I never doubted for a second that I’d finish it, because this time I vowed to read it no matter what but some of it was a chore to get through and nearly everyone I know kept referring to it as The Beast. It is rather beastly.
Part Three was my favorite part, particularly the very last episode titled, Penelope. This is an entire episode dedicated to Molly Bloom’s thoughts as she is in bed with her husband, Leopold Bloom. She recounts the early days of their marriage and the countless men she’s had affairs with. It’s a rather sad episode. Molly hasn’t lived a life of luxury and struggles with identity.
The entire book is a collection of failures and missed opportunities and puts everyone’s weaknesses front and center. As a reader, it’s easy to get lost in the gibberish and the heavy-handed use of slang but buried, deep down, there are little gems hidden here and there.
There are many reading guides available to help a reader experience Ulysses but really, you just need to dive in and experience it for yourself. This was my first complete read of the novel, but I suspect it won’t be my last. Many recommend rereading it many times to really appreciate it.
We called this a read-along, mainly for the support aspect but many had to put it down for various reasons. I don’t blame them. It’s a book that begs you to hate it with all its rambling prose and lack of plot but I feel that the last episode pulled it all together for me.
Since many have not read Ulysses, what is one classic you’ve always wanted to read but for whatever reason never did?