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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Masterpiece
'Dubliners' begins the work that was later to become 'Ulysses'. Although 'Dubliners' does not include the odyssey through language contained in the latter book (making it both more accessible and less groundbreaking), it is nevertheless a remarkable work. 'Dubliners' is a collection of short stories featuring single events over a few hours in the lives of inhabitants of...
Published on 25 Jun 2003 by Depressaholic

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3.0 out of 5 stars ?
too difficult Language for me to understand - would require continuous use of a dictionary - many words were not even in the dictionary - cannot make a judgement.
Published 16 months ago by Giuseppe Ricci


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Masterpiece, 25 Jun 2003
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
'Dubliners' begins the work that was later to become 'Ulysses'. Although 'Dubliners' does not include the odyssey through language contained in the latter book (making it both more accessible and less groundbreaking), it is nevertheless a remarkable work. 'Dubliners' is a collection of short stories featuring single events over a few hours in the lives of inhabitants of the title city. Short story writing has traditionally involved sinuous twists or startling contrivances which create the feeling of a completed story, or in which the reader is invited to be thrown or amazed in the last few paragraphs (such as writers like Philip K. Dick or Borges). Joyce eschews this style. Instead his stories are snapshots in the Dubliner's lives, featuring relatively mundane events (a failed trip to the market, an afternoon skipping school) in which nothing remarkable happens. There is very little narrative here, and this may not appeal to readers that like a strong story.
Joyce described each story as an 'epiphany', an event in which a character within the story (and hopefully the reader also) is invited to re-examine the familiar, and re-assess their relationships with the events that make up their lives. Joyce is trying to show that the day that changes your life may not be any different than the one that precedes it, or the ones that may follow, and that the life-changing event may just be an alteration in the way you perceive something that you have encountered a hundred times before. Each story is impressive in its construction, and for most of them I was left amazed by the power of their impact when compared to the banality of their content. Joyce manages to observe human behaviour brilliantly and can seem to extract every drop out of each comment, each gesture. Each is short (with the exception of 'The Dead') and I read this book very quickly (unlike 'Ulysses').
'Dubliners' is a sort of abridged 'Ulysses' and fans of the latter, or anyone looking for a way in to the latter, should definitely read 'Dubliners', likewise anyone who is a fan of this sort of 'epiphanic' short story writing (Camus' 'Exile and the Kingdom' is the closest thing I have read to date). However the lack of a strong narrative and the occasional lapse into (for me) impenetrable archaic Irish jargon, means that this book probably isn't for everyone. As far as I am concerned, it is the archetype of its genre, and an incredible book to have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of the artist in minature, 27 Feb 2009
By 
Thomas Naish (staffs) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
This is early Joyce. But early doesn't mean simple. Mature James Joyce matches Shakespeare in the complexity and depth of meaning and wordplay; whilst Dubliners doesn't reach the heights of Ulysses or 'The Wake', it it is literature to be read, thought about, then read again.
Some of the stories are a bit thin, almost fillers, After The Race for instance, but most are pure joy. Joyce doesn't write prose; he writes poetry that just happens to be cast as prose. This maxim shines through in loads and loads of places. I'll mention just two: The beautiful and complex image of the train at night, its worming light boring into the darkness in 'A Painful Case'; and The last page of The Dead. This passage is rightly eulogised in anthologies of English literature. I won't spoil it for you, discover it for yourself. But just two things - make sure you won't be disturbed, and read it out loud, and listen - the cadences of 'falling softly' and 'softly falling', and my favourite - the mutinous Shannon waves.
Some people will tell you that Joyce can be over complicated and over clever. Yes, he can. They will also tell you that he's overated. No he's not. The only writer in English better at manipulating language than Joyce is Billy Avonswan, Mr Shakespeare. Joyce is that great. If you like reading books that are designed as partners for a lifetime, to be read and savoured again and again then James Joyce is your man.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now Listen to the Book on Tape, 21 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
I have read this book dozens of times and i cannot add to what has already been said by other readers, However, someone once asked Joyce why his books were so hard to understand, he replied that if you read them out loud in a Dublin accent they would become clear. The penguin edition of Dubliners read by Gerald McSorley perfectly illustrates Joyce's point. I defy anyone to listen to the story 'A Painful Case' and not have a tear in their eye by the end of it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Searching for Symbolism, 30 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
Nabokov, who loved Ulysses, said that Proust was the Shakespeare of fiction. However, if might be more useful to think of Proust as being the comic spirit of Shakepseare and Joyce the tragic spirit. I distinctly remember reading this book in the early sixties, at least once, maybe twice, but I must have just been scanning it, or reading too quickly. In fact it occurs to me before this project I habitually read fiction too quickly. This reading was definitely as if for the first time; in fact I could remember almost nothing of any previous readings. It's a great book, and I'd be embarrassed to say anything more than that except that I read it with several maps of Dublin spread out on my desk, and none of the maps was detailed enough. I also read the copious and excellent (although some were very obvious) notes by Thomas Brown very assiduously, and a couple of critical essays on Joyce. But much of the material in the critical pieces seemed trivial when compared to the joy of reading the books closely without having to think of whether or not the stories are linked and searching for symbolism more subtle than what one notices just in an ordinary close reading. But for me so pleasurable was my reading Ifelt as if it was time to give up my project and devote the rest of my life to a study of Joyce. However, there are quite enough people doing that as it is. So I shall move on, reluctantly. It was a delicious, slow read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A classic analysis of Dublin life, 16 May 2009
By 
B. Williams "Ben Williams" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
I approached this book with some caution, having heard much about it but knowing little about its real content. However, after reading its stories several times and getting a grasp of the mood of the book it makes a real impact as an effective commentary on Dublin life in the early 20th century. The book consists of 14 separate short stories depicting characters and relationships within the largely lower-middle class circles of Dublin society. Joyce's pessimsm at Irish society comes across strongly in a number of the stories, appearing almost contemptuous of the emptiness and mundane nature of many of the characters' lives. This book's short stories need to be read time and again to grasp the subtleties and hidden meanings that lie within. The most amazing fact of this books is that Joyce wrote the stories while still in his 20s, a sign of a quite preciocious literary talent, particulraly in relation to the rich and evocative descriptions of Dublin's urban geography contained throughout.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile read, but not particularly a page-turner, 31 May 2008
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
This is a collection of short stories, centering around characters in Dublin. Joyce's grasp of human psychology is profound, and he weaves this into narratives of domestic life and tensions. He manages to create a nostalgia within these stories that resonates with a wistful sadness, almost as if the personalities encapsulate his own regret or yearning for the past.

Although the ability of the book to really grab the reader is limited, Joyce's writing and the depth of character of his stories, really makes the effort worthwhile.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Funny, never Boring, 2 April 2006
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
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".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Work of art...once you appreciate it, 12 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
I read this book for my A-level English Literature studies. I`ll be frank...at first, I found it to be terrible, not so much that it was boring, but that at the end of some of the stories, nothing seemed to have happened. But, after we studied it in bit more detail, I began to appreciate it...really began to appreciate it. It, to me, is a masterpiece. Joyce captures moments in life, "epiphanies", which are so subtly written, yet so potent, that you really do see "Dubliners" as a work of art. In this frame of mind, all the stories make sense, they all bear out some meaning. By living out the lives of those caught in the vast social spectrum of Dublin, Joyce reveals to us not only individuals, but also human lives, in their joy, pain, hope, love, loss, etc. Simply beautiful.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine art. Definitively presented., 19 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
I am embarrassed that it took me so long to get around to reading this book. As I am a fan of the short story it was a heinous oversight. I was moved by so many of the descriptive passages. The accounts of Dublin topography evoked a feeling of being in attendance with the characters step by step on their journeys through the streets of this intriguing old city. I feel unworthy to pass judgement further except to say that it is essential reading not just for the literary student but for any lover of the art of short story telling at its absolute best.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and sensitive collection, poignant and honest., 31 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
Dubliners is understated but evocative and the control of emotion is immaculate, especially in the rending conclusion to the Dead. Much of their ambience comes from their clear portrayal of incidents without expressing a message. If you ever read any short stories, it should be these beautiful sketches by a great, and sensitive, genius. It cannot be rated too highly. It's by Joyce. It's short. You've no excuse.
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Dubliners
Dubliners by James Joyce (Paperback - 25 Jan 2007)
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