Yes, I did it! I completed Ulysses by James Joyce all 738 pages worth. I am trying to decide how I feel about this book. My son kept asking why I was reading a boring book, I explained that the book was not boring, it was a difficult read. It was a difficult read, it was hard, it was complicated, it was challenging my intellect, it was long, it was erratic, it was far from boring. My husband read excerpts and could not believe the level of language in the book. He thinks I should feel smart upon finishing the tome.
So do I feel smarter? Yes, a bit. I learned a few things especially vocabulary. I am immensely proud of myself that I completed it. It is a very difficult read and honestly I would not have gotten the Odyssey connection on my own. (Besides the title) Once I did understand the sections and learned a bit more about the Odyssey, I could see the parallels. (Except for the faithful wife! Penelope Molly is not.)
I do understand now why this book was considered obscene. Joyce’s discussion of sex and sexuality is quite risque even in today’s culture. Yet, I would not say it was pornographic, it was factual. He wrote about the thoughts and feelings of most human beings. It is just that they are thoughts and feelings that are not shared freely in society. He kept with his gendre of writing and did not hold back anything. We were fully into the minds of Bloom, Stephen and Molly – the good, the bad, the bizarre and the risque.
I did find myself enjoying portions of the book and trying to find the threads and hidden meanings. I will miss the quick wit and sarcasm and Joyce’s love of the pedantic. I hope that Stephen finds what he is looking for in himself and stays the sarcastic, intelligent, charming man that he is. That Bloom , comes to terms with the loss of his son, mends his relationship with his wife, continues to ponder the scientific and executes one of his well thought out ideas for success.
Will I read Ulysses again? Hell, no! Will I recommend it to a friend? Yes – if they are planning on expanding their minds and starting a blog with a friend. If not, no, non, nein, nyet, Ní hea!
Off to the library – The Great Gatsby here I come! Only 99 more novels to go!