Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Wonderful and accessible Joyce, pedantic annotations
on August 2, 2011
This is a great place to start with James Joyce, because it is readable and engaging. What at first seems like a slow start is actually a slow burn that bursts into flame at the end. If you've ever doubted whether your life is full, or your love is true, or worried about death or the claims the past makes upon the present, you'll be intrigued by Joyce's treatment of these themes.
You will probably want to ignore the annotations on a first read, though. One is actually a partial spoiler for the ending, which I think is a terrible practice. If you are a tourist in Dublin, you will enjoy knowing just where everything takes place--and with these annotations, you will--but for anyone else, it is frustrating to follow a footnote only to find out on what corner of Dublin an aforementioned statue sits. Similarly, for antique furniture enthusiasts, it may be interesting to find out, in two separate footnotes, that peirglasses and cheval glasses are both different kinds of mirrors, but is it worth interrupting the narrative? Of the hundred or so footnotes, only a handful provide useful information for a non-specialist, and even these can be inferred from context. The only one that might be hard to guess is that "delicate," in a certain context, means stricken with consumption, which we call tuberculosis--so now that I've given you that one, you can ignore the rest until your second, more scholarly reading.