This is an astounding tour de force. Ulysses is a notoriously difficult read but, when listening to this, one is simply swept along, unconcerned about such difficulties as foreign-language quotations, obscure allusions, opaque puns, crazy word-games etc. On the printed page, such things are frustrating for the reader, who feels ill-inclined to continue with a book which he or she doesn't fully undertand. But this brilliant reading places such difficulites in their proper perspective.
For me, this reading revealed the humour of the book for the first time. The Aeolus episode had me in stitches; the Cyclops episode and the end of Circe made me literally cry with laughter. And, in this reading, the very ending of the novel, with its great surge of warmth and love, is almost overwhelming.
One could quibble about the occasional pronunciation. And maybe Marcella Riordan, who reads Molly Bloom, could somehow have suggested the total lack of punctuation in the final Penelope episode. (Yes, I appreciate that the poor woman has got to breathe...!) But these are minor quibbles. The reading(s), production and presentation are all absolutely first rate. I hope this splendid recording will win new admirers for this great masterpiece.
Norton and Riordan have also recorded a very abridged Finnegans Wake. Let us hope that someday they - and Naxos - will give us the whole thing.
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