I love books. As soon as I finish one I start another. Now I control myself and I only start one at the time otherwise it's just a never ending list of unfinished books. I very rarely give up on a book. I can count them on one hand, one of them being Harry Potter, I just don't get it. And there is the book. The one that is your challenge. For many French people it would be Marcel Proust, for me it was James Joyce's Ulysses. 

Why Ulysses? I don't have a clue. I can't remember for how long I have been wanting to read that book, well wanting but not in a rush to start. I don't know if it was because of the title, it always intrigued me, because it is a big book and that's a challenge, 684 pages of tiny prints, because of that picture of Marilyn or because of the fact no one I know has managed to finish it or knows someone who did. And that sets me up for a challenge. Reading the unreadable book.

The first aim was to pass the first 100 pages, my mum, my mum's partner and all his friends (he is a literature teacher at University) never managed to go further. I was very motivated, I read them. I wouldn't say that I enjoyed them a lot. Then it got a bit easier, interesting, then it got confusing, then it became very long, then it became just unreadable and unbearable. And I almost gave up at 530 pages. Each part - there are only 3 main chapters divided in sort of parts - is written in a different style. The play style part is unbearable. Not so much for the writing but for what is happening. I'm not surprised it was banned and judged obscene in 1922. It is followed by a sort of questions/answers thing. Who is asking the questions, who is answering? Who knows.

The back cover says that the story is about Bloom finding out that his wife, Marion is cheating on him with Stephen Deladus. Spoilers here, it only happens page 634. I was starting to have doubts. So now I have 40 pages left to read, it is Marion's monologue. 44 pages without punctuation. "I'll" becomes "Ill".

It was a struggle to read this book, I've enjoyed some parts but out of 684 pages, it's not much. But I did it. I'll very soon be the only person I know who finished that book, and I take a little pride in that. But to be honest I couldn't finish the Dubliners which is just above 100 pages so I'm not sure what I was expecting with Ulysses!


  1. One word (I'm more efficient than Joyce): congrats!!

    1. It would have taken Joyce 342 pages for that! Thank you.