The story traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions he has been brought up in. He finally leaves for Paris to pursue his calling as an artist. The work pioneers some of Joyce's modernist techniques that would later come to fruition in Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake.
(P)1991 Jimcin Recordings
Since my retirement I have been on a quest to read at least one book from each of the acknowledged "great authors." I tried listening to Joyce's "Ulysses" but had to give up. It was just too far out for me. Then I tried this version of "Portrait" and was delighted. It was a wonderful listening experience and I see now why Joyce is considered one of those greats.
A word or two about the narration... I especially liked this book because the narrator was very good and...He did not use an Irish accent.
There seem to be strong feelings among Audible listeners about reading non-American books with or without a country's accent. As an American , I like books read with an American voice. I don't think this is being jingoistic. It's just for me, I find that an Irish, English, French etc. accent gets in the way of the meaning. I like books read to me the way I would read them myself, and I certainly would not try to put on an Irish accent to read an Irish book, a French accent to read a French book etc. They may give a sense of authenticity but, for me, they also interfere with the meaning.
This is obviously an opinion and I know many people feel the opposite way.
So..bottom line.. I commend Audible for offering two versions of this book - one with an Irish accent and one without to satisfy both sides of the "accent debate."
This is the finest audible book I have listened to so far. Joyce excels at evoking characters through their conversation, and at expressing philosophical ideas. His storytelling is engaging, humorous and clever. I did weary of his extended descriptions of Catholic beliefs, just as I wearied of the extended descriptions of cetology in Moby Dick.
This is also the finest narration I have listened to in an audible book. Some narrators imagine themselves as performers and contrive distinct voices for each character. Yet none of these "performers" is in fact a great actor, and it is often painful to listen to them -- particularly to their attempts at imitating female voices.
In contrast, Jim Killavey uses three or four slight alterations of voice to distinguish characters in a way that is both unambiguous and unobtrusive. It is a true pleasure to listen to his narration. His pronunciation is clear and precise, as is appropriate for reading a work of literature. I was taken aback on a few occasions by his pronunciation of certain words (e.g. in-'die-sees for indices, sloath for sloth, fair-'rool for ferrule, 'poig-nant for poignant, and 'die-iss for dais), but this is a minor issue on the whole.
A good quality production and a good narrator
The narrator was so bad, that I didn't listen to much, so I can't judge the book.
Beware, its like they used a low quality tape recorder to record Killavey read this book. Look elsewhere. Sadly, I got this book before the days when you could return bad audiobooks to audible.
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