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'm not sure anything could have made this enjoyable. The narrator was sufficient (though difficult to hear at times), the story, dreadful.
His style and the content.
While I can appreciate the authors place in history, and this books place in history, because it is often considered one of the greatest works of all time, I expected more.
I am apparently not a fan of this style of delivering a story. If you are on a quest to read and enjoy the greatest works of literature (as judged by others) then you should obviously give this a fair chance; it's just not for everyone.
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 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.
I've wanted to listen to this one for a while. Unfortunately it is very difficult to make out what they are saying because the recording quality is poor. I couldn't finish the book, because I couldn't follow it.
This book is often listed among the greatest novels. It is certainly among the most admired, but perhaps not among the most beloved. It's stream-of-conscious format and rambling plot make for very difficult reading. Fortunately, the audio format removes some of that confusion.
It is still a many-hour and hard listen but the narration is brilliantly done and helps immeasurably to get the dedicated listener through it. Unless one is a literature major or true intellectual, most will find this a real task. But if you love language and are willing to be projected back to an earlier time with harsh references to ethnic groups, this can be quite rewarding.
Don M, of Queen Creek, AZ
For a first time reader/listener, read the book first. This is a well done recording, but the book itself is too hard to follow for the first time without the text in front of you.
The best book read in the worst way. Narrator reads too fast and not clearly. Lots of mumbling. Goes from almost whisper to shouting. Other characters also read too fast and not clearly. Its a difficult book as it is and this version makes it even more difficult to digest
Norton, yes. Joyce, no.
Norton is an excellent guide to a terrible book.
James Joyce, both as Daedalus and as the author of the book.
Like a herd of dictionaries contracted norwalk virus and then stampeded themselves to death over a marathon-length course, spilling their contents in a random slurry along the way. They intermittently run out of grammar and punctuation. Finding meaning in this book is like finding the face of Jesus on your muffin.