Most helpful critical review
on April 15, 2002
... The critics rave about Ulysses. Many readers who've slogged all the way through proclaim it to be the greatest book of the 20th Century. Put me in the camp of those who thinks it's a pile of gibberish.
It's the only book I've ever read that still had me scratching my head after three chapters. Is it a novel? A series of unrelated short stories? A poem? Apparently, only intellectuals can tell.
I was taught that writing is the process of communicating with readers. This book fails miserably at that. I honestly can't summarize the plot. I didn't understand it. Maybe I'm stupid, but I think the fact that Joyce repeatedly breaks into long stretches of French and Latin and his own made-up words--none of which I understand--has something to do with it.
I give the book two stars because of Joyce's obvious mastery of vocabulary, and because maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm too ignorant to comprehend the genius. But I doubt it. To me, reading enjoyment shouldn't be this hard. --Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.