When I read this, I think I read it on two levels. First, I went through a period where I couldn't put Leon Uris down. And I think this was still in tWhen I read this, I think I read it on two levels. First, I went through a period where I couldn't put Leon Uris down. And I think this was still in that period because I was in college then. And I certainly remember sitting at the kitchen table reading one or another of his books late into the night.
And, at this point, I hadn't read too many books about Ireland. It was a good story. But it shouldn't be taken as history. As I learned when I read a historical acocunt of the Irish Rebellion. The forward in that book stated they didn't want people to think of the Uris book as the story of what really happened and the book I was reading (I can't remember the title or the author and I don't know if I still have it or not) was remedying that situation. At least for the people who read it. ...more
Covers the investigation of the death of a Swift scholar. This lets the author bring in a lot of quotes from Swift. Not sure if it includes his infamoCovers the investigation of the death of a Swift scholar. This lets the author bring in a lot of quotes from Swift. Not sure if it includes his infamous quote about letting the Irish eat their young if they are so hungry (this was satirical). ...more
A critical biography of the Anglo-Irish playwright. One of the leading lights of the Irish Literary Theater (the Abbey Players) along with Lady GregorA critical biography of the Anglo-Irish playwright. One of the leading lights of the Irish Literary Theater (the Abbey Players) along with Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats.
I didn't know much about him, other than he was author of The Playboy of the Western World. Apparently when this play was introduced, it caused riots in the streets.
This books winds up being a combination of biography of Synge, critique of his works and the early history of the Irish Literary Theater. ...more
This is the follow up to his book Angela's Ashes. I think the previous book leaves the reader with him getting on a boat to America. And he's still onThis is the follow up to his book Angela's Ashes. I think the previous book leaves the reader with him getting on a boat to America. And he's still on that boat when the second book starts. It is more about how he made his way in America. What are some of the things that turned him around - like a bartender telling him he ought to find his way to the library instead of spending so much time in his bar. And he took him up on it. I think he worked on the docks. Went into the Army (not by choice). And he went to school. And he got married. And he helped at least one brother to come over, maybe more. and through it all he was drinking fairly heavily. But he got educated and became a teacher.
The first book was about his boyhood and his mother doing whatever she had to do to get by. This one is about his real coming of age and learning that there are other things that can be done. ...more
I loved this book. I started out buying it as a gift for my mother. That might have been the last time I visited her at Christmas time (I'm not crazyI loved this book. I started out buying it as a gift for my mother. That might have been the last time I visited her at Christmas time (I'm not crazy about driving trips in the winter). And while there, I started reading it. I knew it I had to buy it for myself when I returned home. I did. And I read the book in about a week, if that long.
I'm part Irish. But you don't have to be Irish to like this book. Matter of fact, a lot of the Irish didn't like it because it exposed just how poverty stricken they were. And many people feel it is exaggerated.
But I think anyone who cares anything about people would like this book. It does have "in-your-face" poverty. Children who die because doctors aren't available or they are malnourished. People who look around and believe that if they stay where they are, they will be destined for the same poverty stricken life that their parents have.
To me this was a very moving book. You could be crying your eyes out on one page at the sorrow of it all and on the very next page you are laughing hysterically at the folly of it all. But, maybe that's just the Irish in me. ...more
I finished last night/early this morning. Feels like an accomplishment. I read it with a group from the Library and I got a friend from work to join mI finished last night/early this morning. Feels like an accomplishment. I read it with a group from the Library and I got a friend from work to join me. So whenever either of us felt like throwing in the towel, there was someone there to suggest hanging in longer. Less than half of the Library group made it all the way through.
At times it felt like torture. But I began to notice that there was a decent episode (chapter) for about every three or four torturous ones. And even the torturous ones had a lot to say. But Joyce appears to know just how much torture he could put his reader through and yet keep them hanging on.
Because I think the last two to three episodes were worth the entire book. Possibly the last episode on its own is worth reading the entire book. I saw a film once, possibly “James Joyce’s Women” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089364/) although the only woman I really remember her playing was Molly Bloom. But I expect, at least in this context, the most important one is Molly Bloom. I’ll probably have to look for that film again.
On the whole, although it didn’t always seem it at the time, I really enjoyed this book. Of course, I’ll have to read it multiple times in order to really enjoy it. I saw a review on Amazon saying that on the first reading you should probably use assistance from The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses, on the second reading you should probably use assistance from the Stuart Gilbert book, and, finally, on the third, you could probably do it on your own.
To be fair, some of the reason parts of it seem torturous is because of the many styles of writing used in the book. I saw many influences and my friend saw many others. It all depended on your background and education or reading you had done. There were many references from Dubliners, which I read many years ago (and would have read again except that I am not sure where it is), and from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners, which I do have sitting on my bookshelf. Had I known it was a prequel I might have read it long ago.
A number of years ago I read Bartholomew Gill's The Death of a Joyce Scholar wherein he determines he needs to read the book and people tell him that he will need these other chap books in order to understand the one book. And for a while he shuffles through them. And then he discovers it - he doesn’t need those books at all. It turns out the book is just a bit of craic. Especially if you are Irish Catholic, I suppose. I’m part Irish but not Catholic, very little classical training. So I needed the other books.
Was it worth a year of my life? Yes, yes and yes. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. This was more about his professional life as a teacher than his personal life which was pretty well covered in his earlierI really enjoyed this book. This was more about his professional life as a teacher than his personal life which was pretty well covered in his earlier books, Angela's Ashes and 'Tis. Although he is still living off the "miserable Irish Catholic childhood". But here he is trying to relate that childhood to those that he was trying to teach in several schools in New York City.
This was originally my mother's book (I might have given it to her) and then she gave to my sister-in-law who gave it to her mother who gave it to her other three daughters and back to my SIL and then I got it.
We had the luxury of just being able to enjoy the book for its own sake.
I think I first read this when I was in high school, probably too young to grasp it. I re-read it every now and again. Some stories just stay with youI think I first read this when I was in high school, probably too young to grasp it. I re-read it every now and again. Some stories just stay with you forever - somewhere in the back of your mind. Only too pop up in your consciousness when reminded of something.
For a while I was re-reading "The Dead" every year and alternating that with the film. And almost every time I would see some nuew nuance.
I was looking at a book by Amanda Cross the other day ("The James Joyce Murder) when I took a second look at the chapter names and suddenly "knew" that those chapters were named for the stories in this book. Even though I haven't picked up the book for a couple of years. ...more