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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich book
This is the second James Joyce book I have read and it goes to reinforce the feeling I had after reading the first that that writer is a great storyteller. In fact, I consider
James Joyce's Dubliners as one of the best collection of short stories ever put together. The settings are amazing and the rich and lively characters all combine with the incredible plots to...
Published on July 29 2005 by Sancho Mahle

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not reader friendly
The book is a series of short stories about different groups of people in Dublin, Ireland. Joyce uses these short stories to expose the social wrongs and paralysis of morals around the turn of the 20th century in Dublin. All of the stories end in tragedy, sadness, or continuation of a previous wrong. James Joyce's Dubliners was an interesting book, to say the least. At...
Published on March 23 2001 by Aaron McCoy


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich book, July 29 2005
By 
Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews
This is the second James Joyce book I have read and it goes to reinforce the feeling I had after reading the first that that writer is a great storyteller. In fact, I consider
James Joyce's Dubliners as one of the best collection of short stories ever put together. The settings are amazing and the rich and lively characters all combine with the incredible plots to add credence to the stories. Not only are they true to life in fitting with the atmosphere that one finds in Dublin, the stories are also hilarious, subtle, and inspirational and gripping. The pace of the stories is fast and the voices are rich. This is a highly recommended read along with UNION MOUJIK, FINNEGANS WAKE, THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,ICE ROAD, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Earthquake, March 26 2001
By 
alexander danielson (Independence, MO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
Like in a gloomy church filled with a misty and humid atmosphere, you quietly look for heavenly light to lead your path. As you search for the light switch, feelings of uneasiness and discomfort fill your heart. With fear in every joint of your body, you nervously feel the whole universe will collapse in just a few moments. While feeling your way through the squeezing darkness, the ground starts to tremble from underneath your undecided feet. Earthquake! Yelling and screaming for your life, no one is around. As the shaky church tumbles to the ground, you hope to hold on anything with foundation to save you from going down. Lying six feet in the ground, your only hope is Superman. You continue to struggle with hope of one day finding that light switch. This little story is the feeling I got while reading The Dubliners. The tonality of the book was very depressing throughout. Joyce does a splendid job of letting the reader know the Dubliners and their way of life. Alcohol was excellent in portraying the tranquility of the people and their suppressed lives. Joyce also used a variety of experiences to clearly display the negative tone and outlook on life by the Dubliners. As to the hope of one day finding that light switch, Joyce always gives hope to the reader with his beautiful usage of the English language. And I am not afraid of saying beautiful in describing Joyce's artistic usage of words. For me, he literally paints in the mind a picture of his stories. Joyce's masterpiece of words was the light, hope, and Superman of The Dubliners. The flowery descriptions are what kept me reading. All in all, I thought the book was a fine piece of work that teaches great lessons on real life. I lived in the Philippines for two years and the attitude of life was almost the same as the Dubliners. Alcohol and suppression were hindrances to progression. But living with Filipinos for two years, you learn a lot about trials and tribulations. It is very humbling to be a witness of a heavy-laden people with such great potential. At the same time, the Filipinos' or Dubliners' example helped me realize the great blessings of living in a free country like America. Freedom is sometimes taken for granted. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not always taken advantage of. As we read of the good, the bad, and the ugly, let us be wise and learn from the bad, take in all the good, and change the ugly to mugly. We will be happier as we pursue our potential in a place where we can. We should all be so thankful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life, People, and James Joyce, March 22 2001
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
Life is a system of interactions: interactions with school, work, church, and essential to all of these are interactions with people. Humans are unique in that they are intensely individualistic yet in their last days they take a more communal perspective and define the success of their lives based on the relationships they had with others. Some understand this long before those last days, and because they know that relationships make a life what it is, they try to understand people. While actually getting out and meeting with people is the best way to learn about them, there is a saying that states something to the effect of "learning from others without making the same mistakes that they did" is another good way to learn. Now, I am not sure what mistakes James Joyce may have made in his life, but from his novel, Dubliners, I can tell that he was an avid observer of people and is worth lending an ear to. His words are capturing and tell the story of humanity at its most base and intimate level. Though I may interact with people everyday, and want more of this interaction in order to feel more alive, when I read Dubliners, I felt more human and more united with the persona around me than I ever had before. Joyce is a master of the English language, but if one looks only at his entertaining and piercing rhetoric, one is missing the point. Of course, Joyce's words compliment his work, but I think the real secret behind his success is his knowledge of human nature. In my opinion, Joyce lived a full life. From his writings it was evident that he knew people. He could read their every move, their questioning eyes, or even the organization of their rooms and make a story of it. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the people Joyce wrote of were inspired by one or two minute incidents that triggered a chain reaction of assumptions. Take for example A Painful Case. Joyce goes to great lengths to provide his readers with the slightest of details about the character's room. He explicitly states the many things that are made of iron. Is this intentional? Without a doubt. Joyce goes on and describes the desk, the smells, the bed sheets. Joyce knows people. He knows that something so simple as the way books are arranged on a shelf can reveal an impressive amount about the person being observed. Reading Dubliners lets you look into the mind of a genius, someone who can understand humanity and is willing to share that knowledge. In each of Joyce's stories, from Eveline to The Dead, Joyce invites the reader to hear the thoughts of his characters, to see the situations they are living in and to make judgments. It's almost as if readers are being asked to take a crash course in social work case studies, or even better, a crash course in life. Joyce amazingly allows the reader to experience the ups and downs of humanity without being discouraged by it. Though he may emphasize prevailing shortcomings like alcoholism, the reader cannot help but be inspired by the stories. How can depression be inspiring? As a fond reader of this novel, it reminded me of my own humanity and made me proud to be associated with mankind. I smile on our chance to choose and to act, and reading about those who took control of that uniquely human feature in the Dubliners reminded me that I have that same right to act for myself. We all may make mistakes, but who's to say that we cannot rebound. In my judgment, Joyce's tone throughout the book is one that praises humanity, even on its follies, for all of our experiences make us human. And in his closing pages Joyce reminds us that there is hope to achieve a greater future. Humans are grand creations. We can choose to fly or falter, and though life may seem overbearing sometimes, even the most boring, monotonous life can be transformed into a cherished collection of stories. Dubliners is just that, and Joyce is a masterful storyteller and observer of mankind. I feel that by reading this book I have gained a deeper understanding of human nature, and thereby life in general. Joyce's Dubliners will forever be a cherished book on my shelf. I wonder what that says about me? Any answers Joyce?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pain and Joy(ce), March 21 2001
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
All days are the same, another day full of tests studying and work. I've finally come to accept the fact that there isn't enough time in the day to finish all of things I have to do. Rather than getting disturbed day after day you eventually shutdown and turn off your emotions, everything becomes routine and robotical. Never receiving satisfaction from knowing you are doing enough to actually accomplish anything. The lights of life start to dim and nothing is able to remind you that you are still a living, emotional entity. There is only one way to gain salvation once you start feeling like you are in that cold closed dark room with nothing except the incessant ticking of a clock to let you know that you are still alive. I pull out my favorite red, Swiss pocketknife. McGyver can use a knife like this 101 different ways to save his life. I can be McGyver. This knife can save my life, all I have to do is cut my hand until the viscous red life in my veins starts to warm the surface of my skin and brings that tingling sense which in turn jump starts the cockles of my heart and reminds me I'm living. Fortunately I've found a new instrument to replace this masochistic behavior. I just pull out my favorite book, Dubliners, by James Joyce. This book is a collection of emotionally tearing, seemingly unconnected scenes from individuals' lives. Each chapter introduces a new character that is in an inescapable, despair filled situation. The reader gets to taste the full spectrum of absurdly depressing stories. There are the failed romantic hopes of a young boy who works his hardest to please a girl who doesn't even seem to notice him. Then there is a girl, who is handed the love of her life, but she can't leave to join her lover for fear that her overly dependent and unappreciative family won't be able to get along without her. The heartbreaking reality of life is ever present as Joyce shares an account of a blue-collar worker who is so enslaved to his job that his only sense of control in life comes from alcohol and beating his child. After hearing about all of the Dubliners who have such a horrible life that their only joy in life comes through dreaming of escape, whether it be mental or physical through the ever present alcohol, life once again starts to feel like something. Emotion isn't a thing of the past anymore. So forget about McGyver, now when you are feeling emotionless and trapped in life's nuances, turn to your new friend, James
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetry as Prose, April 6 2001
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This review is from: Dubliners (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a wonderful collection of stories by the unique James Joyce. This book reads like impressionism on paper, painting transcendent watercolors with language. Each story is a portrait of Dublin life, but the Dublin portrayed here could have been any city in the world, full of pain, joy, laughter, sadness, regret, and Humanity. This book is the best place to start with Joyce, because the narrative hasn't developed into the ambiguity found in later works such as Ulysses. For first-timers, Dubliners is the Joycean work that is most friendly and affecting. But it's still miles away from any other author's work (Including JOyce's own).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it so much, I read it again., June 7 2001
By 
L. M Prestwidge (South Pasadena, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dubliners (Hardcover)
Little snippets of life among the Irish working class. I read this book for the first time in my early 20's. Although I enjoyed it then, I liked it even more ten years later. This is one of those books that you appreciate more when you have some life experiences to compare it with.
Good strong believable characters and a subtle writing style that let's you draw your own conclusions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars dear dirty Dublin, Oct. 30 2003
By 
Rocco Dormarunno (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
As a young man, James Joyce abandoned his hometown of Dublin, and yet, he never wrote about any other place. He had also rejected Catholicism, and yet all his characters are dominated by it. DUBLINERS, Joyce's collection of short stories which set the standard for the genre, is filled with characters who come to terrible revelations (which he called "epiphanies") about how their lives had been scarred by the provincialism of Dublin, the divisiveness of its politics, and the oppression of religion. By extension, this is how Joyce percieved humanity at the dawn of modernism.
The stories range from the psychologially simple ("Counterparts" and "A Little Cloud") to the extraordinarily complex ("A Painful Case" and "The Dead"). But what is common throughout is the feel for Dublin just after the turn of the last century. The readers see the cobblestones, the chimneys, the trams and carts, the churches, and the street lamps. More importantly, the readers feel the tensions underlying the public smiles and infrequent bursts of confidence that the characters exhibit.
The pinnacle of this collection is "The Dead". A novella, actually, "The Dead" encompasses everything: politics, religion, art, journalism, history, love, and the inevitability of death rendering all worldly things meaningless. This doesn't mean the story is a downer: this death is necessary to making a fresh start. The ending of "The Dead" has been interpreted in hundreds of ways. However, there is no denying that as Joyce "pulls back the camera" from the Conroy's hotel room to the universe above, the writing swells to its most beautiful. To me, this is a movement toward the future, toward change, leaving the living dead behind to a more spiritual life on Earth.
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest and most influential collections, Aug. 19 2002
By 
Bill R. Moore (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dubliners (Paperback)
Though now more famous for his later, immense, incredibly ambitious novels, James Joyce's early collection of short stories remains a classic - and for good reason. Joyce, as someone once pointed out, was and remains almost unique among writers in that he published only masterpieces. Granted, he took years (eventually decades) to write each book - yes, even this slim volume of 15 short stories. It paid off. Just as Joyce was immensely influential with his stream-of-consciousness (or interior monologue) style used in Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man and Ulysses (#3 and #1 on Modern Libary's Top 100 Books of the 20th century, respectively), and the... let us say, indescribable, style of Finnegan's Wake (which people are STILL trying to figure out), his style in writing these short stories became almost the archetype for short fiction in this century. Instead of focusing on action-oriented events in the story (or, as Edgar Allen Poe suggested, by trying to create a particular mood), Joyce instead centered on the simple, everyday mundane events of regular life. This not only made the stories seem realistic and believable, but also made them universally applicable. This is the reason why this is considered one of the greatest short story collections of all-time, and has been one of the most widely anthologized. A true classic of the 20th century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Archetype of Short Story Fiction, June 30 2002
This review is from: Dubliners (Mass Market Paperback)
Perfection is the best way to describe this classic story collection by the legendary James Joyce. Dubliners follows the lives of ordinary folks in early twentieth century Ireland. Instead of using dramatic events such as many conventional short stories do, Joyce centered his tales on what seemed to be inconsequential. This groundbreaking literary formula succeeded and Dubliners went on to become one of the most greatly praised and athologized works of all time. By focusing on the magnitude of simple things, Joyce provided writing that truly connects the reader with the character through empathy. Examples of such include Araby in which an adolescent boy seeks romance and idealizes a beautiful girl who pays him no mind, and A Painful Case that portrays a lonely man who is haunted by a relationship he had with a married woman after he hears of her untimely death.
Each story in Dubliners contains gorgeously descriptive passages and words that dance across the pages. Though the themes may be dismal and the people Joyce writes of often come up empty-handed, the reader will likely find an underlying optimism that hardship builds strength and hope will prevail.
Interestingly, Dubliners barely came to print. Years of controversy hindered the 1914 release of the book, as many publishers regarded the stories as immoral and risque. Fortunately the public embraced it, and today we should all be required to read this enduring work by one of Ireland's finest, Mr. James Joyce.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joyce's Classic Early Collection of Stories, April 13 2002
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This review is from: Dubliners (Mass Market Paperback)
The first of James Joyce's books, "Dubliners" is a collection of fifteen stories written between 1904 and 1907. Joyce wrote the first of the fifteen stories in this collection, "Sisters," in Ireland in 1904. The story was published in August of that year under the pseudonym "Stephen Daedalus." Joyce wrote the last, longest and most famous of the stories, "The Dead," in Rome in 1907. The stories were published in the book known as "Dubliners" in 1914. While there are many editions of "Dubliners" in print, the definitive edition of the work is generally considered to be the corrected text prepared by Robert Scholes in consultation with Richard Ellman, Joyce's biographer. Random House publishes the Scholes edition under its Modern Library imprint and I recommend this edition.
"Dubliners" stands as one of the Ur-texts of modernism, a startlingly original collection of stories set in turn-of-the-century Dublin that began the Joycean literary project. That project subsequently moved through the increasingly difficult, and characteristically modernist, iterations of "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake." Like those succeeding texts, the interested reader can find thousands of pages of commentary on "Dubliners," the study of Joyce's works being akin to a Talmudic undertaking, an undertaking that can, if one chooses, occupy an entire life.
Joyce once commented that the stories of "Dubliners" constitute a "chapter of moral history" that represents the "first step towards the spiritual liberation of [Ireland]." He also said, "I call the series 'Dubliners' to betray the soul of that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city." The stories are, in other words, inherently critical (although also, at times, appreciative) of the Dublin life that Joyce abandoned, living and writing as an expatriate in Paris, Trieste, Rome, and Zurich for nearly the entirety of his adult life.
The stories operate on two levels. On one level, the stories are realistic narratives of every day life in Dublin. On another level, however, the stories are suffused with symbolism, with recurring, allusive images of spiritual, sexual and political meanings that mark a departure from nineteenth century literary realism and make "Dubliners" an enduring, and deservedly canonical, modernist narrative.
The first story, "Sisters," begins with a striking example of the tone of the stories in "Dubliners." A young boy stands, in the evening, looking up at the shadows flickering through the window of an upstairs room where a priest is dying:
"Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word 'paralysis'. It had always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word 'gnomon' in the Euclid and the word 'simony' in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work."
Thus, a vivid, realistic image appears in the reader's mind, but so does a collection of words that suggest meanings and themes that go far beyond the real, that capture physical and intellectual and religious undercurrents, the inner life of a young boy living in Dublin.
"Sisters" is a brilliant story, as is "The Dead" and nearly every other story in "Dubliners" (excluding, perhaps, one or two, the worst being "After the Race," a story that Joyce reluctantly included in the collection). Realistic in its narratives, richly allusive in its language and symbolism, "Dubliners" is one of a handful of story collections that truly deserves the label "classic" and should be read and studied by every serious reader.
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Dubliners
Dubliners by James Joyce (Hardcover - Nov. 26 1991)
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