James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in 1882 in Dublin but spent most of his life living with Nora Barnacle in various parts of Europe. Apart from a collection of verse, Dubliners was his first published work in 1914. In Dubliners, Joyce portrays quite brilliantly human relationships in Ireland at the turn of the century. His characters are so vital and exciting and the stories so fresh, evocative, and entertaining that they could well have been written today.
Public Domain © and (P)2003 CSA Telltapes Ltd
If you're looking for the single short story collection that epitomises the skill, subtlety, diversity and sheer brilliance of the genre, this has to be it. Season the mix with the voice of one of the greatest Irish actors ever, and you're talking about a true classic. (Sue Arnold, The Guardian)
As they stand, each one alone, you could listen to these 15 stories of life, very truly lived in Dublin around the start of the last century, for a long time, and many times, and still hear something new, even though nothing very dramatic happens, because the writing is so precise and, through TP McKenna, the speaking is so right for what James Joyce himself described as a series of epiphanies.
McKenna acted for may years at Dublin's Abbey Theatre and appeared in film versions of Ulysses and Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, and his restrained tone lends itself gently to these glimpses of moments of subtle revelation.
Only one complaint, and the meticulous Joyce mght share it, because the author himself, and he should know, said this of Dubliners, "I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the convition that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard."
Unfortunately, some bold or, more likely, careless individual, has deformed this beautifully-spoken version of Dubliners, or at least has altered the presentment of what he has seen, so that we hear the stories in the wrong sequence. Because Joyce's scrupulousness extended to insisting that they appear in a certain order in the published version of the book.
He classed them into four aspects: Childhood (conisting of The Sisters, An Encounter and Araby); Adolescence (Eveline, After the Race, Two Gallants and The Boarding House); Maturity (A Little Cloud, Counterparts, Clay and A Painful Case): and Public Life (Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A Mother, Grace and The Dead).
There is not too much lost by the apparently random order of this audio version, but it is simply right that any rendition of Dubliners should start with the news of a death in The Sisters and should end with the beautiful reflection on last things in the longest and richest of the stories, The Dead.
Dubliners is an exceptional and beautiful collection of short stories. The stories are well read by T.P. McKenna. I dont know why the collection is not in the same order as the stories appear in the text. This is irritating if you want to find a particular story to listen to and Joyce makes it clear that he placed the stories in order for a reason - there is progression from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. Despite this I loved listening to these stories as they are read here and would recommend the title.
"not the right order"
I very much appreciated everything about this version of Dubliners except for one thing - the stories are not in the correct order. Joyce detailed the order for the stories in his letters and every version I have seen uses that order - it has a significance in terms of coming of age. But this version uses some other method - and it's not order of composition -although it may be the order of magazine publication - I don't know. I'd be curious to know why CSA (or whomever) did this. Other than that I was delighted with McKenna's rendition and if this ordering doesn't bother you, I recommend it.
"Best Reading, Format Cumbersome"
I agree mostly with what has been written so far. This is the best reading, but does not preserve the intended order. Also frustrating, is that the titles of the stories come at the end of the preceding chapters, rather than at the top of the actual chapters, so navigating to the correct order is even more difficult. I assembled this list for myself, and so thought I would share it:
(1) 5 The Sisters,
(2) 9 An Encounter,
(3) 3 Araby,
(4) 8 Eveline,
(5) 6 After the Race,
(6) 10 Two Gallants,
(7) 4 The Boarding House,
(8) 11 A Little Cloud,
(9) 14 Counterparts,
(10) 15 Clay.
(11) 1 A Painful Case,
(12) 12 Ivy Day in the Committee Room,
(13) 13 A Mother,
(14) 2 Grace,
(15) 7 The Dead,
"Great reading, bizarre order"
As someone else noted here, the order of the stories in this recording is not the original order; and so a large part of Joyce's design is lost. "Dubliners" works not so much because of the individual stories as because of the many connections between them. It's like one of those photo mosaics, where each square is a separate picture, but you have to stand back from it and look at it whole to "get" it. It's a shame, because McKenna's reading is otherwise the best, in my opinion, of the many readings available here. It would be nice if someone would take the trouble to rearrange them (and, in the process, add a 5-second delay between each story to let the "effect" sink in).
"Not too schmaltzy, not too dry, just right...."
Listening to a performance of the Dubliners gave life to the Joyce's written words.
For me, "After the Race" and "A Mother" are my favorite short stories in the Dubliners. James Joyce's writing is so subtly masterful and vivid at the same time.
T P McKenna's performance, for me, was just right: Not too schmaltzy like some other narrators who really overdo the Irish accent and inflection; not too dead or lifeless like some of the drier readings which were further handicapped by fuzzy recordings; and, just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, McKenna's readings had just the right amount of drama for me (I hear the words and visualize the actions and scenes) without off-putting, overly-melodramatic histrionics.
One sitting or fifteen (that's the number of short stories in the Dubliners), I enjoy this audiobook.
"Why are the chapters scrambled?"
This is a fine recording except that the tracks are all messed up, so it's like listening to a novel using "shuffle tracks"! It is a collection of short stories, but they are carefully sequenced, so it messes everything up to listen to them out of order. I found it so annoying that I cut the whole thing into individual tracks and renamed and renumbered them so I could listen to them in order. That was pretty time consuming, but at least I now have a set of .mp3 files -- one for each chapter and three for the long last chapter.
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