A SIMPLE REACTION TO ULYSSES. I had promised Nick my reactions to ULYSSES. I have now finished it. Obviously, it’s a great book, a book I’ve always wanted to read. I enjoyed it. One reaction will seem naive. As I read it, I wasn’t sure whether the narrative would work. The book did not have a conventional plot where the reader is hooked from the first page and is absorbed in how the characters will resolve their problems (think Dickens or Jane Austen or Dostoevsky). The interest for the reader is created by the verbal fireworks, the variety of styles, and the many levels at which symbols work. The portrayal of daily life is at a level of detail never before attempted. The incidents in the novel are ordinary, without dramatic tension. Two men of different ages wander around Dublin for a day; they meet; the younger one gets very drunk; the older one takes care of him; they go to the older man’s house, where thy both drink cocoa; the younger man leaves. At the end, I was pleased that the story of the two men did reach a satisfying climax and a satisfying closing.

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  1. Nick says:

    I’m surprised that you liked it, in a way. My professor had seemed to think that it was a book of “almosts”. He really emphasized how adrift Leopold was with the loss of Rudy, and that they do wind up going their separate ways – that he cannot provide a home for Stephen.

    I prefer your outlook.

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