"Take all, keep all. My soul walks with me, form of forms." It's a 400-page poem.
The streamed conscience format of Ulysses makes it very difficult to follow. I found the audio CD to be much easier to understand, because the narrator changes volume to indicate thoughts vs. speech. On the otherhand, in order to hear the narrator, I had to constantly vary the volume on my stereo.
I am glad others found this book impossible to listen to in a car. I would not recommend this book.
I am an educated person and hold two post graduate degrees, but I found this audiobook impossible to follow. Perhaps the story is easier to understand in written format, when the reader can see the character's names and follow the story at a more leisurely pace. I do not recommend this audiobook.
I have never begun reading a book (or in this case, begun listening), and stopped before it was through. This was patently the most boring work I have ever had to endure. Completely tedious and un-interesting, the characters were flat and un-inspired. If anybody actually makes it to the end of this book, they deserve an award.
Keep away from sharp objects...you may be tempted to use them on yourself with this book.
Anyone renting Ulysses probably doesn't need a review of the book. Instead I will comment on the reading by Jim Norton (and in the last section by Marcella Riordan). Mr. Norton in particular does a superlative job of capturing the nuances of such a complex and difficult book. I doubt if it's possible to do full justice to the book in an audio format, but I can't imagine it being done much better than this.
This was impossible to listen to in the car. The volume changes from line to line were unbearable - changing from barely audible mumbling to speaker rattling screaming and back again in an instant. The problem was compunded by the accents.
I never got around to reading this book so as many of us do, I put it on my rental shelf. It's a real pitty when the reader ruins a novel by whispering one moment and then shouting the next. It makes trying to listen in the car unpleasant. I'm constantly trying to hear the whispers then frantically turn it down when the shouts blast my ears out. Even the volume of narration without the variations from talking as different characters are inconsistant. 2 stars for the story, zero for the craptastic narration.
I really tried to like this book, but could not. The plots are very detailed, the narrative is chatty. I couldn't get past disk two, so this is not really a fair review. Your mileage may vary...
I read Ulysses clean through at least twice in times when there were no recorded books. Listening to it now, I hear a richness from the narrators' voices as they pick up the Joycean rhythms and sounds -- altogether pleasing. I still know how to read a book through to the end, but I picked this one from the audio list to keep me at my exercise on a stationary bicycle, 33 minutes a day. When the cd's run out in the middle of the session, I just let them start again -- comfortable that way.
The parts of the book included are entertaining, but with several whole chapters missing, this abridged version is far too chopped up to have any continuity or meaning.
This book is in fact funny, exciting, trivial, profound, obsessive, and contains an entire world and view of the world (and of Dublin and religion and just about everything else).
I suggest... one of the many annotations and plot summaries (i.e. by Harry Blamires and/or Don Gifford) and read it out loud with another person, preferably someone who is Catholic or Jewish and who has at least a scintilla of taste.
Finally, under no circumstances should you make any judgements on this work without reading the UNABRIDGED version.
Once you have digested this book to the point where you love it, your mind and being will be expanded by more than any drug could ever accomplish.
"What just happened?" I thought to myself as this tedious novel came to a close. While I applaud the spirit of what Joyce was attempting to accomplish with stream of consciousness prose, the application fell short for me. It’s difficult to rate the level of mental paralysis attained as I labored through exhaustive descriptions and explanations of everything from furniture arrangement to bowel movements. In Joyce’s defense, however, I wasn’t alive at the time of the writing, and perhaps life in Dublin, Ireland at the turn of the century is completely beyond my scope of understanding and enjoyment.