s.penkevich's Reviews > Ulysses

Ulysses by James Joyce
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Sep 24, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: times-100-best, dear_dirty_dublin, favorites
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Ben Linus
Recommended for: Just read it!
Read from March 13 to April 05, 2012

Often considered one of the ‘greatest novel of the 20th century’, James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, is both a feat and feast of sheer literary brilliance. Reimagining Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey as the travels and trials of an everyday man through the crowded streets and pubs of Dublin, Joyce weaves strikingly versatile prose styles and varying perspectives to encompass the whole of life within the hours of a single standard day, June 16th, 1904. This day, dubbed Bloomsday, is celebrated with increasing popularity in modern times, which is a testament to the lasting greatness of the novel (and to the desire to drink and be merry of all people). Instead of taking a daily life and elevating it to mythical proportions, Joyce has taken mythology and reversed it, shrinking it into an average day, which in turn gives each character and action a heroic sense about them. In this way, even besting a drunken nationalist spewing anti-sematic sentiments at a bar can be seen as a legendary conquest. Ulysses is an epic in its own right, setting the bar for literature up to the stratosphere as we immerse ourselves in Joyce’s dear dirty Dublin.

While one must have their wits about them to navigate this laborious labyrinth of literature, the task is highly rewarding. It is very understandable that so many people do not finish this novel, or just plain dislike it; this book can be downright frustrating. Combining the heavy use of cryptic and dated allusions, obfuscating narration, an enviable vocabulary and pages of dense prose to decipher, Joyce intentionally set out to create a literary odyssey of words to conquer saying ‘I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of ensuring one’s immortality.’ Readers should be warned this is a tough novel. Often times this novel inspired such frustration that it was tempting to slam the cover for good, and it wasn’t until the second half that I was finally able to recognize that this novel had written its way into my heart. Upon reflecting back after completion, only then did I realize that this truly is one of the greatest books ever written and I have come to love it. Perhaps this is akin to the feeling those who run marathons or climb mountains feel; the adventure is a long, arduous struggle where one must keep focus and positive to battle through, yet the pride and elation of completion more than makes up for the struggles. I do not wish to make this book seem like it is only for masochists though, as there are more than enough rewards to reap along the way. This is some of the finest displays of writing I have ever encountered, and offers a broad range of style. Many people fail to mention that this book is downright funny as well. There are countless little jokes, such as characters running from a bar so they can fart loudly unheard, endless sexual jokes and quips, and many funny characterizations. It should be noted as well that there is no shame in seeking aide for this book. Originally I didn’t want to, but there are so many esoteric allusions and puzzles that an annotation guide and a few essays really helped my understanding. This is a novel to teach to yourself, not just read – there are people who spent years at universities digging through this book and it is still widely debated. Even the great Ulysses (or Odysseus depending on who your asking) had to seek aide in his epic journey.

The variety of style in this book is highly impressive. Each of the 18 chapters, aside from being thematically built around a corresponding episode of The Odyssey, has its own unique set of techniques and lexicon, often parodying the styles of newspapers or current women’s magazines, traditional Irish mythological styles, a chapter dissolving the world into scientific properties, the famous stream-of-consciousness, 200 pages of jocular hallucinations in play format, and a dizzying array of prose from flowery language to the language of flowers. Joyce had such a love of style that there is even an entire chapter devoted to alternating writing styles as he parodies many famous authors throughout history (calling all fans of David Mitchell or If on a winter's night a traveler) in a swirling scene of drunken debates. The language is often quite playful, lyrical and full of puns. He even uses sentence structure to convey motion, such as Gerty’s limp: ‘Tight boots? No. She’s lame! O!’. If just for the use of language alone, this is one of the most spectacular books ever written and practically killed my dictionary. Also, it is interesting that C.G. Jung diagnosed Joyce as having schizophrenia based on reading this book due to the rapidly changing styles and the use of playful rhyming and jangling speech. Joyce's daughter did in fact have schizophrenia.

One of Ulysses most discussed features is Joyce's technique of placing the reader within the minds of the characters. It is not a typical first person narration, however, as the characters are seemingly unaffected and unaware they have a reader riding along in their thoughts. Information comes across in broken and random spurts, and Joyce does not bother with clarifying these thoughts to the reader. Much like William Faulkner, Joyce leaves the reader unaided to piece together his massive puzzle. Often the subject of a thought can switch between several people without any indication, as with Boylan and Bloom in Molly’s soliloquy, and many chapters take pages to realize who the person speaking is. While initially following Stephen and then Bloom second by second through their routine, the novel soon fractures into smaller chunks of concurrent narration, to further fit all of life within the day and to offer a broader, more varied perspective on the events that transpire. The idea of the ‘parallax’, which is essentially a scientific term that different perspectives will have a uniquely different view of the same object, is often on Bloom’s mind, and is a major theme running through this novel. Through the multiple points of view, the reader is flooded with alternative, and often conflicting, images of the characters. The readers must then decide themselves what is the whole picture.

The various speakers are another testament to the versatility of the pen employed by Joyce. Each speaker has a drastically different tone and vocabulary, as well as structure (most notably Molly). There are times when the reader may wonder if Joyce’s opinions on the Jewish people and women may be rather negative, but then he will surprise you with a completely opposing statement. Women, and sexuality in general, are a major topic in this novel, and it is no surprise many have dismissed Joyce as a misogynist as many of the women in this novel are viewed strictly in regards to their sexuality. There are many female roles who are only used to further this idea, often by having many characters be prostitues. Through Bloom we see an unapologetic image of women as a sexual objects, and a male opinion on how women view sexuality. However, with Molly, Joyce offers a highly contrasted opinion on how women view their own sexuality, how women view men’s sexuality, and even how women view how men view women’s sexuality. Molly even fantasizes about having a penis and what it would be like to mount a woman. So while some ideas may be offensive to a reader, they must view it with an open mind and in the context of the novel and characters. Also, Joyce was aware of the overzealous censorship of novels in England and America and often wrote passages that blew past the lines intentionally to irk these censors. No wonder the novel was banned in American until 1934 when the Supreme Court over-turned the ruling in a landmark obscenity trial.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet plays just as much of a role in this novel as the Odyssey. This further emphasizes the parallax, and Joyce’s goal to keep the life of his characters grounded in reality by not aligning any of the characters in a clear cut way. Hamlet is often discussed amongst the intelligentsia of Dublin, and a critical scene involves Stephen’s interpretation of the play revealing many themes of the novel at hand. From the ideas of Stephen’s role as Telemachus searching for a surrogate father in Bloom’s Ulysses as well as the ongoing thoughts over adultery all reveal themselves early on through Stephen’s lecture on Hamlet. However, this scene also demonstrates that Stephen is a Hamlet figure as well as Bloom being a figure of the deceased King, and that Molly may also fit the role of the betraying Queen as well as Penelope. There are many other roles in this novel that have more than one character that could fill them, such as how both Buck Mulligan and Blazes Boylan are both ‘usurpers’. It is interesting to note here that many of the characters, Mulligan in particular, are based from people Joyce interacted with in real life. ‘The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.’, is said at a timely manner when Stephen explores how the characters of Hamlet all correspond to Shakespeare’s own family, much like how these characters correspond to those around Bloom and to those that were surrounding Joyce. Stephen is also highly representative of Joyce himself. He was the hero of Joyce’s semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and in this novel we see him continue his quest of artistry. He even sides with an unborn child in a debate over whether a mother or child’s life is more important during birth, signifying his ideas that art, something we create, is of the utmost importance. A touch of metafiction as well as a compounding use of themes is one of the many ways this book stole my heart.

Joyce avoids distinct lines anywhere he can with this novel. Characters such as Bloom are walking contradictions and a paradox to those around him. He is Jewish, but also baptized. He is a father figure, but also displays many motherly traits and desires causing the more masculine characters to harbor a bit of disdain for him for being rather ‘womanly’. He is very caring and generous, but then at times very cheap and critical of others for their generosity. Such is the enigma of Leopold Bloom, one of the most likeable everyman characters in all of literature (it was very difficult not to picture him as George Clooney from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, another wonderful retelling of The Odyssey). He is not without his faults though, as he is a shameless womanizer and has the ‘undressing eyes’ aimed at all the fair ladies of Dublin (and what is with Joyce and men masturbating in public, ie The Encounter from Dubliners? I’m on to you Joyce…). Bloom spends much of this novel on the go, trying to move forward from the sadness of his past and the weight of thoughts of his wife’s possible transgressions. ‘Think you’re escaping and run into yourself,’ Bloom mentions. His ‘coming together’ with Stephen is also grounded in reality, as there is no clear-cut bond between them. ‘Frailty thy name is marriage’ Bloom thinks, playing off of the famous line from Hamlet. The marriage of Bloom and Stephen, Bloom and Molly, and many other ‘marriages’ of characters are fraught with incompatible moments, as people just do not always get along or agree. While the union of Bloom and Stephen is alluded to through the entire novel, they often are at odds with one another or offend the other while trying to be friendly. However, this meeting is highly significant in both their lives, and as many of these ‘marriages’ are flawed, they are shown as having shaped each individual. As C.G. Jung once wrote, ‘The meeting of two personalities is like the contact between two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Ulysses is not an easy novel by any means, but it is well worth the effort. The prose may be daunting at first, but patients, and a bit of guidance can really go a long way and this novel will eventually bloom for any reader so they can drink the sweet language of Joyce’s pen. There are so many wonderful techniques buzzing about and puzzles to unlock. Plus, this novel is outright hilarious. For one of the more comprehensive reviews you can find, you should also read Ian's stunning review.
Joyce has certainly left his mark on the face of literature with this novel, which is more than deserving of the title bestowed on it by the Modern Library of the greatest novel of the 20th century. Yes it is the greatest and yes you should read it and yes each word will blossom in your mind and Yes will I give this book a 5/5 and yes I said yes I will Yes.
5/5

Also, reading this book in public will make you appear smart.


And even the great Jorge Luis Borges was moved by this novel:

James Joyce (as translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni)

In a man’s single day are all the days
of time from that unimaginable
first day, when a terrible God marked out
the days and agonies, to that other,
when the ubiquitous flow of earthly
time goes back to its source, Eternity,
and flickers out in the present, the past,
and the future—what now belongs to me.
Between dawn and dark lies the history
of the world. From the vault of night I see
at my feet the wanderings of the Jew,
Carthage put to the sword, Heaven and Hell.
Grant me, O Lord, the courage and the joy
to ascend to the summit of this day.
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Reading Progress

03/14/2012 page 48
6.0% 6 comments
03/15/2012 page 71
9.0% 1 comment
03/16/2012 page 109
13.0% 2 comments
03/17/2012 page 184
23.0% "I am finally really enjoying this. There have been a few bumps, and a time or two that I had the urge to shut and shelve this, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. It really is quite brilliant, but you have to work for it. The newspaper room scene was amazing though, so far my favorite passage." 3 comments
03/19/2012 page 256
31.0% "That last chapter was awesome, it had this whole camera-shifting multiple perspective deal that really flowed. Stephen is the shit as well." 1 comment
03/25/2012 page 404
50.0% "Halfway there!"
03/29/2012 page 515
63.0% "Apparently C.G. Jung read this book and diagnosed Joyce as a schizophrenic ha"
04/01/2012 page 654
80.0% 10 comments
04/03/2012 page 707
87.0% "Almost there!" 1 comment
04/04/2012 page 744
91.0% "So close. It was hard to not call in 'sick' and finish." 1 comment
02/12/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 51-100 of 124) (124 new)


s.penkevich Traveller wrote: "Fantastic review!
I should one day just sit down and attempt to read the novel without trying to look up all the allusions. It's because I'm forever looking up notes and additional reading on th..."


Thank you very much! Good luck, I'm not sure if I would have made it through without researching. I think I may have read an equal number of pages of reviews and essays as the actual book itself though, so it took a long time to get through this.


s.penkevich (Jenn)ifer wrote: "Bravo!! Great review"

Muchas gracias! I'm looking forward to your review as well!


message 53: by Kate (new)

Kate I read this one in college before I joined GoodReads and your review almost makes me want to read it again, almost. Fantastic review though!


message 54: by Martha (new) - added it

Martha Wow, after reading this Great review, I'm adding this "review" to my "read" books. (tee hee). That was excellent! Sounds like a serious challenge. But the humor parts will make it worth it to me!


s.penkevich Kate wrote: "I read this one in college before I joined GoodReads and your review almost makes me want to read it again, almost. Fantastic review though!"


Thank you, I actually really want to re-read this one in the near future. It was rough but now that I've picked up on much of it, I want to go back and see how much more I can decipher since I won't be reading in confusion just trying to follow along.


s.penkevich Martha wrote: "Wow, after reading this Great review, I'm adding this "review" to my "read" books. (tee hee). That was excellent! Sounds like a serious challenge. But the humor parts will make it worth it to me!"

Ha, thank you! I hope I didn't give too much away, I was intending to put the Stephen/Bloom part under 'spoilers' but just realized I forgot to. This book is worth the challange. And made me laugh outloud many times. But it really is a perilous odyssey ha.


s.penkevich Elizabeth wrote: "Great review. I'm not sure about your comment on Joyce's misogyny. I don't think the criticism is raised because the women portrayed included prostitutes. I think it's more because their only role ..."

True, true. I suppose I should have worded that better, as the prostitution was intended to be just an further example of the way they are highly sexualized. I'll try to reword that.

Also, that is a really good point about 'The men talk about Hamlet, the women don't.' Now that you mention it, yeah that is very true. Even Molly wasn't written as being particularly intellectual in the way the men were, although she was still rather clever.

I must thank you as well because our discussion a few months back about Ulysses was what prompted me to read this!


message 58: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Ah, Penky, I see you ascribe to the great-books-should-inspire-great-reviews school of thought. This was, like the book itself, witty, insightful, occasionally discursive, and long. You failed, however, to make it confusing. Oh well. Maybe if you decide to do Finnegan's Wake, you can aspire to complete inaccessibility.


message 59: by Megan (new)

Megan Bravo hermano you weren't kidding when you said you wrote an essay haha great review. I especially like the Ben Linus picture at the end.


s.penkevich Steve wrote: "Ah, Penky, I see you ascribe to the great-books-should-inspire-great-reviews school of thought. This was, like the book itself, witty, insightful, occasionally discursive, and long. You failed, h..."

Ha, I should redraft it as a stream-of-consciousness. I did however, confuse myself a bit trying to wrap my head around how to go about explaining some of the more inaccessible points. Or perhaps just have written Potato! and called it good.


s.penkevich Megan wrote: "Bravo hermano you weren't kidding when you said you wrote an essay haha great review. I especially like the Ben Linus picture at the end."

Gracias hermana! I figured you would like that!


message 62: by Stephen M (last edited Apr 10, 2012 12:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen M Several Impressions


1.
Oh my god this review is amazing. Seriously all the talk about the different episodes made me think of Number9Dream and now I have to read this right now!!

2.
"this novel will eventually bloom for any reader" Oooooh Iseewhatyoudidthere ;)

3.
How can you read?
My mother taught me.

4.
‘I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of ensuring one’s immortality.’

A bit self-indulgent, no? I could easily see how a lot of people would take it as such. But there's something to be said beyond mere immortality through jumbled narrative. It keeps the novel alive with various interpretations and continued discourse.

5.
I've heard much of the similar sexist accusations toward Joyce. Especially, the idea of writing a "huge, important" novel—note the phallic implications. Virginia Woolf thought that in Ulysses, Joyce was just "showing off". So she wrote Mrs. Dalloway as a response to the day in the life, stream of conscious modernist epic. If you've read that one, which I highly recommend, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts about the two in comparison.

6.
If you're the type of über-reader who feels that Ulysses is "beneath" them. Watch this and if you can, translate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N60Mo6...

7.
Did you read the famous Molly monologue in one go? It's only one sentence right? I don't even know how I'd be able to concentrate on it all and absorb it.

8.
I feel very uneasy right now, like I need to go out a buy a copy of this book, like I'm wasting my time with anything else, as this one has remained unread. There must be some time I can find in the bustle of my life right now. Oh no, I'm opening up amazon.com, I'm looking at Ulysses used paperback from as low as $1.50. Oh, god I already ordered some books yesterday........

9.


message 63: by Megan (new)

Megan s.penkevich wrote: "Megan wrote: "Bravo hermano you weren't kidding when you said you wrote an essay haha great review. I especially like the Ben Linus picture at the end."

Gracias hermana! I figured you would like..."


Indeed I do and Jack in the background is like "Benjamin finish your book cause we have to go back to the island! Cause when I'm off the island I grow a nasty beard but when I'm on a deserted island I shave! We gotta go back!"


message 64: by Martha (new) - added it

Martha s.penkevich wrote: "Martha wrote: "Wow, after reading this Great review, I'm adding this "review" to my "read" books. (tee hee). That was excellent! Sounds like a serious challenge. But the humor parts will make it..."

No, not at all (on the give-away). I was joking how long it was, I'd put it as a book I had read!


s.penkevich Stephen M wrote: "Several Impressions


1.
Oh my god this review is amazing. Seriously all the talk about the different episodes made me think of Number9Dream and now I have to read this right now!!

2.
"this novel ..."


Best response to a review ever ha. 9... Awesome, that made me laugh.
This reminded me a lot of Mitchell while reading it (the nod to him was aimed your way so I'm glad I could sell you on it.)

I like the idea of the huge important novels being 'phallic', that really makes a lot of sense as well as being rather humorous, especially when this novel is a key player in this phallic theory. I have yet to read any Woolf (my only knowledge of her was the film The Hours, which I hear is fairly inaccurate), and now you sold me and I think I will squeeze that in before Rainbows.

I love the Joyce reading, I actually found that a few weeks ago while searching youtube to hear the voices of any of my favorite authors. He made me laugh, and it was hard not to hear the novel in my head as being read by a happy little leprechaun after that!

Buy it, buy it, buy it! Get a hardcover if you can, there is some cool old editions. I have the Modern Library hardcover (it sat on my shelf for 3 years before I finally attempted it), but it does not have the chapter titles, which apparently were added later. Having those is helpful when reading any essays, as I kept wondering, 'where are they getting these titles?!'. After IJ, this will probably be cake! As for the Molly part, I read all but the last 12 pages in one sitting thanks to adderrol. And then I had to go into my class, it was so difficult not to just skip.


s.penkevich Megan wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Megan wrote: "Bravo hermano you weren't kidding when you said you wrote an essay haha great review. I especially like the Ben Linus picture at the end."

Gracias hermana! I figu..."


I hope Ben got to finish it! The smoke monster probably stole it though...


s.penkevich Martha wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Martha wrote: "Wow, after reading this Great review, I'm adding this "review" to my "read" books. (tee hee). That was excellent! Sounds like a serious challenge. But the humo..."

Thats good. Ha, I realized the joke after I had posted earlier. Such are the pitfalls of Goodreadsing while still half awake at work...


message 68: by s.penkevich (last edited Apr 10, 2012 02:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

s.penkevich Oh no! I forgot to add the Borges poem about this book I found. Including it now (for you Shan!)

In a man’s single day are all the days
of time from that unimaginable
first day, when a terrible God marked out
the days and agonies, to that other,
when the ubiquitous flow of earthly
time goes back to its source, Eternity,
and flickers out in the present, the past,
and the future—what now belongs to me.
Between dawn and dark lies the history
of the world. From the vault of night I see
at my feet the wanderings of the Jew,
Carthage put to the sword, Heaven and Hell.
Grant me, O Lord, the courage and the joy
to ascend to the summit of this day.


message 69: by Megan (new)

Megan s.penkevich wrote: "Megan wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Megan wrote: "Bravo hermano you weren't kidding when you said you wrote an essay haha great review. I especially like the Ben Linus picture at the end."

Gracias h..."


Sorry but I can't resist... EL DIABLO! No me gusta! Quiero leer el libro!


s.penkevich Megan wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Megan wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Megan wrote: "Bravo hermano you weren't kidding when you said you wrote an essay haha great review. I especially like the Ben Linus picture at ..."

Si!


Stephen M Well, I certainly bit down on the Mitchell bait you set for me.

Great Borges poem. If it's good enough for those two, than shoot, I better tackle this sucker as soon as possible.

I'll just say that Henry Gale from Minnesota made me read it.


message 72: by s.penkevich (last edited Apr 10, 2012 09:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

s.penkevich I'll just say that Henry Gale from Minnesota made me read it.

Haha! Even better. Say he dropped it from his hot air balloon.

I stumbled across that poem the day before finishing the book. The Borges collection came in the mail, and it was on the second page I flipped to. Serendipity. Or Jacob...


Stephen M Definitely Jacob.

He also wants you to read a couple other books.......

http://lostbooks.blogspot.com/


description


s.penkevich Stephen M wrote: "Definitely Jacob.

He also wants you to read a couple other books.......

http://lostbooks.blogspot.com/


"


Ha awesome, when I saw that part I got quite excited and yelled 'Flannery!' Her short stories were a big part of the reason I began to persue literature. I need to make a reading list of all the books in that show. I didn't know the bit about Hemingway being depressed because he could never write as good as Dostoyevsky until LOST. I think I even included that in an essay for a class once.


Richard Stuart A wonderful review and I loved your ending...(SPOILER ALERT!!!) haha :P


s.penkevich Richard wrote: "A wonderful review and I loved your ending...(SPOILER ALERT!!!) haha :P"

Ha thanks, I couldn't resist.


message 77: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye Spenke, your review is worth its wait in gold.


s.penkevich Ian wrote: "Spenke, your review is worth its wait in gold."

Why thank you Ian! Yeah, there is quite the wait with my reviews. School and work always get in the way of what really matters. I still need to do a Black Swan Green one... It's all in my head. I take forever to write though.


message 79: by Debby (new) - added it

Debby This was a must book to read for English lit , I could never read it to the end ...so now many years later I try it with a different view but can not get through some parts...


Lawrence Windrush The only two novels to match Ulysses in terms of style ambition and breadth are Life a users manual and The Magic Mountain.


s.penkevich Debby wrote: "This was a must book to read for English lit , I could never read it to the end ...so now many years later I try it with a different view but can not get through some parts..."

Sorry, I only now saw your comment, GR notifications...
This is one that really pays off after you've read it all and can reflect on it as a whole. I hope you finish it this time! The companion guides are extremely helpful too.


s.penkevich Lawrence wrote: "The only two novels to match Ulysses in terms of style ambition and breadth are Life a users manual and The Magic Mountain."

I need to experience both of those still, I have Life: on my bookshelf at home waiting for me, maybe I'll move it high on my queue again.


Carey Shea I absolutely loved your review. Best I have read. I read Ulysses a few months ago and at first I was taken aback at how difficult it was to read. I searched the web and saw many recommendations to purchase a reader's guide to the book (which I did). That helped me alot. I read the unabridged version which probably made it harder for me. As I read through the book I started to really like it. I thought to myself "this Joyce fellow is an absolute genius!". I am so glad I read it and gave it a high rating. Just like you said after you finished it it was like finally reaching the summit of Mt Everest. Thanks for a brilliant review.


s.penkevich Carey wrote: "I absolutely loved your review. Best I have read. I read Ulysses a few months ago and at first I was taken aback at how difficult it was to read. I searched the web and saw many recommendations to ..."

Thank you so very much! Good to meet a fellow Ulysses fan, this book changed the way I've read literature ever since. I agree, the guides are quite helpful. There were times where it pointed out a small bit of information I missed entirely (especially during the hospital scene), and I was able to flip back through and deduce where that happened.


message 85: by [deleted user] (new)

I continue to be impressed with your tendency to pick challenging material and to review it in such an insightful and professional manner.


s.penkevich Steve wrote: "I continue to be impressed with your tendency to pick challenging material and to review it in such an insightful and professional manner."

I continue to be impressed and glad of all your support, thanks Steve! This was the big 'jump' for me, read it with Ifer this spring and I don't think I've been the same person since ha.


Kalliope What an amazing review. Very fine, very subtle, very complete, and no-nonsense.

Congratulations.

I wonder whether I would ever be able to summon up the stamina required for this reading. If I ever do, I will have to use your review as my clutches.


s.penkevich Kalliope wrote: "What an amazing review. Very fine, very subtle, very complete, and no-nonsense.

Congratulations.

I wonder whether I would ever be able to summon up the stamina required for this reading. If ..."


I would highly recommend giving it a shot some day. It is rather tough to get a grip on (and every time you do he goes and changes the prose style....) but it is worth it in the end. I kept reading on the back of books how something is 'Joycean' or whatever and feeling left out of the loop so I had to tackle this. Thank you very much for the compliments, if you get around to the book I'd be very interested in discussing it as you go along!


Kalliope s.penkevich wrote: "Kalliope wrote: "What an amazing review. Very fine, very subtle, very complete, and no-nonsense.

Congratulations.

I wonder whether I would ever be able to summon up the stamina required for t..."


I know what you mean about having to read it because so much refers to it. Will let you know when I do tackle it, and thanks for the chaperoning offer...!!!


s.penkevich Kalliope wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Kalliope wrote: "What an amazing review. Very fine, very subtle, very complete, and no-nonsense.

Congratulations.

I wonder whether I would ever be able to summon up the st..."


Those same references on back covers are starting to make me feel guilty for not having read any Gaddis now. Sounds good, I'll be looking forward to it!


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis s.penkevich wrote: "Those same references on back covers are starting to make me feel guilty for not having read any Gaddis now."

You are guilty of that. You are fortunate enough to have acknowledged that guilt; therewith you can make recompense.


s.penkevich Nathan "N.R." wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Those same references on back covers are starting to make me feel guilty for not having read any Gaddis now."

You are guilty of that. You are fortunate enough to have acknowle..."


The Recognitions is sitting on my shelf right now waiting for me to finish IJ. And JR won't be far behind.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis s.penkevich wrote: "The Recognitions is sitting on my shelf right now waiting for me to finish IJ. And JR won't be far behind. "

Tis whence wherefrom began I with Gaddis. I do recommend it. You'll have naught trouble with it what with all yer prior training. JR's fantastic. I'm a bit guilty (actually received a pretty heavy sentence, perdition) of having lingered with that '80's slim Gothic volume and that lawyerly frolicsome book. I'll recompense, honest, Your Honor.


s.penkevich The jury is sure to forgive such erroneous actions if you pick up that frolicsome book, for then ye may gain the knowledge to defend yourself with all the legal advice it shall bestow. Perhaps I'll cut to that one after Recog. so we can discuss.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis s.penkevich wrote: "Perhaps I'll cut to that one after Recog. so we can discuss. "

That would certainly overcome my inertia. But I'd feel bad if I caused further delay of your access to JR.


David Lentz Dear S,
Having read so many of your insightful reviews, this may well be your best so far.
Cordially,
David


message 97: by [deleted user] (new)

and it wasn’t until the second half that I was finally able to recognize that this novel had written its way into my heart.

One of the best feelinge ever when that hits you, i know. You never see it coming until it just hits you. Happened to me with Mason & Dixon and Infinite Jest. Top-notch review. You make me look forward to my tackling of the Joyce cannon.


s.penkevich Anthony wrote: "and it wasn’t until the second half that I was finally able to recognize that this novel had written its way into my heart.

One of the best feelinge ever when that hits you, i know. You never see ..."


That reminds me yet again how I can't wait to hit M&D. I think you'll love some Joyce, man, that makes me want to reread it with you. While this book frustrated me while I read it, the more I think about it, the more amazing I realize this book was. Same with Gravity's Rainbow, that went from being just a 5-star book to a 5-star favorite.


message 99: by [deleted user] (new)

s.penkevich wrote: "Anthony wrote: "and it wasn’t until the second half that I was finally able to recognize that this novel had written its way into my heart.

One of the best feelinge ever when that hits you, i know..."


I hope you enjoy M&D when you get around to tackling it. I was thinking about reading Ulysses at the end of the year, but we'll see how it goes. I still want to read his first two books and the Odyssey before I take on that one. I also need to finish the Pynchon I am reading now. And I planned on reading William Gass' new book along with everyone else when it comes out. Such a hard life it is trying to read every book.


s.penkevich Haha, I know, right? And so many to read, but so little time. Nice, I think I might try and read the Gass book when it comes out as well, we shall have to discuss! I've only read some of his essays and his newest short story that came out in the winter edition of Tin House, but he seems to be quite brilliant and have a wonderful grasp on language. I'm excited.


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