Book Review / Dubliners by James Joyce

Dubliners is a set of fifteen stories that focus on its residents, the political climate, and its social structure in the early 1900’s. Most of the stories deal with defining moments in a characters life that impact their futures. One thing that instantly appealed to me was Joyce’s ability to describe a scene and illustrate the environment in such few words of actual description. The people felt very real because of how carefully he treated them. He certainly didn’t like to spell anything out for the reader which I think is a good thing, but also a difficult thing to interpret. When he tells a story, so much of the message portrayed can go unnoticed at first. Some of the stories I understood right away and connected with them in a rewarding fashion, but others took some time to get into and then as the story ended I felt lost. Afterward, I read a summary of the story online and its message came to me, but by that time the moment had past and I felt like I missed out. So, for this reason, a reread will be very beneficial to me. I’m still new to short story collections and I prefer when they grab me early on, where with novels I know I have time to spend with it so I can be patient. This collection often has slow buildups, so some stories, particularly the ones that went over my head, lost my interest because they took so much time to get to the point and then the story ended without closure. Ambiguous endings are fine if I can draw something from it, so since I didn’t find meaning in it the story was lost on me.

Some standout stories include the nostalgic and adventurous “An Encounter”, the portrayal of a new father in “A Little Cloud”, and the epiphany presented in “The Dead”. There were surely some others I liked as well, but I think these will be the first I return to. Though this book didn’t change my life by any means, I had a good time trying to dive deep into these stories. There’s something great about reading a work by an author when they know exactly what they are talking about. That’s what I got here.

Date Finished: April 8, 2018

Page Count: 207

Rating: 3 of 5 stars


2 thoughts on “Book Review / Dubliners by James Joyce

    1. Glad i’m not the only one who wasn’t understanding everything. I can see myself returning to this years from now. I can’t imagine what reading Ulysses or Finnegan’s Wake is like.

      Liked by 1 person

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