Well I am only 20 pages from the end of another James Joyce book. Mr. Joyce does not disappoint. In Ulysses fashion, I am reading and having no idea what he is saying to me. I am listening but my grey matter cannot process the deep thoughts. Before we get there let me back up..
Hell – WOWZA! I think James Joyce was a priest in a former life. He uses an entire section of the book to outline the lecture of what hell would be like. It’s smell, taste, touch, sound and vision in vivid detail. Not only did it scare Stephan into piety, I am convinced I need to go to confession every week from now until my death. The description weaved with quotations from the bible and Saints was masterfully done. And for a change (unfortunately the topic was the fate of my soul) something I understood. This is a pivotal point for Stephan and his struggle with Catholicism and the rigid rules (or perceived rigid rules). He realizes that he cannot be perfect, he isn’t Jesus. What now? How do you follow the rules when you know you are born to break them? What is he to do with this knowledge? A quandry many of us face everyday. You have to read the book to find out.
As the book progresses and Stephan ages it becomes complicated (and wordy) just as we do as people. Right now, he is in college and we are introduced to some familiar faces from Ulysses. Interesting to me because I always thought the group Stephan ran with later in life was older than him. Seems some of them were college pals.
The portion I am reading now is Stephan discussing the meaning of beauty with Lynch. This was way over my head. Lots of philosophy – where is the Math, I ask you? Algebra, I demand variables! The good news – at least I know he doesn’t die in the end. I am intrigued to see how he gets into teaching… time to read!