Ulysses

  • by James Joyce
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 30 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Joyce’s experimental masterpiece set a new standard for modernist fiction, pushing the English language past all previous thresholds in its quest to capture a day in the life of an Everyman in turn-of-the-century Dublin. Obliquely borrowing characters and situations from Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce takes us on an internal odyssey along the current of thoughts, impressions, and experiences that make up the adventure of living an average day.
As his characters stroll, eat, ruminate, and argue through the streets of Dublin, Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness narrative artfully weaves events, emotions, and memories in a free flow of imagery and associations.
Full of literary references, parody, and uncensored vulgarity, Ulysses has been considered controversial and challenging, but always brilliant and rewarding.

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What the Critics Say

“Comes nearer to being the perfect revelation of a personality than any book in existence." (New York Times)
"To my mind one of the most significant and beautiful books of our time." (Gilbert Seldes, The Nation)
“Joyce soars to such rhapsodies of beauty as have probably never been equaled in English prose fiction." (Edmund Wilson, The New Republic)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pure Joyce

The reading is magnificent. Through the crowded pages and episodes of literally hundreds of characters, the narrator, John Lee, manages to catch in all their tones, quirks, and color the distinct voices of each. His inflection, pitch, and cadence is clear and deadly accurate. Not only are the rolling rhythms of Joyce's prose maintained with uncanny naturalness--thoughts are recognizable as such (not merely rendered as captioned overlays) and the tones, timbres, moods, and motives of the enormous flood of speech are rendered in as richly and varied accents as they would if one were walking the streets of Dublin.

From heavy Latinate meditations to the onomatopoeic replication of linotype machines in the newspaper office and the raucous imitation of a gramophone recording of a deceased grandfather, Lee's renderings are palpably believable as both the realities they represent and, more importantly, as empathetic interpretations of the individual hearts and minds they issue from.

I was first a bit wary of the lower cost and ratings of this version compared with the nearly tripled price of the most reviewed recording (who knows what they were thinking), but after listening to the provided sample of its long stretches of rushed and flattened monotone and hokey interpolated music recordings, I moved on to find this gem. It does what Joyce's greatest gift does--bring the full panorama of humanity to life purely through language.
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- sleiii "sleiii"

Incomprehensible

I give Joyce credit for trying something new and perhaps in written form this book might be interesting but as an audio book, I found it to be completely incomprehensible. I had absolutely no idea what was going on even after I went to Wikipedia to read their summary as I was going along. For the first time ever, I have given up on a book. I got about 10 hours into it but it became drudgery to try to keep up with what was going on. I found myself zoning out and rewinding all the time. I wish I could say I loved this book as the other reviewers have but it was way too far out for me.

Perhaps most disappointing was that I love John Lee so much but even his performance was mediocre and could not save this book. He does an admirable job with his Irish accent but it was so thick I couldn't understand much of it.

I cannot recommend this book unless you already know the story, are from Ireland and are on some kind of hallucinogenic. Otherwise, it was all gobbledygook to me.
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- Kenneth

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-21-2010
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.