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I've had a copy of Ulysses on my shelf for ten years or more and have never found the time or the commitment to get to grips with it. This recording is absolutely wonderful. I listen to nearly all Audible recordings whilst driving and Ulysses has made long journeys pass in an instant. The readers bring the book and characters to life and have had me howling with laughter whilst bowling along the motorways. Clearly this is a book that you can spend a lifetime unwrapping and I begin to see why it is often cited as being the greatest novel of the 20th century. That may be true or not but it is a very fine recording. Buy it.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Ulysses can seem a daunting prospect to the reader approaching the novel for the first time. The stream of consciousness technique can seem puzzling and there is a bewildering mixture of styles. Jim Norton's superbly varied reading makes clear in episode after episode what Joyce is doing with language. Each paragraph, each sentence, each word in this reading has clearly been carefully considered and then interpreted with great dramatic skill. The general effect is that this reading provides a continually illuminating interpretation of the text which allows the novel to emerge as the great comical masterpiece and celebration of life that is.
All the varied people of Dublin on June 16th 1904 are brought vividly to life by Norton. The two principal characters Stephen Daedalus and Leopold Bloom are particularly well characterised. But even the most minor characters are convincingly rendered. Bloom's wife Molly is interpreted by Marcella Riordan - it is a very high compliment to say that on a smaller scale she matches Jim Norton's achievement.
An episode like the Cyclops brings out particularly well the illumination this reading brings to the text : the contrasts between the crude, 'one -eyed' account of the unnamed narrator, the hilarious parodies of various styles of writing inserted by Joyce, Bloom's ineffectual reasonableness, the Citizen's prejudice and egoism - all these are clear at once to the listener, whereas only the most attentive reading of the text would yield the same insight.
If anyone is approaching Ulysses the first time or has tried unsuccessfully to enter the world of Bloomsday before, this reading provides an ideal way into the novel, while those who know the novel well will find this reading constantly revealing. It is one of the rare audio books that are more enjoyable with repeated listening.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
I have never read Ulysses, having been scared off by a conversation during college. I figured I'd give it a try for three chapters 35 years later. I really enjoyed the narration, but I was having a little trouble following, so I decided to listen again, only with the text as well, which is available online. And I kept a tab to dictionary.com open at all times. And then I looked up some sites that give an analysis of the book, and I can't wait to get the next installment. I think one of the greatest books in the English language should be approached differntly from .... Take your pick.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
This recording of Ulysses is simply excellent. The male narrator reads exceptionally well what, as you'll see, is an extremely difficult text to read aloud (particularly the later chapters). He varies his voice in different ways for the many, many different characters, as well as imitates lots of different Irish, English, and American accents. Simply amazing! The female narrator who reads Molly's chapter is likewise fantastic -- particularly for a chapter of 50 or so pages which is printed with only 8 sentence breaks!
Ulysses is a demanding novel but definitely a rewarding one. This recording really makes it quite accessible. Some of the chapters, actually, are more compelling when heard rather than read from the page. As a first-time reader, I found it very helpful to go one chapter at a time, reading some outside material (like sparknote.com or cliffsnote.com) to help me as I went. TIP: get a copy of Joyce's "schema" for Ulysses -- it's a list of symbols, colors, settings, etc. for each chapter -- and is extremely helpful. Try googling it or looking in Don Gifford's *Ulysses Annotated* (schema items listed at the beginning of the notes for each chapter).
14 of 15 people found this review helpful