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Ulysses Audiobook
Ulysses
Written by: 
James Joyce
Narrated by: 
Jim Norton
Ulysses Audiobook

Ulysses [Audiobook]

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Publisher's Summary

Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

While Bloom's passionate wife, Molly, conducts yet another illicit liasion (with her concert manager), Bloom finds himself getting into arguments with drunken nationalists and wild carousing with excitable medical students, before rescuing Stephen Dedalus from a brawl and returning with him to his own basement kitchen.

In the hands of Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan, experienced and stimulating Joycean readers, and carefully directed by Roger Marsh, Ulysses becomes accessible as never before. It is entertaining, immediate, funny, and rich in classical, philosophical, and musical allusion.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

(P)2004 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Classics, 2005

"As ambitious and rewarding an audio production as any that exists, an audio experience that truly deserves to be cherished....Readers of Ulysses have long been encouraged to read out loud the more difficult sections for added comprehension and enjoyment of the language. Now, thanks to Naxos, the entire book is available in a performance to savor. It is safe to say that anyone wanting to experience the preeminent work of modern fiction has in this package the perfect audio companion." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (1091 )
5 star
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3.7 (758 )
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Story
4.1 (775 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Ian Farnborough, United Kingdom 09-14-12
    Ian Farnborough, United Kingdom 09-14-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    441
    ratings
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    Story
    "I should hate this - but I don't."

    This book has all the things which annoy me about supposed "great" literature.

    It is excessively poetic. (Not a fan of poetry).
    It is wordy for the sake of it. (Big fan of directness).
    There is relatively little direct narrative. (I like a plain and simple central thread).
    Its full of clever devices. (Like my English not mucked about with)

    But it is magnificent! I'm pretty sure that I didn't properly follow a lot of it but it doesn't matter. Some of the words made no sense but the sounded beautiful. Some of the scenes were meaningless to me but they were magic to listen to. The whole thing was a joy to listen to.

    One of the other reviewers suggest that you should be familiar with this book in print before listening to this but I disagree. I suspect that if I had tried to read this from paper I would have made it t about page 12 before throwing it out of a window. It was made to be read out loud and if there is a better version available than this I'm not sure I would be able to cope with it.

    Jim Norton gives each character just enough depth to make him distinguishable wthout creating any cartoon Irishmen in the process. There are a few sections read in a female voice. (Marcella Riordan - who should get a narrators credit). Double handed narration can be clumsy but this is perfectly judged. Overall - an excellent listen.


    46 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dariusz Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada 11-14-08
    Dariusz Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada 11-14-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    5
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    "Fantastic !"

    I have been thinking about tackling this book for years and this audio finally gave me courage. I cannot imagine to going through it with out it. I listened to each chapter first following the text in the book and then second time just listening and enjoying poetry of the language. Highly recommend.

    22 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Wilmington, DE, USA 04-30-09
    Ed Wilmington, DE, USA 04-30-09 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth the time and effort"

    Superbly done. Some passages benefited from following the text which is available on line. The combination makes "reading" Joyce an extraordinary experience.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 01-08-11
    Rebecca 01-08-11 Member Since 2009

    Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    253
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    "Brings Joyce to life"

    I've decided for awhile that I wanted to read "Ulysses" - which really seems like a marathon for readers. I tried reading it once, and couldn't get the rhythm of the language. Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan's reading helped me over that hurdle. I also had the book in front of me, and I used "Ulysses Annotated" by Don Gifford to help me with all the glorious historical, literature, musical, biblical references, along with the 1904 Dublin slang.

    I would recommend this recording to anybody interested in experiencing the novel that changed literature.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-17-14 Member Since 2016

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "What the f@#!?"

    I've been working my way through the classics here on audible. After tackling Moby-Dick, I felt confident that I could take on an even denser novel. Ulysses had an intimidating reputation, and I was ready for a challenge... but I was not ready for this festering pile of nonsense.

    This is not so much a novel, as it is a literary puzzle. This isn't a book to be read, it's a series of sentences that need to be decoded. I hated it instantly. And I'm literally angry at the conga-line of academics that conspired to have this thing labeled as one of The Greats. It isn't. It's a masterbatory exercise by James Joyce, which was lauded as genius by those elite few who were so entrenched in the bubble of high-literature scholarship that they could actually understand pieces of it.

    I listened to the first few chapters, and had the cliff-notes open so that I could understand what was going on. After a little while I decided that it just wasn't worth it. There was no pleasure to be derived from this tale beyond the pleasure of decrypting it. When it comes to that, I'd rather do a crossword puzzle.

    Life is too short to waste time reading (or listening to) Ulysses.

    A brief shout out to the narrator, whose inflections (and singing) were the only things that gave me any hint of what was going on.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clayton Bosler Redondo Beach CA USA 08-08-12
    Clayton Bosler Redondo Beach CA USA 08-08-12 Listener Since 2009

    Clay

    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    "How did I get through it?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. It's an exceptionally tedious story.


    What was most disappointing about James Joyce???s story?

    Story? What story?


    What about Jim Norton???s performance did you like?

    Jim did an amazing job of making this impenetrable book vaguely accessible. His aplomb at tackling the rambling sentences was wonderful!


    Any additional comments?

    It's one of the great books, right? A must read. Thank goodness for Jim's narration to help me conquer this behemoth. While 95% of the book I found exceptionally dull and boring, every now and then it really does soar. Perhaps only because you grasp at straws, but I think there were moments that are sublime...

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Nahant, MA, United States 02-22-12
    Christopher Nahant, MA, United States 02-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I can't do it"

    I can't do it. I downloaded this book because it's on all of the Greatest Books of All Time lists. It's too difficult to listen to, although the performance is very good. It's too disjointed and hard to follow unless you're in a quiet room all alone with Cliffsnotes by your side.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Z. Hill West Orange, NJ USA 09-15-11
    H. Z. Hill West Orange, NJ USA 09-15-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This was too much for me"

    I know that Ulysses is one of the most important works of the 20th century and I have always felt I should read it, but, at least for me, it was not a good listen. The narrator is probably excellent. However, his accent was difficult for me to understand so I missed much of the reading. I listen when I am in the car which is probably not the best place to be doing that. The story is somewhat of a jumble. Maybe it is poetry but it would be better to be reading the words on the page rather than trying to understand the plot by listening.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Perth, Australia 02-11-11
    Janice Perth, Australia 02-11-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exhilarating"

    I could never have read this classic, but as a spoken book with the amazing narration it was achievable. At times it was excruciating, at times exhilarating, like plunging into cold water, or ripping off a band aid, some sections I could only do a minute at a time, I felt a great sense of achievement when I got to the end. If you ever felt compelled to explore this infamous book, this is a great way to do it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard DEKALB, IL, USA 04-28-10
    Richard DEKALB, IL, USA 04-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Ulysses - A Great Read, A Great Reading!"

    It was so easy to become engrossed in the characters and the mood of the moment, that I often forgot I was in the middle of this monumental work! Jim Norton's range is remarkable - he made every character's voice as distinct as a fingerprint. He had obviously given careful thought to the sounds of the words, and these sounds rolled off his tongue as though he were making them up. The same goes for Marcella Riordan's characterization of Molly. I'm sure the direction accounted for this as well. I have heard no better audio rendition, and I have heard around a hundred. Reading along simultaneously with the 1984 Gabler edition, some charts, and help from student annotations, I was finally able to complete and enjoy this most essential book. One less accomplishment left before I die!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Andrew
    United Kingdom
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful book, brilliantly read."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It helped that I'd read this book previously and had done some study on how it has been interpreted. Once you have a grounding you really appreciate the full force of its brilliance.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bloom: an outsider, cuckold and under-dog, but persistent and dogged, he wins through in the end.


    What does Jim Norton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Jim Norton's (and Marcella Reardon) reading adds immensely to an appreciation. Wonderful characterisation, pace, humour, accents and invective. It is difficult to imagine it will ever be bettered.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The last section as Molly describes why she married and has stuck with Bloom. But almost every chapter has some brilliant passage.


    Any additional comments?

    If you've never read it before do at least skim the basics of the story first so you appreciate the basic structure - and then plunge in and enjoy and imbibe the language and scatological humour. Every reading will bring out more subtleties and enjoyment. This really is one of those books worth coming back to. I will certainly be returning to this reading!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lukas
    Sunne, Sweden
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Don't think you can do anything while listening"

    The story demands your full attention as you borrow the characters thoughts and feelings. I did try to listen to it while walking, but found that there is no room to be distracted. Having said that it is a rich experience that matches visual media.



    Make sure you have time to give listening your full attention, and you will be rewarded.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • doug
    halstead, United Kingdom
    9/11/12
    Overall
    "Audio magic"

    This is beautifully read. Stunning. When I bought this I was reading 'Dubliners' and now find myself reading that with the narrators voice. It is a work of genius, bringing Joyce's multilayered masterpiece to life.

    Only buy if you have staying power, though the lyrical, poetic prose is a thing of beauty in it self.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • alice
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    9/26/11
    Overall
    "Astonishing"

    The beauty and lyricism, scope and style is undeniable, Norton's voice is somewhat irritating, too insistent, would prefer a more melodic voice. The text sags in places, Joyce's achievement is marred by the text being 'overstuffed' with detail, this great work needed pruning imho

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    9/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hateful, potentially a valuable academic exercise?"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different book


    Would you ever listen to anything by James Joyce again?

    I have heard that the Dubliners is more accessible


    Have you listened to any of Jim Norton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Nothing wrong with the narration


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Ulysses?

    I just hated the whole thing. To be fair the beginning of the book was fine, but the idea that the audience should be subjected to every thought that goes through the protagonist's head just was not for me. I gave up in the third part of five.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Glasgow, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Read by Bishop Len Brennan"

    Very nice to hear Bishop Len Brennan from Father Ted read Ulysses. Worth a punt.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dan Bowen
    Sydney
    1/31/12
    Overall
    "Unabridged too far ..."

    I had to give up on this after a bit over a quarter the way through (something I rarely do), it just requires too much concentration to keep up with and I don't think it suits the audiobook format. You need to be a bit of a scholar as well; large passages are in Latin, Italian etc. and there are many many references to history/literature which if you are not well versed in take away the enjoyment. The reader is excellent though and I would be tempted to have a go (though it won't be for a good few years) in traditional print.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • M. Hewitt
    7/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Story? What story? Outstanding..."

    Once I understood that I would never understand what the story or plot is about I loved it. I went to return it a couple of times but persevered and I'm glad I did. Beautifully crafted...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    2/7/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Magical experience!!"

    Perfect narration! Will listen again and again and again. I can see, feel and smell Dublin and have 3 new friends in Molly, Poldy and Stephen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • petitbilbo
    Brussels
    1/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "(To me) this is not a book to be listened to"

    Sadly, I've given up listening to this book after a bit more than an hour.

    I'm used to listen while commuting (train, tram, metro, bus, you name it) and therefore, my concentration isn't always up to par. Now, in any other book I've listened to, this isn't much of a problem. You can skip a minute or two and still fall on you feet as soon as you're "out time" is over. it has worked very well so far, be it with novels or even 'serious' historical books.

    Not so with Ulysses! When something like this happens with this book, you come back and the characters seem to be talking utter nonsense! Is this a new chapter? Did you miss a change in subject?

    I'll *read* the book...

    (By the way, my rating doesn't reflect any judgement in the quality of the audio-book itself.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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