Dubliners (Collector's Library) Hardcover – 1 Mar 2005
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About the Author
James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. He came from a reasonably wealthy family which, predominantly because of the recklessness of Joyce's father John, was soon plunged into financial hardship. The young Joyce attended Clongowes College, Belvedere College and, eventually, University College, Dublin. In 1904 he met Nora Barnacle, and eloped with her to Croatia. From this point until the end of his life, Joyce lived as an exile, moving from Trieste to Rome, and then to Zurich and Paris. His major works are Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922) and Finnegan's Wake (1939). He died in 1941, by which time he had come to be regarded as one of the greatest novelists the world ever produced.
Top Customer Reviews
Hearing the stories read seems to me to be the perfect way to revisit or discover them for the first time. Each story in this CD box set is introduced by a period song transferred from a 78 rpm record, setting the scene for the faultless readings by Jim Norton to make a completely captivating whole.
The stories vary considerably, from the simply melancholic to, for example, 'Counterparts' which chillingly depicts drunkenness, menace and violence. They have all the resonance of a sad song telling of a love lost, a missed opportunity, the 'if only' or 'what might have been'.
This set contains two triple CD cases. Inside Part One there is a 12 page booklet which includes a useful description of the context of the stories and the struggle Joyce had to get them published. The Part Two booklet contains additional notes by Roger Marsh. Each booklet also contains several photographs of Dublin past, and the details of each track and timings.
Dubliners Part 1 CD contains: The Sisters, An Encounter, Araby, Eveline, After the Race, Two Gallants, The Boarding House, A Little Cloud, Counterparts and Clay.
Dubliners Part 2 CD contains: A Painful Case, Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A Mother, Grace, and The Dead.
Worth every penny, many times over!
Anyway, onto the Naxos audiobook. This six-disc set contains the all the stories, over about seven hours. The reader is Jim Norton, best known to me as Bishop Len Brennan from 'Father Ted'. I initially wondered if that was going to be a distraction, but (thankfully) it turns out that his normal reading voice is nothing like that character's distinct style. Norton does the range of characters very well, even in stories like 'Ivy Day in the Committee Room', where I never had any problems telling the multiple characters apart during lenghty dialogues. He even sings a few times! Naxos has also used some suitable music to top & tail most of the stories here, which adds suitably to the atmosphere.
Anyway, whether you've enjoyed 'Dubliners' before, or are trying to start on Joyce with his most accessible work, I can highly recommend this version. I've now bought the Naxos version of 'Finnegans Wake', in the hope that an (abridged) audio reading of that book will make it even faintly comprehensible...
The sum of the collection is greater than its individual parts, however, so that even the shorter character sketches add something to the reader's understanding of Dublin and its citizens. Despite the wide range of class and circumstance Joyce addresses, each one has a sense of total authenticity, of a deep understanding of how this society intermixes. There is a common theme running throughout, of people trapped, either by circumstance or because of decisions they have made, and many of the stories focus on a moment in the central characters' lives when they become aware of their trap. Drunkenness, violence and the stifling stranglehold of the Catholic church all play their part in showing a society where aspiration is a rare commodity, usually thwarted. I understand some of the stories were considered shocking at the time for their language and sexual content. Given the relative mildness of them to modern eyes, this fact in itself casts another light on how socially restricted the society was at the time of writing.
The prose is somewhat understated, with Joyce relying more on the penetrating examination of character rather than any flamboyancy of language or stylistic quirks, and that works well for me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The most famous of the short stories in this collection is of course The Dead. A beautiful and tragic story of lost love and memories. Read morePublished on 31 Jan. 2011 by Lily Lit
If you tried but failed to understand Joyce's Ulysses, as I did, you need to know that Dubliners is much easier reading.
It is not what I expected. Read more
Joyce was 40 yrs old when Ulysses was published, it is a day in the life of a husband and father of Joyce's age (at publication). Read morePublished 9 months ago by James C Brandon
Very good book, worth reading, interesting themes and effective use of modernist techniques. Good edition here and very economical. Would buy this edition for other titles.Published on 8 Nov. 2013 by Cool Reviews
Dubliners is a fabulous collection of short stories, beautifully written. I bought the kindle version to supplement the paperback, so that I could take it on holiday more easily,... Read morePublished on 11 April 2013 by Amazon Customer
A well written collection of short stories by one of the english speaking people's most revered authors. This is no light reading. Read morePublished on 29 Jun. 2014 by Bob Studholme
Day to day life in Dublin captured. A social commentary and insight into the minds of the characters he presentsPublished on 9 Jun. 2013 by tomstaff
Each story describes the circumstances of a low-end Dubliner's life during which a shift of view takes place. Read morePublished 18 months ago by joseph graham