I’ve tried reading Ulysses in the past. It was a spectacular failure. I couldn’t connect with the dialect, the references were too obscure or quick on each others heels, stream of consciousness is a bitch to read, and I felt out of my depth… It was frustrating and I had more accessible books handy, books with women in them! So I moved on quickly.
What’s made the difference this time? Jim Norton.
I’m tempted to say ‘audiobooks’ in general, but most of the time I can’t abide audible swallows. Jim Norton, however, is peerless. He’s blown the book wide open for me with his gift for speech and meticulous direction. And I’ve read and re-read The Odyssey, mostly Walcott’s version.
Generally, I’ll avoid introductions and appendices, but can appreciate their worth in novels like Ulysses.
For my Ulysses entries, I’ll write my own chapbook on some of Joyce’s one-liners, words and ideas that resonate.