I was really looking forward to this collection by Joyce, and I started out thoroughly enjoying it. However, as I read through story after story, it got very repetitive and extremely depressing.
I do appreciate what Joyce was trying to say about Dublin and the Irish community during his time. But unless Dublin is a place where dreams go to die, he wasn’t really representing a full picture of the city. Instead his collection is about the loops us humans get stuck in and repeat during the course of our lifetimes, and how even though we dream of a different life, we will never achieve change. Like a butterfly that is stuck in a wheel that keeps killing it with every turn.
I did not hate the collection, for one thing, Joyce’s writing is absolutely beautiful. And I did have some favorites, if you could call them that, which were “Araby”, “Eveline” and “An Encounter” which had underlying hints of pedophilia, interestingly enough! Otherwise, characters got lost in the repetitiveness of it all. Perhaps that was all intentional from Joyce, but honestly even if it was, it was still excruciating to get through.
Overall, not great, but not bad either. After reading this, I felt that perhaps Joyce is a bit overrated! Suffice it to say, I won’t be reading Ulysses any time soon. Ugh.