A newcomer to James Joyce, I was looking forward to reading a work by an author associated so closely with the modernist " stream of consciousness" style of writing.
Joyce was simply a poet, and some sentences and passages in this book are better than Shakespeare etc. the 15 short stories are all set in Dublin, and all contain a range of different characters with different emotions, feelings, and indeed outlooks on life.
" An Encounter" is beautifully written from a child's point of view. Encountering someone who is essentially a paedophile will be a strange experience for a child, and, through Joyce, the boy simply tells the reader what he sees. Yet, the story is still disturbing and haunting.
My particular favourites are " Araby", focusing on a boy who is infatuated with a girl, it also contains the best line in the book in " but my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like strings running upon the wires"; " A little cloud", about a man who realises his failed journalistic career, and indeed the loss of affection for his wife; and " a painful case", again, like " A little cloud" centring on a man who has wasted his life, and, once he finds his true love, lets her go from him until it is too late when she dies.
The 15 stories are all poetically flawless Joyce's real strength here is that he both manages to write archaically yet keeping the reader interested.
Thanks to this book I now intend to read Joyce's other great works " Finnegans Wake" and then, his classic, " Ulysses".