The first word that comes to mind after reading Ulysses is blowhard. I was warned when I shared the title for Book #1 with others and found not a soul that had read it or even wanted to read it (was Marilyn Monroe really reading Ulysses?). This was one of Modern Library’s book titles that my mother had listed as “not interested” and I now know why.
I am of Irish ancestry so I’d hoped to find some biting sarcasm and Irish humor, but instead found inane dialog, humorless limericks, and run on sentences that ran on for pages (yes pages). I get the whole stream of consciousness concept, but that was not a consistent tool used throughout the book and where it was, was ineffective.
I read the Odyssey and enjoyed it and had great difficulty seeing how it could be compared to Ulysses. I’m sure there are several college courses that discuss this ad nauseum and no, I am not interested in their course objectives.
If it were possible for me to meet James Joyce, I am sure I would not like him. I imagine he was pompous, rude and exuded an overbearing air of superiority. I would have kicked him out of Ireland too; not for his writing, but rather for what I imagine was his ostentatious manner.
I believe this book made it to the numero uno spot based on the controversy of its publication rather than its substance.
This book was torture for me, but since it is only the first of 100 I’ve committed to reading in 100 weeks, I must persevere even knowing that book number 3 is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by…James Joyce (God help me!).
My rating on a scale of 1-10 is a generous 2 and a big PU!!!
Next up, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby…