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.
(P)2004 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
"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)
Reviewer's often refer to this as a classic about a single day in the life of Leopold Bloom and his wife, Molly in and around Dublin. How boring does that sound, and what injustice does it do to this brilliantly subversive novel? It could not understate anything more.
Joyce is a master of pastiche and co-opts multiple styles in this at times wickedly funny and often profound and unsettling masterpiece. This was a bucket list read for me. I thought it would be a chore, but it was amazingly funny. At times, Nietzsche and Freud meet the Marx brothers. At others, the puffed up style of academia catalogs a dissected life. In places it is vulgar and bawdy; while in others poetically beautiful. It mirrors us: complex and complicated, dirty and selfish, neurotic and needy, striving for understanding and acceptance while trapped by prejudice and the prevailing mores of the 19th century and driven to define the meaning of being alive.
The performance of the readers was extraordinary. Jim Norton's mastery of all the nuances, rhythms and emotions of the characters in all types of situations was nothing less than brilliant.
The last few chapters about the lady wonderful!
The lady at the end.
He is perfect in his readings.
The internal monologue was masterful.
It's one long scene, how can you tell.
Did he get paid by the word?
Not sure. Jim Norton was great but I just couldn't get through this.
I really tried with this book - twice. I found it tedious to listen to as there is really no "plot" just rambling thoughts and everyday actions. I'm sure it was all leading somewhere but I have no idea where and worse ... I didn't care. I've listened to several hundred books - Ive been an audible member for a long time and this was the first book I didn't finish. Maybe I'll try again another time and the third time will be a charm. I gave it three stars because I know it's a classic and seemed unfair to rate lower without finishing.
Amazing grasp of the English language. Definitely not an easy work to read, but worth it.
The one essential book of the twentieth century read by one of the best Irish stage actors.
The Bible because Joyce's Ulysses sets a standard for prose and poetry in the 20th and 21st century and in Bloom, an Irish Jew, it is the story of every man. No book is so thick with concrete sensuous prose, no book is so rich in diverse writing styles.
Buck Mulligan because every college English major has had the pleasure of a Buck Mulligan type on tap with a fine head of booze.
A day like no other so filled with the sensuous delight of intimate immediacy.
A heartfelt humorous exposure of humankind.
The narrator does an amazing job of bringing to life a work of mad genius. However I did not care for the "book" as a whole. It was broken, fragmented, and in general an exercise in what can be, not what should be. The first story arc as well as the last chapter were the redeeming qualities of this work of fiction, that was otherwise nearly intolerable.
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
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"Perfect rendering of a towering masterpiece"
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.
"Well worth the effort!"
The audio version makes this complex, many layered novel accessible and enjoyable.
This is incomparable to any book I have read to date.
The ability ot the narator to create different voices, accents and sounds was brilliant.
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.
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.
"Forget about multitasking"
I really wanted to read/listen to this book. Declared by many to be one of the most important novels ever written, it was sort of my personal ambition to read it.
Unfortunately, this book requires your full attention and as someone else observed, even listening to it while walking is too distracting to follow Joyce's thick narrative, turn gibberish.
He lost me, couple of hours into the story so entangled and impermeable, that in moments I didn't understand what I am listening to.
Perhaps I will go back to it, when I am so grown up, I have absolutely nothing else to do, than submerge myself to every word of this story.
For now, I will keep listening to books that are written for pleasure, rather than for mental work out.
"I have done it; with a little help"
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.
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 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.
No Far too long for one sitting
This has to be the best way to access this classic. Highly recommended
I bought this book as I had heard that it was the greatest novel ever written. But I found this to be an extremely difficult book to get to grips with. I thought I had a very good grasp of English literature, but most of this went over my head I seriously think you need an English degree to understand what going on here.
The narration and audio quality are both good.
"Wonderful book, brilliantly read."
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.
Bloom: an outsider, cuckold and under-dog, but persistent and dogged, he wins through in the end.
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.
The last section as Molly describes why she married and has stuck with Bloom. But almost every chapter has some brilliant passage.
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!
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