I have, in my day, made fun of James Joyce, because he’s a little bit like Gwyneth Paltrow: an easy target. But have I READ any James Joyce? Not willingly. (I read Portrait of an Artist and remember zero from it except that I hated every minute of it.)
So, I thought, dear Reader, that I would do a public service. I am going to create a reader’s guide of Ulysses, in the spirit of Cliff’s Notes (who, by the by, has a portrait at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Love Library, where I once worked, so it was inevitable that this would happen). With just a little bit more ado (…), I present to you: the first part of the Ulysses Read-Along Guide.
In the opening scene, we meet Buck Mulligan and Stephen Dedalus. I think they’re priests. Or…I don’t know. Jesuits? I’m not sure what’s going on. They’re very religiously oriented, but maybe they’re just euphemisms for something else. There’s something having to do with Buck crossing Stephen, and then mentioning that maybe Stephen killed his mom. Maybe. Buck spends the entire scene shaving.
Also, the term “scrotumtightening” is used to describe the sea.
Well, I’ll be, if I can’t see EXACTLY what Joyce is talking about. Maybe he IS the best writer in the Western world.
Nothing else happens. I mean, no one has a crush on anyone else, no one dies, there are no car chases or zombies. There are no proposals for marriage to billionaires. Yet. So it’s not my usual fair. YET.
I would keep reading but eh. Why? I’m waiting for the billionaire mogul with the body of sin to show up and sweep Ana off her feet. Wait. Wrong book.
I’ll pick up next time at the phrase “Palefaces.” At this rate, I should finish this read-along guide in 2034.