Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dear Great Book Guru,  Last weekend I participated in a Sea Cliff's Second Annual  Bloomsday Walk . What fun!  Christine Abbenda and Joe Hughes  were there in their Edwardian finery and Joe played a series of lively tunes on his Irish penny whistle as we marched through the streets of Sea Cliff, recounting  the episodes of James Joyce's Ulysses.  I have often tried to read this iconic novel but- how can I say it?- it is just too much for me with its eight hundred pages of  thousands of literary and political allusions.  Is there a "Joyce lite"  I could start with, so I can at least say I am a fledgling member of the James Joyce Society of Sea Cliff?   Eager Noveau Joycean

Dear Eager,  The Bloomsday Walk was a great success with its many enthusiastic Joyceans- check out the photo in this week's Gold Coast Gazette. And indeed, I have just the book for you:  Joyce's  THE DUBLINERS .  Written a few years before the famed Ulysses, this work is a series of fifteen short stories linked by time, place, and theme. Joyce divided the stories by life stages,  using the ancient Roman system: childhood (to seventeen years), adolescence (  seventeen to thirty years) and maturity (the remaining years). We  follow the lives of these early twentieth century characters  as they cope with the spiritual, moral,  and intellectual oppression that Joyce saw as Dublin but throughout, he treats them not as victims but as a people ultimately aware of their own  fate.  Highly recommended!

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