To quote a famous old Alka-Seltzer commercial, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” That was a long song.
If you are searching for an intelligent review of the James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, look elsewhere. The book has been out for a few years. Plenty of literati of all sorts, including hyper-, semi-, and il-, the type who like to read their own writing, have attempted to scribe meaningful words about it. Some of it may even be good reading. I’ll never know, and I’ll avoid getting into that fray myself.
Ulysses seems to be telling a story about some poor cuckold named Leopold Bloom, and another sad sack named Steven Dedalus, but I’ll be darned if I could tell you what it is. Reading the book is like overhearing a private conversation, or maybe a guy talking in his sleep.
Whatever it is the book was about, the language was certainly impressive, even if I didn’t get the drift — as drift it indeed did. The language contains non-stop puns and references, tons of which I even got, much to my surprise. Hey, I’m no dummy. I’ve read stuff. I can’t help but be impressed by the virtuosity, if need for intelligibility is discounted as a necessary value.
What the book tells me about James Joyce himself — supposedly a lot, as we’re told the character of Steven Dedalus is autobiographical — is that he’s arrogant, and that of the top one hundred people in the arts I would love to have been able to meet, he wouldn’t have made the list. I sincerely doubt he could have been a friend of mine.
Another bucket list item checked off.