I'd always wanted to read Ulysses but had been scared away by Joyce's writing technique. As an audio book, on the other hand, it was an absolute delight. This is writing that is meant to be read aloud. The stream of consciousness prose was like music. Pick it up, listen for a while, put it down, listen again - it was always a joy. The narration was tremendous and the incidental music set the time and place perfectly. The is one of the most aesthetically satisfying books I've ever listened to. An amazingly easy book to listen to, well worth the invested time. Truly a thing of beauty and a joy forever. (I liked it too.)
This should not be your first read of Ulysses. You need to see what it looks like on paper, first. There is no way anyone would be able to appreciate either the book or the audio recording of it by doing otherwise. The reading is not too fast. It is beautifully authentic. Do you want someone drolling on, waiting for you to chew the last syllable, or would you like a wonderfully fluid reading? Jim Norton is mind-blowing at times. He is genius. There are parts I'll listen to over and over and over. I'm serious. I will replay them and replay them. It's beautiful. I can never begin to comprehend how this was put together. Norton's reading has helped me to understand much of what I missed while reading it myself.
Of course it doesn't cater to American readers. The book is a superbly elaborate account of early 20th century Dublin, written by a genius of a man. This reading brings out the native subtleties. This reading makes the greatest literary work of all time live!
I agree completely with the other review of the audio version in that the reading seemed a bit rushed, especially the later potions. That said, it was a still a treat to get caught up in the language.
Nothing, Jim Norton did a fine job.
I doubt it. Only if forced to and you had a noose nearby so I could choose to end it soon one way or another.
I have been trying to listen to as many classic books as I can and usually find myself enjoying them very much. I bought this book on recommendation from Audible that it is to become a classic. It may be the last time I ever take in consideration one of their recommendations.
If you like Robin Williams stand up comedian acts this book is for you. I, however, have never been a fan of Robin Williams stand up acts. Movies are a different story. Anyway, that’s what this book reminds me of; a lot of verbiage going nowhere. I can’t count how many times James Joyce list things and they really don’t add anything to the book but it’s done several times. I’ve listened up to Chapter 18 but am contemplating climbing an electric pole and licking the wires if I have to listen to any more. It seems to me to be a story about a man who either has had sexual relations with women or is dreaming about it. I’m not really sure where it’s going with this but it’s a constant repetitive feature of the book. However, occasionally they throw something in about Jews. Still I’m not sure where it’s going. List, Jews and sexual relations on a constant banner that just haven’t added up to anything in this book and by chapter 18 out of 25 you would think there would be some indication or clue that you might want to hold onto to keep going with this book but for me there is nothing.
Scientist, artisan, anachronism
this is #1.
Ulysses is the single best book on audible.
One of the most incredible books of all time. Stream of consciousness… pure thought coming out in words. Simple and complex at once. A masterpiece. The masterpiece.
I thought nothing could make it better. I was wrong.
This reading brought the novel to life in no way I could have imagined. Any other reading pales in comparison. And it’s not just Jim Norton that gives a stellar performance. No no… Marcella Riordan … is amazing. absolutely amazing. She gives the end monologue so much sensuality that i get chills when I hear it.
I truly believe there is no better audiobook on audible.
i hope you get the pleasure
Perhaps an absolute literacy or James Joyce fan? Someone lying in bed with lots of spare time and long uninterrupted attention spans?
Something a bit lighter, with a better flow or something didactic within my fields of interest.I've just downloaded "Getting to Yes" and "For whom the bells toll".
Too fast paced and monotonous.
Disappointment and exhaustion.
Unless you know what you're getting into with this book, exhaust the rest of your list first!
Avid reader (and listener) of great (and other) books
It is so difficult to follow. I know James Joyce wrote as he spoke, but this is too much. There are several passages, where all you hear is mumble, so it is impossible to follow the storyline. I have read it and enjoyed it much. This is not a nice spoken word work.
You can actually learn a tremendous amount about Irish History, Church history, western culture and classical education by reading Ulysses. A monumental work that has been brought back to the epic oral tradition by Jim Norton.
Now in my opinion, this book would be completely inaccessible without Jim Norton. With Jim Norton, the book is accessible, but only with a lot of interest and curiosity. I enjoy it for the "inversion" Joyce pulls on the Odyssey. Ithaca is Ireland and Odysseus is a Jewish man that nobody seems to consider their equal.
Ulysses is best appreciated after having read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (to understand Joyce's Stephen Character, and his issues with Ireland) and Homer's Odyssey (the mythic underpinning of the book). Also needed is Gifford's "Annotated Ulysses" which explains the Irish/Church history references as well as the puns and all of the references to 19th century poetry that Joyce laces throughout.
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
Ok . . . . Now I can say I read "Ulysses." Do I understand it? Ohhhhh myyyyy NOOOOOO. This is a book that a college course could be based on for a whole year. In fact, there must be courses on this book somewhere in the world, maybe in many places. It is the most convoluted, unintelligible book I have ever read. Why would anyone want to read it? And yet, there is something fascinating about it that kept me going, although by the end I was ready to be done with it.
I read the Kindle edition of this book, along with listening to the audio recording. I could never have done one without the other. Oh, and I also read the Sparknotes, episode by episode, before during and after each one. Sometimes, in fact, when reading the synopsis and analysis of each episode, I would say to myself, "Oh is THAT what was happening?"
This novel is on every "must read" list I've ever read, usually at the #1 position. It is often touted as the greatest novel of the 20th century, so naturally I thought I should read it. But I had heard that it is vulgar, so that made me hesitate (for about 30 years). Finally I figured I could take it. I have read some trashy stuff, and I don't really enjoy it at all. This book, in spite of the fact that it was classified as pornography and not allowed to be sold in the U.S. for a long long time, does not even rank up there with some of the trash that is published today and passed off as great literature. You know, the ones where the "f" word occurs something like 50 times per page. (Ugh I hate those!!!! This book contained almost no swear words.) Or the explicit sexual scenes (see Diana Gabaldon, whose writing I love, and while I would not categorize her writing as vulgar, I could do with a little less explicit intimacy). It does have some fairly clear allusions to sexual matters, but I could not say it is vulgar. The only part I could say might be vulgar is the last episode where Molly is in bed and can't sleep, and we get these gi-normous run-on sentences which are her thoughts just running and running around in her head, her stream of consciousness, and she thinks about every lover she has ever had, and other sexual things. And maybe one or two other places that are kinda nasty.
The story line. What story line? What plot? It is a ramble with no particular direction. And yet, Joyce ties everything up at the end and you "get it." It was written as a parallel story to "The Odyssey", and thanks to Sparknotes, I was able to follow that idea. Luckily, I had just read "The Odyssey" a few weeks ago, so I knew what the notes were talking about. I would recommend anyone wishing to read this book to read "The Odyssey" first. Or listen to it read by Derek Jacobi.
The writing style. You name it, he uses it. Every episode, of which there are 18, uses a different style of writing. One episode uses maybe 10 different styles alone. It is hard work to figure it all out, especially the parts that use incomplete sentences. So very many of these sentences ended with the word "the". Figure that one out. Joyce also likes to make lists. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes just odd. Bloom's last list went like this: "Sinbad the Sailor and Tinbad the Tailor and Jinbad the Jailer and Whinbad the Whaler and Ninbad the Nailer and Finbad the Failer and Binbad the Bailer and Pinbad the Pailer and Minbad the Mailer and Hinbad the Hailer and Rinbad the Railer and Dinbad the Kailer and Vinbad the Quailer and Linbad the Yailer and Xinbad the Phthailer." I think he was very tired. It had been a long day.
The characters. I have to admit I never got to the point that I cared a great deal about any of the characters. They just weren't loveable. In many ways they weren't even interesting. I thought the most interesting person was Bloom, of course, and although I did finally have some tender feelings for Steven, I just couldn't care that much about him. Molly, eh, not so much either. She was one-dimensional to me. All the women characters were, and the only reason they were mentioned was in terms of some sort of sexual activity. Well, other than Steven's mother, who was already dead at the beginning of the story.
Well enough of that. I just have to say this. The narrator, Jim Norris, deserves 10 stars at least. He is 110% complete and total awesomeness. He is a big reason I was able to persevere with this difficult-to-read book. Now, anyone who would consent to reading this book aloud and who would at least try to make sense of it deserves a medal of honor, but Jim was simply amazing. Marcella Riordan, who read "Molly" was also good, well above average. But it was Jim to whom the huge part of the really tough narration fell, and he handled it like a true champion. I'll be looking for other books read by Jim Norris.
Last word: Was it worth reading? I think I can say at this point that it was worth reading. It is going to take a lot longer to fit it all together and make sense of it than just the few days since I finished it. I will be thinking about it for a long time. A year from now I will probably be able to do a great review of the book.
I do understand what all the hype is about, but there is something in me that keeps saying that the greatest book of the 20th century or any century should be a little more accessible to its readers. It is just too hard to make sense of, at least it was for me, and I am a college graduate, in fact I hold a masters' degree. So . . . read it if you want, but I am not sure it will change your life. That is the biggest reason I am giving it three stars.
I bought this book largely based on the customer reviews that so ardently raved on and on about it. I had to have it. Now I realize that there must be a conspiracy of lunatics out there trying to make art out of garbage. I just don't get it.
In desperation, I finally went to Wikipedia to find out what the hell this book is about (after struggling through seven chapters). I could not believe what I heard. Basically it is the "stream of consciousness" running through a man's mind in the space of one day. Just rambling on and on, on and on. Wiki gives a great synopsis of the chapters, and I was totally surprised to find that there was a thread of thought to any of what I had experienced.
People have called it it best book of the 20th century? If I have to have a translation to understand the English language, it's definitely not for me. According to Wiki, Joyce said he would gain immortality just because literary professors would forever be arguing about what he meant in the book.
NOT entertaining! There is a Gutenberg Project of this book online and I skimmed over it to see if I could better understand it. It's a little better to READ it than to listen to it, but still--I don't find myself wanting to STUDY a book of 330,300 or so words to find out what the author is trying to say or the parallels to Homer's work. Leave this one to the pedantics. I had to put it down.