Kelly's Reviews > Dubliners

Dubliners by James Joyce
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 04, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, 20th-century-early-to-mid
Recommended for: Joyce fans, people who want to read the perfect short story: "The Dead"
Read in January, 2007

This collection of short stories set in Dublin was written by an immature, youthful Joyce. He is not yet the man who wrote Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. He's young, and he's seeding the ground with what will make him famous. I actually adore these kinds of novels. The young work of a great master. Showing him in his process, and watching the maturity grow as you read over his work. I think perhaps it reminds me that these men were not luminous beings who were gifted naturally to pour out the pages of masterpieces. They learned and changed, and did so profoundly. It also gives me faith in just what people can become.

This is in no way Joyce's best written work. It's not the most deep. It is him just beginning his adventures and branching out. Some of the stories are short, and simple. They all deal with repression, smallness, cold. But as a whole they all convey a sense of desolation and heartbreak that cannot help but touch you and draw you into the work. I am always drawn to works that are able to do that to me. With Joyce it is doubly impressive, since his characters are seldom likable or sympathetic. But there you are, with their feelings all over you, nonetheless. It may not be sympathy. In fact, it probably isn't. The characters generally don't deserve it (with the exception of the story Eveline, and several characters in the Dead). It is heavy. It is not easy going. I would recommend reading it in chunks so it doesn't overwhelm you with the sheer dreariness of the stories he is telling.

Also? The story at the end, "The Dead," has been deemed far and wide as one of the best short stories ever written. I think that that is entirely correct.
20 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Dubliners.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

03/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Taylor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Taylor Two Gallants got their band name from this book, which, coupled with the fact that I've never read anything by Joyce, makes me want to read this.

message 2: by Kelly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:14AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kelly Like I said, the collection is hard going. Many of these are simple stories, not the Joyce of Joyce that people think of. But the story at the end? "The Dead"? Even if you never read the rest of these stories, read "The Dead". It's so fantastic. That said, I would recommend it if you want to try Joyce. It's much better than trying to dive headfirst into Ulysses. People die that way. It's tragic.

message 3: by Erin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin the dead is, by far, my favorite work of joyce's as well.

message 4: by Ally (new)

Ally The brand new group - Bright Young Things - is nominating books to read in January & Dubliners is among them. Its the perfect place to discuss your favourite books and authors from the early 20th Century, why not take a look...

Kalliope I agree, The Dead is an extraordinary story... I still have to read his works from maturity... but I am looking forward to it..

Kelly I have such a strong memory of images from the end of The Dead, even now, seven or so years after reading it. It is so evocative.

G.D. Master It is strange that many people find this work different from Joyce’s later and larger works of fiction. Joyce seems known for being ahead of his time, modern, like the stories in this collection. Pointing out his youth when he wrote this is something to consider. Some believe in reading this before Ulysses others do not. What is certain, “The Dead” is a great and memorable story.

Mark Andre' People die diving into Joyce, I love that!

Mark Andre' "immature"? youthful, yes. immature, never. If your interested, and haven't already done so, you should try reading the original version of The Sisters: the so-called Homestead version. Then reread the story published in Dubliners. The changes the author makes are damn interesting. (I just read a Mark Twain quote this morning where he said that every time you go to use the word "very" substitute "damn" instead.)

back to top