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Ulysses | [James Joyce]

Ulysses

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.
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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 (865 )
5 star
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3.6 (562 )
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Story
4.1 (573 )
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
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  •  
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 07-29-14
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 07-29-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    24
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    "Clever but dull"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sk3ptic Michigan 07-16-14
    Sk3ptic Michigan 07-16-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Production Ruins the Book"

    I've always wanted to read Ulysses, and I thought that this would be a great way to get the nuances of the language.

    While the narration seems great at first, someone, the narrator, the engineer or the producer, decided that it would be great for the performer to speak very quietly through the narration and then bellow the speaking parts. I listen in the car and the narrative parts are indecipherable without the volume turned nearly to max, and when the performer gets to a spoken part I have to quickly turn the volume down to avoid getting blasted out. When I realized that I was driving with my hand on the volume control I abandoned the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clay 06-20-14
    Clay 06-20-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Not well suited for audio"
    What would have made Ulysses better?

    From the reviews I've read of the work, much of what makes Ulysses a "masterpiece" is the characters' inner monologues. I'm guessing that is why this book is so confusing to listen to. It is impossible to tell when the character is interacting with another character and when he is thinking thoughts to himself.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 05-10-14
    Tim 05-10-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
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    "Great experience"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ulysses to be better than the print version?

    Not necessarily. I'm Irish so when reading the book I "get" all the meanings and nuance's.However, for anybody not lucky enough to be Irish Jim Norton makes the book accessible to all. This version is a great way to "read" this iconic book for the first time but I would strongly recommend reading it in the old-fashioned way afterwards.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jed M. Shivers Scarsdale, NY, US 07-25-13
    Jed M. Shivers Scarsdale, NY, US 07-25-13 Member Since 2001
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "Virtuoso performance story hard to follow"
    If you could sum up Ulysses in three words, what would they be?

    Funny Parodies Thoughts


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Anti climax


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Listening to Ulysses, if like me, you haven't taken the course that explains the book is more like listening to an Opera without orchestration than a book. It's more like music where you can figure out what is going on in snippets as he moves from one stylistic vehicle to another. It is very funny with terrific parodies that work just as well 100 years after it was written.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Seattle, WA, United States 07-12-13
    Eric Seattle, WA, United States 07-12-13
    ratings
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    7
    1
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    "Jim Norton brings Dublin to life"
    Would you listen to Ulysses again? Why?

    Yes, the performance by Jim Norton is masterful. He sings, he brings each character to life, he even does his own sound effects. This dense book is much more comprehensible in audiobook form than print. As much as I enjoyed reading the text years ago, listening to it now in this form is so much richer.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Leo Bloom, everyman.


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

    no, but I will now seek them out.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    -


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended for anyone who has always wanted to read this master work, especially for those who found the text too dense. This is more like a radio play.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P Bethesda, MD, United States 07-08-13
    P Bethesda, MD, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    4
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    "Very good if you've read the book before"
    Would you listen to Ulysses again? Why?

    Maybe in the distant future. It's too long for a lark.


    What other book might you compare Ulysses to and why?

    Maybe Pynchon.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Wandering Rocks, Cyclops, and Oxen cane through particularly well read aloud.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not likely.


    Any additional comments?

    This recording reminded me of just what a feat Joyce pulled off with the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mónica buenos aires, Argentina 11-06-12
    mónica buenos aires, Argentina 11-06-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "excellent companion to an extraordinary reading"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ulysses to be better than the print version?

    It could never be better because Ulysses is a masterpiece of writing but it truly benefits the undestanding.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked all the characters due to their particular qualities, but as I have to choose I pick L. Bloom because he could really be a man you met any time. And regarding Molly, I am sure I heard women saying the words in her monologue.


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

    He brings the story to life. You feel that every moment is a true moment.


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

    Perhaps Nausicaa.


    Any additional comments?

    I am very glad I chose this new experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David K. Aycock Rolla, Missouri United States 11-06-12
    David K. Aycock Rolla, Missouri United States 11-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    30
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    "Enthralling audio experience"

    It's poetry!
    For so many years I have had people warn me away from Ulysses, citing its obscurity and density. Phooey! It is lyrical and complex. It may well be that one would get more out of it given a thorough grounding in classical literature, but not quite getting all the allusions and references doesn't diminish the power of Joyce's playful linguistics. The well is deep, so drink deeply.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Dexter, MI, United States 09-30-12
    Theresa Dexter, MI, United States 09-30-12 Member Since 2014
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    40
    5
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    "Incredible narration of a difficult book."
    Would you listen to Ulysses again? Why?

    Maybe. I think I would get a book with footnotes to help with understanding it.


    Any additional comments?

    Again, the narration was possibly my favorite of all the books I have listened to. Great emotion, pacing, clarity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 61-70 of 91 results PREVIOUS167810NEXT
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  • Richard
    Fairlight, United Kingdom
    4/2/12
    Overall
    "Amazing"

    I've listened to 30+ books from Audible now and a few of them have needed a bit of persistence. I was keen to listen to Ulysses as I reasoned that I may be unlikely to finish the book in print if I attempted it.

    It seems to me that the audiobook format is excellent for this incredible book. I can see why the book is rated so highly. The narrator is excellent and I found his characterisations worked very well. The pace was just right - quite hard to keep up but I don't think this is the book to read aloud slowly.

    Did I understand everything? No. I had to review an online source at the end of each episode to keep up. But it is well worth it and I feel like I have experienced a very special piece of literature.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Janet
    LONDONUnited Kingdom
    10/29/08
    Overall
    "Ulysses brought to life"

    This is audio books at their absolute best. I'm only a quarter of the way through but this is completely captivating. The range of voices Jim Riordan can produce is amazing: it brings the characters to life and helps the listener keep track of what is obviously a difficult 'plot'. He also brings a range of tone to the characters, distinguishing speech and thoughts very helpfully. Perhaps not the best bed-time listening - a fatal combination of mellifluous accents and aimless ramblings that has me dozing off in minutes - but there the fault is entirely my own.

    28 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • Antti
    Finland
    3/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Monumental Achievement"

    "Grant me, Lord, the courage and the joy / I need to scale the summit of this day”, wrote Jorge Luis Borges of "Ulysses" in one of his sonnets. Both are needed, courage and joy, since the most challenging works of literature should be enjoyable in their difficulty. When it comes to Joyce’s great work, a colossus among the colossals, it’s quite impossible to write about the reading experience succintly, to the point, and well. I’m trying, though.

    I like reading "Ulysses", but equally I love listening to it. There is something about Joyce’s language and his way of expressing things that lends beautifully to performance. His words float, soar and swerve, and I think we are incredibly lucky to have an audiobook of the work that is without equal. Narrated by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan, it is an unabridged recording (27 hours and 21 minutes) that has not only been expertly read, it’s actually recorded and mixed wonderfully, and it’s amongst the best audiobooks I’ve ever encountered. This is a monumental achievement in audiobook recording that cuts no corners, takes all the time it needs in the right places, and uses technology and vision to create an unforgettable listening experience.

    One of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • MARTIN
    HASLEMERE, United Kingdom
    2/25/11
    Overall
    "A book for grown-up people"

    Jim Norton's performance is the greatest triumph of reading-aloud that I ever expect to hear.

    Looking at some of the earlier negative reviews, I feel like inviting these people to grow up a little. It is the rhetoric of the playground to dismiss something as rubbish merely because you yourself do not appreciate it.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia
    Harold's Cross, Ireland
    6/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth the effort!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ulysses to be better than the print version?

    The audio version makes this complex, many layered novel accessible and enjoyable.


    What other book might you compare Ulysses to, and why?

    This is incomparable to any book I have read to date.


    What about Jim Norton’s performance did you like?

    The ability ot the narator to create different voices, accents and sounds was brilliant.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This book needs concentrated time to absorb, but I was always delighted to return to it and did so again and again and got more out of each reading.


    Any additional comments?

    I was surprised with how much enjoyed this book. Even after 3 readings, I feel there is still a rich vein to be excavated so I know I will return for more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • SEAN HOLDEN
    England
    6/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfect rendering of a towering masterpiece"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This reading opened this wonderful, wonderful book to me. I, Seán Holden, have started what's always been called a hard read several times. Jim Norton has led me effortlessly through Bloom's journey. The depth of Joyce's understanding of language, mind and body is as profound as Shakespeare's and as beautiful. And he is funny and and he is learned. Having done the 27 hours I'm going to start all over again. Jim Norton's own understanding of the narrative and the distinctive presentation of the vast swirl of characters is perfection. It sounds just as I imagine it swooshing out of Joyce's head. The last chapter, read by Marcella Riordan, is a joy of pure eroticism with her enticingly beautiful voice taking us intimately inside Molly in every way. This is the best audio book performance I have ever heard. It gives us with ease the book we should all have.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Michael Champion
    Nottinghamsshire UK
    9/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I have done it; with a little help"
    What did you like most about Ulysses?

    I listened and read on Kindle at the same time. If It was under my own steam I would never have made it. The combination worked well for me and is highly recommended.
    This is an important book and to gain access to it to observe the way Joyce turns words over in his hands and plays with the form of language is awesome.
    I can see me repeating this over the years.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ulysses?

    There were some dull and inaccessible episodes in the middle (memorable for the wrong reasons) but overall the pictures that Joyce paints of life in Dublin are what stand out. The various interactions as the day goes on are deep, comedic and give a good insight to the life of the time.


    What about Jim Norton’s performance did you like?

    What a fantastic performance. If you need a sense of his artistry read a section out aloud to someone and then play Norton's performance of the same passage. What skill!
    The numerous accents and various pace of reading are just brilliant.
    I also loved Marcella Riordan's contribution at the end of the book; very philosophical, sad and sensual at the same time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No Far too long for one sitting


    Any additional comments?

    This has to be the best way to access this classic. Highly recommended

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lukas
    Vintrosa, 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
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