I believe "Ulysses" to be the greatest work in the English language--let's get that out of the way first.
It is, however, a challenging book, and it becomes more so every year, as we get further and further away from June 16, 1904. Many of the reference would have been accessible when the book was published less than two decades later, but many of them are lost to history now without a guide. Which is why various works that accompany the text are a great way to discover the richness of the book.
But I also believe that hearing the book read aloud--PROPERLY--is helpful in a completely different way. Joyce's lyricism simply doesn't jump off the page if you're unfamiliar with the Dublin references. Jim Norton is positively brilliant in rendering them, and in rendering the various idiosyncratic voices that make the novel come alive.
I very much recommend this as part of diving into the world of James Joyce's greatest work. The music of his writing is something nobody has come close to achieving.
No. The print is indispensible to understanding the work.
Paradise Lost. They both require work, but the pay off is unquantifiably great.
Stephan Dedalus having to endure his crumby class of privileged brats. Serves him right!
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 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.
While it is easy to see why this book is so acclaimed, it is also hard to "recommend" it to anyone. There is no question about the brilliance of James Joyce and what a feat it was to create this masterpiece. At the same time, it is a feat to listen to it.
If you ever wanted to know what it would be like to be inside the mind of another person for an entire day, certainly partake of this novel.
It is too much to digest in one listening .. it could be alifetime study.
I realize now why so many authors refer to it: they are bragging about the fact that they made it through.
I will probably become as pedantic about it myself!
PS The reading is magnificent.