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Ulysses

Narrated by: Philippe Duquenoy
Length: 29 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

Ulysses takes us on the journey of two men, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, through an hour-by-hour account of their lives for one day. These men cross paths in a series of coincidental events and listeners learn how interconnected they are even though they are not friends.

Dedalus, a teacher, is dissatisfied with life. He spends the morning avoiding mocking friends, listening to a mundane lecture from his superior on life, and walking alone while reflecting on his younger self. Bloom, at the same time, is discovering his wife's affair (although he is having one of his own under a pseudonym), and pursuing an unsuccessful attempt at getting an advertisement ran for a client. Bloom feels like an outsider amongst acquaintances and reminisces on a time when things between he and his wife were good and happy.

Dedalus and Bloom continue to be in the same place at the same time throughout the novel as the story continues into themes of xenophobia, the quest for paternity, heroism in compassion, and many other of life's questions. Ulysses was written to mimic The Odyssey by Homer in a modern day retelling of the poem and has many parallels between the characters and plot events making the novel an epic adventure through two very ordinary lives.

©2016 A.R.N. Publications (P)2016 A.R.N. Publications
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A fantastic book (literally)

It’s taken me a year or more to listen to Ulysses, sometimes awake and sometimes asleep, I am going to start over again from the beginning so that this time I may catch some of the bits I missed. It’s clever, funny, crazy, dirty and well worth the effort.

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  • Mike
  • 06-12-16

SPECTACULAR!

James Joyce is known for his intricate attention to detail within his works, and Ulysses is definitely no exception. Ulysses follows the story of two men, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, taking the reader through an hour-by-hour account of each of their lives. This modern heroic quest shows readers know how connected people’s lives can be, even if they are not acquaintances.

When discussing Irish and British literature, Ulysses is a work of literature that should always be included on the discussion. Though at times, it can be dense and difficult to work through because of the many allusions woven through the text, once you get through it, you feel a sense of accomplishment. Ulysses not only shows the interconnectedness of humanity, but it also shows the interconnectedness of English literature.

Phillipe Duquenoy, the narrator of the audio book, has a delightful accent that embraces the reader, and helps with the difficultly of the text. Not only is his English accent a delight to listen to but it greatly contributes to the overall theme and setting of the novel itself. When trying to tackle Ulysses, the audio book might be the best route to follow, as it is less difficult to get lost in the massive amounts of detail provided on a page to page read.

19 people found this helpful

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  • David H
  • 05-01-20

Great, just ask an enthusiast, but strenuous

Ulysses is the most over-rated "great" book that I have ever read. The overall narrative takes place on generally warm day in June (21) when assorted activities are described in many forms of novelistic techniques, some of which are near incoherent, eg The Oxen in the Sun chapter and much of the very over-long Night-town. Joyce loves to list ad nauseam and he loves a very fragment-based prose, though can right beautifully in flashes and in the opening chapter; he loves obscure references, he loves quoting from Italian and Latin languages. He loves classical and popular Irish music from his time in Ireland. His taste in classical music is fairly sophisticated, based largely in vocal music I would suspect because he was a fair singer. A very obscure aria from an opera by Claudio Monteverdi was performed at his funeral. Though he spares us the use of Irish Gaelic he does draw heavily on Irish history that adds little to a story of two men and one woman as the main characters, though the reader is challenged by many minor characters most of whom add little to the larger story of a metaphorical father son bonding and a kind of wan reconciliation within a troubled marriage. The best part of the novel is its most celebrated part: the last chapter known as Penelope where the partner of the main character, Leopold Bloom, named Molly, runs around an eighty page sililoquoy on her amorous emotions and feelings. One can vividly feel a part of the woman's soul as she expounds and expatiates in the way "too much information" of her thoughts. The shocking elements that got the book suppressed are quite, quite gross even by 21st Century standards that are, possibly, even more prudish than those of the author's time at the turn of the 20th century. There are some ethnic slurs be warned. If I am ever in the company Pete Buttegieg I will confine myself to a discussion of this novel which is by his own admission his favorite.
The narrator is excellent rising to the near impossible challenge of reciting this work. For me the text hears much better than it reads which is I guess something of a compliment to Mr Joyce.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-10-19

Very hard to listen to

I know this is a classic and that’s the reason I downloaded it. The sing-Songy prose, coupled with the narrators thick accent (real or acted?) make it difficult to understand. I may just have to read the real thing for myself.

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  • Stephen
  • 30-01-17

Disappointing

To begin with I must acknowledge the immense effort needed to record this book.
That said and this being one of the most iconic works of literature in modern times, I do have reservations about this edition.
Firstly, I found that on a large number of occasions the text was misread showing that the reader didn't fully understand what he was reading. This was a major problem to me as I was reading along with it and caused some confusion.
Secondly,
there was a lot of mispronouncing of names. Most noticeably Dedalus( one of the main characters) and Howth, to name a few. Joyce went to a great deal of trouble to be as accurate as possible in the details of the book and I think it lazy that a few minutes on the web could have avoided this.
Finally and worst of all, Molly Blooms soliloquy was read by a male. It just didn't make any sense. Surely a female reader could have been found.
All in all I'd have to say that this isn't a version that I would recommend.

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  • W. Duke
  • 22-11-17

They call this a masterpiece.

Well, I suffered through the whole thing. Mostly out of curiosity and some silly hope that I might find a point to it. The narrator’s performance is the only positive comment I feel obliged to provide. James Joyce - you were a lunatic.

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  • Nina
  • 04-09-18

Just couldn't get through it

I had no idea who was talking, what was going on. I really wanted to get through this book. Maybe another narrator.