Book Review: Dubliners by James Joyce

April 8, 2013

Dubliners by James Joyce is a collection of short stories published in 1914. The stories are loosely tied together and are considered a classic collection in world literature.

  • 152 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486268705

Book Review Dubliners by James Joyce

My rating for Dubliners4

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More books by James Joyce

I read Dubliners by James Joyce as an attempt to read out of my comfort zone as well as to read some well known “must read” books which I somehow (and by “somehow” I mean purposely) skipped over. I generally don’t read short stories, but I’ve heard so much about Dubliners that I decided to try it out.

The first reaction I had to the book was not a positive one, it seemed to me that Joyce wrote the book begging for it to be analyzed and dug into ad nauseaum. I don’t like those type of books, I like thinking more deeply into a book and trying to read what the author meant, not necessarily what is written in black and white. However, when an author takes unnecessarily steps to make their work purposely difficult to comprehend, and then only by a few elitists, is simply not my cup of tea.

As I continued to read though, I found myself liking the stories more and more. Joyce certainly knows how to create an atmosphere and describe objects in order to give the reader a full comprehension of what it’s like being in Dublin.

Joyce seemed to be able to make a point just by setting up his scenes, rather than have his characters make them for him. While Joyce does sometimes does make explicit points, those only serve to enhance the implicit ones made during the story instead of standing on their own, which in my opinion made the stories very powerful.

I am not very familiar with the times in Ireland in which the story takes place and I had a feeling that I missed a few jokes and observations, however I still enjoyed reading the stories and the harsh reality they present. Dubliners is certainly a worthwhile read, even if the reader struggles through a few paragraphs in order to gain a better understanding of the stories and the time they take place in.

The book consists of 15 separate stories, the most famous might be The Dead (which was made into a movie by John Huston starring his daughter Angelica). The stories touch many aspects of Irish life but mostly on how different classes of people try to interact and the unending quest for upward mobility.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

More books by James Joyce

Zohar – Man of la Book

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One Comment

  • Alex BaughApril 9, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I read this in school otherwise it would have been out of my comfort zone also and I would have missed a lot of the jokes, etc as well. I liked it, but didn’t love it. Kudos to you for reading it, though and for the honest review.

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