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.
Jim Norton takes this classic to a new level. It's a pleasure, likely even a welcome aid in understanding to first-time readers and an exquisite, enriching new experience to those who are well familiar with the text. Think of this audiobook as performance rather than mere narration - much like reading Hamlet will not keep you from enjoying it on stage, prior study of Ulysses does not make this audiobook any less worthwhile (quite the opposite).
This is a book I put off for many years, because it was supposed to be hard work. It probably is if you want to study all the allusions to mythology, Irish history, Shakespeare, etc. But It's wonderful just to listen to. It's full of poetry and song, sometimes just in the middle of a sentence. It does take concentration and I listened to some sections more than once, always picking up new things.
I'm working through it with a book group and I've been listening first, then looking at the text to see what I missed, or what visual aspects there are (as he does play with that as well.) This must have been very challenging for the narrator and I think he does a great job.
Beautifully written, wonderfully read. A treasure.
No, needs to be absorbed over time.
Strongly recommend Frank Delaney's re:Joyce podcast, wherein he deconstructs Ulysses in a most interesting and entertaining fashion.
The narrator is hard to understand and sometimes speaks really quietly while others talking too loud, this makes it difficult to keep at an adequate listening level. Although the narrator is very good at performing, the difficulty of the subject and style of the book make it imperative that the narration is clear and and understandable.
Yes. This was not an issue with the writing- which though difficult is very interesting.
By over acting, speaking too loudly or too softly, and by often times being difficult to decipher.
I would not have cut any scenes.
Ulysses is not a simple read - especially without annotations. This audio version absolutely makes the text more accessible - and is a Herculean achievement by all involved - not the least Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan who deserve an OBE each (or something) for reading it out loud with such seeming ease.
This book may have been shocking or even relevant when it was originally published. However, it is no longer neither now. It is a complete bore.
I'll be honest, this is by no means light reading, and I went into this seeking something that would challenge my mind. I appreciated Joyce's depiction of life in early 20th century Ireland and how he showed it completely rounded and even focused on less mentioned aspects such as the general anti-semetism. It is also clear that Joyce was quick the literary ventriloquist, and clearly never met a writing style he never liked. I also liked Simon Bloom's internal monologues, and Buck Mulogan was a cheeky fellow
Having said that, at times it felt more like the book was focused on being clever and doing literary tricks, and the plot and general experience of the novel suffered because of this. Actually, this was a recurring problem I had with this novel. I also feel I'd have better appreciated this novel is studied in a class rather than read on my own. Maybe I'd have a better appreciation rather than feeling it might be more than a little overhyped. I'd been on a literary kick, but after this book I dove back into the world of genre.
Overall, it was...an, um, experience. If nothing else
Joyce is a very clever author. He has a mastery of the language that is at times very funny, and at times very engaging.
On the other hand, he just doesn't know how to tell a story. There is no narative here, no suspense, no climax. It is just an account of a man's thoughts and trivial actions going through a day.
Joyce badly needs an editor. I found myself looking to see how much longer I was going to have to suffer through a chapter.
The reading, I have to say, was excellent, which is probably what made me stick with it.