Ulysses is extremely varied in style and vernacular from chapter to chapter, which is what makes Jim Norton's performance exceptional. He gives voice and meaning to the very difficult text.
How do you find one thing to "love best" about one of the landmarks of world literature?
Bloom of course. Who else?
It's enlightening. I discovered in college that the way to read Shakespeare was to go to the library and read along with a recording. Performances have meaning. With the possible exception of the chapter at the newspaper office where seeing the headlines holds much of the humor, Norton's amazing characterizations make this "difficult" book both funny and profound -- jocoserious as Joyce liked to say.
Some folks attempted to make a film of Ulysses in the 60's with predictable results. By making the story concrete and visible, you lose the essence of the work: its audacious experiments in what it means to tell a story. You also trivialize it. It played like a series of charades of famous episodes.
The stream of consciousness inner monologues. Joyce was a master with this.
The park/beach scene where the girl flirts with Bloom from afar.
When Bloom realizes why the girl in the beach/park didn't run with the other girls.
Hard to get through in parts, but the morsels are worth the journey. Will have to redo in some years.
James Joyce and his contemporaries changed the face of Literature. Ulysses is obviously an amazing achievement. This said, the monsterous thing is barely comprehensible to read.
The producers of this audiobook have done everything in their power to make Ulysses intelligible. It is an absolutely brilliant production. Jim Norton might just be a genius.
If you like strangeness and mental puzzles or if you are a Literature scholar this is the book for you. I guess I should give Joyce's story five stars but the only thing that made it entertaing for me was the stunning narration and I personally rate stories on their entertainment value.
It's a pretty confused story with no plot. It's hard to follow if you don't have all the background. I'm sure it's very worthwhile but it's hard work.
The narrator does a great job of bringing the characters to life.
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'm not sure how you'd ever understand this without first listening to it? I listen to it while driving to work everyday and am constantly amazed by Norton's ability to portray the different characters as well as deliver what at times sounds like very complicated text. Having listened to hundreds of hours of books from the Iliad to the latest thriller, Norton is one of the very best!So how about the book? I'm not sure yet...at times it's laugh out loud funny, at times like stepping back into Dublin of the era with carts, trams and people whizzing by. While at other times it's more like an acid trip. Even then it's cool to
Moby Dick. Might seem weird, but the language at times (
Stephen Daedalus...esp. drunk. Funny and believable.
No way! At times I have to take a break bec sections were pretty dense. At other though I'd just lie down with my head phones on and listen.
A great idea would be to listen with the book in hand (esp. if you have an eReader) because there are so many words and historical characters that I would have liked to look up.
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.