I’ve been reading Ulysses for over a month now, and I’m only about a quarter of the way through. I know it’s supposed to be an amazing literary masterpiece…but I’m not enjoying it. Not one little bit.
I expected that after 137 pages, I’d be feeling something more than boredom and exasperation. But I’m not. I’m struggling to read more than a couple of pages each day, and instead of looking forward to my bed-and-book routine at night, I’m finding it frustrating instead of relaxing.
I don’t know what it is. It could be the insipid characters, none of whom I’ve found any endearing quality in. It could be the lengthy stream-of-consciousness paragraphs which – to me – come across as the incoherent mumblings of the aforementioned dull and uninspiring characters, or the supposed interactions between them which just don’t ring true. I understand the numerous allusions to Greek mythology, the double entendres and the puns. I appreciate the poetics and the skillful use of big words. And I still don’t like it.
Perhaps it’s simply that I expected it to be fantastic and it’s not. Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe, I should have eased myself in to Joyce, and started with Dubliners. Maybe we’re just not meant to be, me and Ulysses.
But I’m going to keep reading, just in case I suddenly find something to like about this book. I’m going to give it another 50 pages, and if I’m still turning each page with a heavy heart….then I’ll call it a day.