Joyce's language is singularly musical, and so Ulysses might be compared to a great symphony. Following that line, the producer of this particular recording is an absolute maestro and his two readers sublimely gifted instrumentalists. What an interpretation! This recording should, along with Glenn Gould's 1955 Goldberg Variations, be locked away so that future civilizations can see what this one attained.
I was just flabbergasted at the skill of Jim Norton (and the stream of consciousness by the female narrator was so much better than I could have interpreted the book chapter with zero punctuation!)
I thought of this as kind of like the Picasso of novels...totally new way of writing in my experience, unreal, confusing, lots of fun!!!
I will not try another Joyce book, but Norton is wonderful. James Joyce is heralded as a revolutionary intellectual, a Modernist, a brilliant artist. His intellect is unquestionable, but his artistry is so corrupt that it is truly iniquitous. The book is littered with pearls of wisdom and genius; at its core, it is a brilliantly conceived artifice. Even so, like pearls cast among swine, or diamonds in a cesspool, they are priceless, but why punish your readers to endure the filth just to capture the gems? Don't be fooled. Vulgarity appeals to our base nature, our flesh. But vulgarity only masquerades as the truth. Joyce's message indulges our flesh, he indulges his own flesh in the writing, but the truth is that our flesh does not need to be entertained, it does not need to be indulged any more than addiction needs to be indulged to fully understand it, even to abhor it. Today's ugly rap music makes the same statement about the truth of the human existence, but it drags us down, it incites the flesh, our base nature. We need true artists to create things of beauty - not the pretense of iniquity as artistry. We need to be inspired, we need to be encouraged,. That is the purpose of art. Joyce misses the point entirely. Smearing feces on canvas requires no genius, it just creates stench. Don't waste your time. You should have better things to do.
Count of Monte Cristo
Stephen Dedalus, the junior hero - Norton brings all of the characters to life, but they are, for the most part, so corrupt and dysfunctional that even Norton cannot make them bearable.
Pure frustration that Joyce would indulge himself and waste his genius. He destroyed his opportunity to leverage his intellect to bless posterity; instead, he added to the burden.
The only reason I rated Ulysses a 2 overall was because of Norton's performance, and because utter abomination can be instructive of true genius, squandered.
I would like to try again, but not through Jim Norton. I had a difficult time understanding the book because I couldn't follow Jim Norton's accent. I spend hours trying to get through part 1, but after multiple listens I gave up.
American literature classic. Possibly that new Dracula.
Couldn't understand it, so unfortunately no.
Listen to the preview before spending your money.
The narrator is fantastic and does a wonderful job. However, it is difficult to tell there is even a story present. The summary of the book on Audible is certainly not my experience when trying to listen to the book. James Joyce wrote a book that sounds like a dictionairy, but out of order. Words upon words that fly in every direction, leaving it to the reader to put together some vague sense of order.
The only reason to get this book is so that you can brag that you endured the pain and confusion of listening to it.
Please don't buy this book thinking you are going to read a traditional novel with characters you can easily follow.
I took a look through all the existing reviews and find it interesting that most of the reviewers are male, and those men have given the story 5 stars. The few women who reviewed it gave it considerably less than 5 stars.
I am one of those women. I love classics and really wanted to get through this book. I tried twice to listen to the story, and both times I got through about an hour and a half and gave up.
The narrator does a decent job. His inflection is good and most of the time I can understand the Irish. However, I have to listen using ear phones because Mr. Norton sometimes yells and sometimes whispers.
I have this book in print and I'm going to try reading it that way, instead of listening to it. When listening, I can't seem to follow the flow of the story -- what are the thoughts and what are the conversations between the characters. Maybe reading the book will help.
If you must get through Ulysses, this is the way to do it. Narrator Jim Norton deftly speaks for many characters, and sometimes he even sings. He makes Ulysses as coherent and accessible as it can be. I still found it helpful to read a study guide summary of each chapter prior to listening to the audiobook. The final chapter is especially good, so if you give up in the middle (I wouldn't blame you for it, I would blame Joyce), be sure to skip ahead and listen to the last couple hours.
This is the most important book of the 20th century. It's complex, like thousand pages of poetry. James Joyce is a genius. But it's no light read. It's tough, something you have to work through slowly. It's complex, with sentence structure that is unfamiliar to Americans. So why the hell is the narrator reading it like it's a speed reading contest? I can barely understand his accent. I mean, I understand that you want to make it sound genuine, and the sentence structure is fitting for the Irish/Scottish sounds. I appreciate the amount of effort it must have taken for two people to team up and 'perform' this monstrous endeavor. But really, slow the down. I'm no novice. I've read all of Ayn Rand's audio books. My vocabulary power is just fine, and my ability to comprehend audio books is also par. But with this one, I'm a couple hundred pages in and couldn't tell you what the main character's names are or when it's set... were you afraid you'd run out of time? We could have had a part 5. I wouldn't have minded. Just read the book next time. Don't give me the slurry, bunched together, overly fast accent when I'm trying to stomach a project like Ulysses. This is the first book I've ever given up on with Audible. I'm mad I paid for it, and now I'm looking for another when I haven't finished part 1.
I have wanted to read Ulysses, but found it really difficult to listen to. The narrator Jim Norton talks very quitely and then when doing the voices gets really loud to the point of yelling at you. I still wish to read the book but this was not the best telling of it.