I chose this book as an introduction to the renowned complexities of James Joyce. I was surprised by how short these short stories were, sometimes a little over ten pages though this was not to its shortcomings.
I found that some of the stories based in Dublin, were so rich in prose that they need not continue further, the point was significantly made. Conversely, I found that some of the stories as the book develops became less interesting with slightly on going prose, though the final story ‘the dead’ redeemed any misgivings with wonderfully written sensitive writing that was evident in earlier stories.
After reading each story, I read a brief analysis to fully understand the subtle yet complex themes each event contained. It is true that paralysis and routine are reoccurring themes of the stories with often sensational epiphical moments that are so intelligently placed, further creates the rich context in which it was written.
Joyce is reluctant to offer metaphoric symbolism yet offers an equally encouraging use of descriptive psychological representative prose like that of Flaubert. This is unlike the recent books I have read, allowing the reader to think more freely into captured meaning. This is not to suggest that the stories aren’t symbolic of Dublin or of the human condition which resoundingly leave you feeling part of its being.
After reading ‘the dead’ it seemed as if the first story, ‘The Sisters’ suddenly became increasingly meaningful and nostalgic where as the initial first reading may leave some questioning.
In summary, Joyce’s Dubliners is a richly intelligent slice of life novel that embeds an unforgettable feeling of realism that leaves you all the better for it.