Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce

This was yet another free audiobook download from NetLibrary. It was 11 hours and 16 minutes long, and was read by Donal Donnelly.

One of the great things about audiobooks is that you can get some of those intimidating "classics" of literature and listen to someone else read them. I seem to recall finding a copy of Joyce's "Ulysses" in my father's bedroom (Mom would never have read this), opening to the first page, and closing it after about ten seconds. I was worn out already. I went back to the comics.

This is the kind of dense and thoughtful reading that gets assigned to students because it is believed that it will do them some good. And I believe it does. The character development is quite vivid and deep. You really get inside the head of Stephen Dedalus, an autobiographical shadow of the author who appears in some of Joyce's other works. This book is also very philosophical and critical of the Catholic Church, although it is not without its sentimental side.

Personally, I enjoyed the book. But I also have to admit that it probably goes down better as an audiobook. Reading this Irish accented prose and dialog and preachy monologues off the printed page might be a different story. That said, the narration was very good and contributed to the good quality of the overall experience. This is the first 3 and a half star review I have given.

No comments: