Jack's Reviews > Dubliners

Dubliners by James Joyce
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's review
Aug 06, 2011

bookshelves: classics

After reading O. Henry's short stories, I've come to expect surprise endings and compelling plots, instead, Joyce provides us with portraits of his personal Dublin. Each of these stories paints a picture of Joyce's imagination of his hometown. Joyce's prose is straightforward, but littered with individually arbitrary details that fit together to imbue the reader with feeling of an local perspective. Joyce's Dublin is a bleak but gothically romanticized world, where, as Thoreau wrote, men lead lives of quiet desperation. Joyce, as a self-enforced exile from Dublin, reveals his ambiguous mix of emotions about his hometown, ranging from disdain, nostalgia, and guilt. The Dubliners that fill Joyce's world are alcoholics, hypocrites, failures, and almost universally self-conscious. The surprise twists never came, but the portrait of a bleak bygone world has been exquisitely painted by these stories of quiet desperation.

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