In the morning I was first-comer to the bridge as I lived nearest. I hid my books in the long grass near the ashpit at the end of the garden where nobody ever came and hurried along the canal bank. It was a mild sunny morning in the first week of June. I sat up on the coping of the bridge admiring my frail canvas shoes which I had diligently pipeclayed overnight and watching the docile horses pulling a tramload of business people up the hill. All the branches of the tall trees which lined the mall were gay with little light green leaves and the sunlight slanted through them on to the water. The granite stone of the bridge was beginning to be warm and I began to pat it with my hands in time to an air in my head. I was very happy.
Isn’t James Joyce a pure joy to read? I have a confession: for a long time, I refused to read Joyce because I was convinced that it is too difficult to read for me. Well, it isn’t easy, I’ll give you that. The first story in Dubliners, The Sisters, shocked me because I read all through to the end and I didn’t understand anything! Then I did some research, and I slowly started to understand the story behind the story. And again, I was shocked by the mere power of this author’s art.
I was right to worry about my ability to understand such a complex author, the subtext is extremely rich, but now that I’ve tried, I know it is well worth the job.
Something you don’t need any preparation for is the beauty of Joyce’s prose. It is rich, and smooth, and vivid, and it touches you, and you feel like you’re inside the story. And there’s a sound to it, music, almost. There are colour and texture. You don’t just read it, you experience it.
I’m very happy I’ve finally decided to take up Dubliners.
This post is part of the Ireland Reading Month organised by 746 Books and The Fluff Is Raging blogs.
“Last year we hosted a whopping 130 posts on all things relating to Irish culture. Books, food, travel, movies, theatre and favourite bookshops – your enthusiasm was boundless and so was your reading.
So this year we hope to be bigger and better.
To celebrate the wealth and breadth and general awesomeness of Irish cultural life, 746 Books and Raging Fluff are co-hosting a month long celebration of all things Irish.”
Mmm, you’re doing better than me. I’ve never got to grips with Joyce.
He certainly isn’t the kind of author you read to relax. But I like authors who make good use of subtexts, maybe that’s why I appreciate him 🙂
Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense
I’ve never read James Joyce before. I believe I have a copy of Ulysses somewhere, but I’ve always been intimidated. Glad to know you’ve enjoyed his works.
Well, in spite of my discovery that I do like Joyce, I’d be intimidated to read Ulysses nonetheless. Though I think that – with an adequate preparation – it must be a fascinating read.