‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce

When I first read this book, I barely got through to the end.

As some of you might already know, I have a tiny problem with short stories: they are short.

That means that either I don’t have enough time to get into the story, or I’m just that disappointed when it ends so quickly, that I forget what a nice story it was.

Now you can understand why, as I was 16 and fairly ignorant about James Joyce, the first time I almost threw ‘Dubliners’ out of the window.

This book – the first James Joyce wrote, yet the second he got published – is indeed a collection of fifteen short stories and in each one of them, there’s not really much happening.

It was easy for me to get bored, back at the time.

The epiphany (to use a word dear to James) came as I was assigned ‘Dubliners’ at the local Book Club as reading of the month.

An introduction to the book, a brilliant introduction written by Colm Tòibìn, finally convinced me that ‘Dubliners’ is not a collection of short stories, after all.

It’s a book about Dublin, and consequently about Ireland at the end of the XIX century, when the country was undergoing a tremendous cultural revival and Nationalism was at its peak, after the death of the Uncrowned King of Ireland Charles Stewart Parnells.

Through these fifteen stories, James guides us down Dublin’s roads, in a journey through childhood, young age and adulthood, while Ireland is in struggle to define what it means to be Irish.

Irish Nationalism is not the only theme of this collection, but no, I’m not going to start a lecture about James Joyce and ‘Dubliners’.

Also because, one of the brilliant things about these stories is that James gives you reader space and freedom to think, to understand and to build up your own idea about the situation and the characters he’s telling you about.

Therefore, it would be quite presumptuous of me to take away that freedom and to tell you everything in advance.

However, I can’t but remark a couple of things.

For example how James decides to begin with death and how he ends with the snow, covering both the living and The Dead, as closing the circle in many struggled life, spent in the search of success, love and redemption, yet paralyzed in a prison of routine.

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If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads

If you want to buy this book: Amazon

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