In "Araby" a teenager is desperate to get to a local Bazaar to buy a present for a girl on whom he has a crush. In "A Painful Case" James Duffy a confirmed bachelor meets a married woman whose company he yearns for and whom he finds intellectually stimulating. Many of the stories touch on situations that many of us will have come across; if not in our own lives then in the lives of friends or acquaintances and we cannot help but be drawn into the consequences for the characters in Joyce's stories.Once the reader is used to the idea that the stories seem to follow a natural course he can let the prose do it's work; which is to capture the milieu of middle class life, to enter into the thoughts and feelings in such a way that there in no feeling of intrusion. Joyce is a master of non manipulation; their is no preaching, no moral stance, people behave as they will with few surprises; it is left to the reader to appreciate what he has just read and to follow his own reaction to the events that take place. There are few writers that can tap into my thoughts and feelings the way that Joyce can in [Dubliners] and [A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]. The first story "Sisters" starts with the death of an old priest about whom there may be something untoward and the effect on a young lad who has grown close to him. The last story "The Dead" continues the grand theme of the march towards death by invoking the dead in the actions and thoughts of a party of friends gathering for a Christmas celebration. This masterful story brings many of the other stories into focus with a symbol of a snowfall that appears to deaden the lives of Joyce's characters; some marvellous prose completes the story:Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling" After all the realism of the earlier stories Joyce's final lurch into the metaphysical world has the power of contrast that juxtaposes all that has gone before. A five star read.
  • (4/5)
    The rating is for 'The Dead', the only story I have so far read, which was an incredible piece of writing. If only Joyce had carried on this vein, and not vanished up his own fundament, the show-off.
  • (3/5)
    The stories are very well written, however just not long enough to get connected to the characters which is a shame.
  • (4/5)
    James Joyce is always called a "modernist" a this, a that, but on re-reading this volume for make this entry, I realized that I had never thought of him as "proto-existentialist"
  • (4/5)
    Such wonderful writing! The book gets better the further you go, because the stories create a vivid picture of a city and time. Although these are short stories, in one sense this is a novel. Makes me think of "Winesburg, Ohio" (which I just realized I need to add to my list of books read).
  • (3/5)
    "When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of the sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street."James Joyce gives us 15 short stories about his old home of Dublin, from childhood to adolescence to mature life and public life. I can see and respect the skill in Joyce's writing. And the introduction provides a little further insight that sheds a slightly clearer light on the stories than I got from my unhappy reading. There are some slight feminist angles and he does well at portraying a certain kind of common life experienced there. And the last story—the "long" one at a whopping 40 pages—was certainly a positive demonstration of what Joyce was capable of producing. However. I did not enjoy this book. Most of the stories were dreadfully short, between a mere 5-10 pages; this is not enough time to flesh out a proper story, as far as I am concerned. Not enough can happen, or if something happens, there is not enough background to it to make it worth knowing that the something happened. It is quite difficult to feel much for a character you've only just been introduced to. Add to that, the stories are terribly bleak and melancholy. This is a common "feature" of the short story in general, for some reason it seems to lend itself to the style, but it is not something I appreciate in a bundle. Why must they all be that way? Surely not everyone in Ireland was living with/were rotten abusive drunken men!Now admittedly, I do not, as a rule, care for short stories. I mostly only read them from favored authors, or collections of genres or region or whathaveyou. But on occasion, some other author's short stories make their way into my hands, for some reason or other. I generally do not wind up enamored with them on such occasions, but one never knows. So, it should come as no surprise that I was not thrilled with this volume. Even so, I disliked reading this little book far more than any other collection I have read. "His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."If you enjoy short stories, this is probably a good read for you. If you're not especially fond of them, run away!
  • (3/5)
    Really liked The Dead. Some of the others had their moments, but I didn't like that most of them were more like vignettes than actual short stories.
  • (4/5)
    15 short stories which paint a picture of life in “dear, dirty Dublin” in the first decade of the 20th century. It’s a little uneven, with some of the stories too short or less interesting, yet is certainly worth reading. My favorites were “A Little Cloud”, in which a man comes to grips with his failed literary dreams and the idea that his baby son was now getting all of the attention from his wife, and the last story, “The Dead”, which has an awkward and insecure man pondering life and death, and just how little he knows about his wife’s past. That gives you a taste for the moments of self-realization, or ‘epiphanies’, the characters in these unflinchingly honest stories feel.
  • (1/5)
    I have a list of major authors whom I’ve never read in a Notepad file: Dickens, Faulkner, Carver, Woolf, etc. This stems from being a young reader in the 21st century, looking back across history at the overwhelming weight of the human canon. My theory is that while there are far too many great books in the world for anybody to read in one lifetime, you should try to read at least one book from all the major authors, to sample their style and see if they take your fancy or not, to discover whether you want to pursue their works further. James Joyce is on that list, and since there is not a chance in hell I’m ever going to read Ulysses, I thought it appropriate to read his short story anthology Dubliners.I’m not going to try to talk my way around it: I hated this book. It was extremely tedious. Rarely did any of the fifteen stories gathered within capture my attention in any way; more often than not, I found myself distracted and daydreaming, and had to keep snapping my focus back to the page. I finished the book yesterday and can properly summarise exactly zero of the stories for you. I can tell you virtually nothing about the plots they contain, let alone the thematic weight they are supposed to carry. This is not to say that they are bad or useless or pointless; merely that whatever literary heft they have was lost on this reader. Dubliners, just so we’re clear, is not written in the same deliberately confusing modernist stream-of-consciousness style that Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake are. It’s a perfectly normal, ordinary style of writing. It’s just very, very boring.I’m not a stupid or crass reader. I have read, enjoyed, appreciated and even loved the works of Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey, to name a few. But I hated Dubliners, and if that makes me a philistine then so be it.
  • (3/5)
    "The Dead" is worth the price of admission here. It is the longest and, by far in my view, the best story in Joyce's famous collection of glimpses of life in turn of 19th century Dublin.
  • (4/5)
    James Joyce is one of those classic authors on my "to-do" list. One of many who I should have read or only read lightly. Others include Joseph Conrad and William Faulkner. There is a rather large lot of them. Even some like Thomas Hardy and Hemingway who I liked a lot in my younger days is under-read by me. So finally some Joyce. Some thoughts:The Dubliners is a collection of 15 stories set in Dublin Ireland. Together they can be seen as a novel. The first story was published in 1904. The last in 1907. Some of these stories were apparently quite controversial at the the time. I read a little background material before tackling this. Doing so made me wonder if I could really appreciate this a century after they were written. I was ready for bleak. Stories I've read set in Ireland such as McCourt's [Angela's Ashes] have more than convinced me of the overwhelming crushing poverty and sadness for endless decades. Bleak is what I got, but not overwhelming; more just like a great melancholy laying over many stories. Some are frankly depressing, almost enought to make one cry. These are small snapshots of moments in ordinary people's lives. I thought most of them were quite good. The writing is beautiful. As for my trepidations of not being able to fully appreciate these in their time, I think it was a little true. I wasn't quite sure what was going on at times and with the dialogue between characters. Other stories were 100% understandable. Someone with a depth of knowledge of the times and Irish history would probably get more from these stories, but I had no major problems other than being unfamiliar with a word here and there and some sensibilities. The stories really grew into something bigger than the pieces and my appreciation got ever larger. Very fine stuff here. I'm glad to have finally tackled Joyce. He is without a doubt a storyteller. Quite a good read.
  • (4/5)
    James Joyce's collection of 15 stories relating to regular Irish citizens felt like a time machine taking me back into the turn of the century Dublin city. The characters and problems in the stories are all relevant and relatable as normal people you might meet on the street in the past. There was a dark gloom over most situations and characters but Joyce left you with just enough hope and anticipation to think maybe, possibly, it just might end up ok for the specific character you were currently with.I purchased this book as I was preparing for my trip to Ireland but found that I didn't have time to conquer until a year later. As I read it I constantly had flashbacks to my trip. It was wonderful. I can appreciate the realism of the characters and the lack of a happy ending. I think if every story ends with a happy ending then what point will there be in reading on and on. I look forward to reading my next Joyce novel!
  • (3/5)
    As they say, the last one was the best. Things useful to know before reading: in Ireland there are two main groups in religion: catholics and protestants and in politics: Nationalists and Unionists. Nationalists are separatists and want the 'Home Rule'
  • (5/5)
    A collection of stories about people in Dublin. All are more or less losers, but they cannot help it themselves. Beautifully written, especially The Dead.
  • (5/5)
    A collection of short stories by Ireland's greatest writer. An impressive analysis of the social spectrum. And so much shorter than Ulysses (which I still must read, absolutely...)
  • (4/5)
    This isn't a cheery selection of stories, it's not displaying the famous Irish craig in any way. instead it has tales of death, disgrace, drunkenness, violence, danger, sacrifice of happiness and hope to duty and responsibility and other fun stuff like that. I sense that Joyce despaired of the inhabitants of the city, and was, possibly, trying to chock them into seeing themselves as he saw them, trapped in repetitive downwards spirals.That's not to say that the stories themselves aren't worth reading but don't expect to be uplifted by the story, although the way he can capture a mood in a few short pages is something to behold.
  • (2/5)
    Despite not being a fan of short stories this is the third such set I have read on the bounce folllowing on from Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Hemingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro. I had hoped that this book would act as an easy introduction to Joyce and his works before tackling one of his novels. I was wrong.Now while I can sit back and admire the overall writing style the book just did not really grab me. Perhaps I am just unable to grasp the subtler symbolism of its message but with each story I felt that it had been just cut off in the middle just as I was finally getting into it.There is a common thread within the book as the main protagonists of each story move from childhood to middle aged to maturity and finally death but the disparate nature of the characters and their backgrounds only added to the confusion I felt.The descriptions of Dublin and its life were very evocative, the characterisation was good and I particularily enjoyed some of the banality of the dialogues although knowing that the book was written while the author was in self-imposedexile seems, to me at least, to bring into question some of its poignancy. That is on the plus side but on the negative was the heavy use of notes, something that I'm loathe to read anyway, throughout the book. Now I realise that this book was written over 100 years ago so some were neccessary. Some meanings I was able to guess without refering to the back while others were totally unnecessary but overall to me they just killed the flow of the story.I am not studying for some examination nor really interested in some in depth study of 19th Century Irish life but am merely reading for pleasure. So perhaps the real truth was that I just had to try to hard to get the message of this book and that is why it didn't really grab me. There is another Joyce book on my To Be Read pile and it may just sit there a good bit longer now.
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this collection because I doubt anyone writes short stories like this anymore. Dubliners is composed of vignettes looking into the lives of ordinary people and does not aspire to show extraordinary moments but rather the small ones that happen everyday. Although many of the stories feature epiphanies rendered from these small moments, others simply depict in realistic fashion an experience that could happen to anyone with no reflection by the character whatsoever. My favorites from the collection are Araby, Eveline, Two Gallants, The Boarding House, A Little Cloud, Clay, A Painful Case, A Mother, Grace, and of course, The Dead. One may notice I have listed there 10 of the 15 stories, and I suppose that is a reflection of how much I loved the book. It did take me over a year to complete, if only because I kept putting off reading The Dead because I wanted a suitable moment to give it its due consideration.
  • (4/5)
    I chose "really liked it" because there were some stories that I really loved. There were others that were interesting but didn't grab my attention as much.

    The stories I loved were: A Little Cloud, The Dead, and A Mother.

  • (4/5)
    While shopping for books recently on Amazon, I was trying to upgrade my reading list through the addition of some “classics” that I’d avoided in the past. In doing so, I discovered a couple of relatively short works by authors that were somewhat intimidating by reputation. Having done a little research, I was pretty sure that authors such as Camus, Sartre, Joyce and Faulkner would probably not be to my liking. Nevertheless, I picked up Camus’ The Plague and Dubliners by James Joyce, emboldened by their brevity. In hindsight, I’m glad I did, though I’m unlikely to delve much deeper.This short (140 relatively dense pages) work is a compilation of short stories centered upon the Irish city of Dublin near the turn of the 20th century. These short stories are VERY short, most in the range of 5-10 pages long. I don’t necessarily dislike short stories, however I like for my short stories to be at least long enough to actually tell a story and this collection fails in that regard. Many of the offerings merely paint a tapestry, albeit in beautiful prose, but fall short of actually engaging the reader. In truth, there are no “stories” as much as vignettes. They were very reminiscent of many of the short Hemingway stories I’d read; beautifully written, but too short to capture my interest.I was quite disappointed after having read the first three or four very short vignettes, but it soon became apparent that the short stories were coalescing into a larger picture and the reader begins to get a more complete picture of the city, its people and their culture. Then, the final story, The Dead, proves a fitting capstone to the collection. Far longer than the other stories, at about 30 pages, it is by far the most powerful and memorable of the stories.Bottom line: This is a very short book containing very short stories, most of which are TOO short for my taste. Taken as a collection, however, they serve the purpose of making the reader familiar with the city, its people and their period in history. The final work makes the entire effort worthwhile. It was a two star effort through the first half, becoming three star as the stories coalesced, vaulted to four star by the final story.
  • (3/5)
    It is surprising how easily our perception can be influenced. When it comes to classic literature, this is doubly so! How long have you had the idea that reading James Joyce is just too hard? Well this year our book club took the challenge and Joyce’s Dubliners has scored the highest yet. We were all in agreement that the writing was superb and that Joyce has that very Irish knack of telling a tale that is entertaining yet sorrowful. As we have said before … no one does it like the Irish!It was commented that the narration serves as an observer to what, in anyone else’s hands, would be ordinary, everyday stories. But Joyce has a way of bringing his characters to life with everything that makes us human. Clever turn of phrase and descriptive language all come together to weave a picture of Dublin at a time that it was truly Irish. Our discussion included an interesting look at Joyce himself and some of the challenges he faced getting published. As a group we also try to do a little background into authors. I helps to round out our discussions and also adds an extra dimension to what we learn from the literature we read.We shared real life experiences in Ireland and had plenty of opinions on the traditions and uniqueness of the Irish people. We also felt we were able to pin point the difficult position the country and its people were caught in at the time of Dubliners publication. Somewhere between the modern and traditional world. Something that only a writer of Joyce’s calibre would be able to deliver.
  • (5/5)
    Reading Joyce is like what reading was like when you were a kid - an almost physical experience. He is so good at creating an atmosphere, you can almost smell the air of turn-of-the century Dublin as you follow his characters through their quietly unsatisfied lives. 'Dubliners', in 15 sketches of hugely different people, gives you a very profound sense of what this city (and in fact the entire country) was like at the time, suspended in limbo; clinging to tradition in a sometimes mechanical way, yet yearning to be part of a bigger world. This is most pronounced in the story 'Eveline', where a girl is torn between duties to her family and the promise of a better, happier life abroad with her sweetheart. All in all, 'Dubliners' was a great read and something I'd recommend to anyone. I really like short stories and episodic novels (Dubliners falls somewhere in between I think, because the 15 stories add up to something bigger) because they allow you to catch your breath in between. I'm still a little anxious to touch 'Ulysses', its hugeness and impenetrability being rather legendary, so 'Dubliners' was my way to dip my toe in the water. I also think Irish history and culture are very interesting, and you get a lot of that (references, so keep wikipedia at hand) as well.
  • (4/5)
    Joyce's simple stories keep one gripped. Wonderful collection and a great introduction to Joyce.
  • (5/5)
    First read Dubliners in the early 90's... re-read it again in 2005 or so along with some critical essays. Probably in my top 50 of all time... will be making that list once I have all my titles uploaded and reviewed. I'm sure you're all waiting with baited breath for that.