Matt Margo's Reviews > Ulysses

Ulysses by James Joyce
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
May 06, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-star, drama, fiction, read-for-school
Read in November, 2009

I have spent months upon end pondering how I would ever be able to pay this novel fair tribute with my Goodreads review of it. Still, I wonder, "Is there any possible way to truly convey this literary (anti)masterpiece and its offer of an unparalleled trek which not only defines what it means to be termed as 'magical realism' but also depicts everyday people within everyday life in order to mystically, ordinarily, challengingly, simply, cheerfully, gloomily, intellectually, densely, deeply, lightly, darkly, brightly, brilliantly, foolishly, dramatically, comically, slowly, speedily, artistically, politically, abstractly, commonly, increasingly, decreasingly, inevitably, and illegibly present the 'odyssey' of phonetics and society as a whole?' Probably not, but I am willing to at least display a few of my thoughts and opinions.

"Ulysses" is not merely a great novel; it is the novel. Though its primary language is English (usually of some form or another), each episode contains a bit of Joyce's take on all tongues, celebrating the majesty of language in general. Certain misadventures of Leopold Bloom and/or Stephen Dedalus cycle through various evolutions of grammatical and composite structures, showing even before "Finnegans Wake" just how hooked on phonics Joyce had been. "Ulysses" presents the necessity of communication within this everyday life, and how, without it, we would be socially hopeless.

The novel is also simultaneously the greatest character study ever written. These modern-day Greek heroes and demigods of life are exposed at both their barest minimums (defecating, masturbating, copulating, longing, regretting, sobbing, drinking, stumbling, mumbling, urinating) and their deepest interiors (philosophizing, declaring, dreaming, wishing, shattering, escaping, writing, reciting, climbing, falling). Their actions and reactions, whether real or imaginary, remarkably parallel the reader's own experience due to Joyce's delightfully precise writing style. Whenever a character is tired, the narrative is intended to weigh down the reader's eyelids. Whenever a character is horny, the narrative is intended to arouse the reader's sense of eroticism. Whenever a character is drunken, the narrative is intended to stupefy the reader's natural perception. In comparison to "Ulysses," no other novel is more personal, all the while also remaining wisely distant with its profound mythological, illogical, otherworldly exclamations.

I could go on for years, but in short, and contrary to popular opinion, life is too short not to read, taste, touch, feel, witness, and experience James Joyce's "Ulysses."
1 like · flag

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

Reading Progress

08/10 page 28
08/24 page 499
53.48% "The thirteenth episode is the greatest yet!"
11/03 page 1040
100% "Review Coming Soon"
05/06 marked as: read
show 39 hidden updates…

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

dateDown arrow    newest »

Mike A great review. Summarizes the power of this book so elegantly.

back to top