The author kept getting bogged down in details instead of moving the storyline along, because we don’t need to know everything about the characters, just enough to keep reading until the climax of the story; if you compare it with something like the Hunt for Red October you’ll see what I mean.
That is a recent review of Ulysses by James Joyce culled from the riches of erudition commonly found on Amazon. Although this blurb is highly representative of the dumbing-down of civilization I can’t help but suspect it to be a ruse … anyone who represents the culmination of Ulysses as a climax just has to be an avid reader of Joyce.
The question posed in this weeks NYT Book Review is “How Would ‘Ulysses’ Be Received Today?”
I sat down to consider what I might say in a post focusing on my favorite author, Alain Robbe-Grillet. Specifically I was running through the events and the structure of what is possibly R-Gs most well-known novel, Le Voyeur. But despite having read this novel at least five times, I began to get confused.
It goes something like this:
Le Voyeur is the story of a watch salesman who takes the ferry to the offshore island where he grew up in hopes to makes some lucrative sales. While he is waiting for the ferry he thinks back to the last time he went to the island and, characteristic of the author, while he is imagining his past experiences, he is also having his remembered self thinking back to his even earlier experiences on the island. Then to really confuse the situation, the watch salesman is also imagining how he will canvas the island when he gets there and how he will make such excellent profits off of the watches he will sell after the ferry takes him to the island.
Of course, when the watch salesman gets to the island and tries to sell his wares, his efforts do not provide the rewards he imagined. Then a young girl is found strangled and there is talk of a stranger wandering suspiciously around the island. Is the watch salesman the killer? There are many clues to suggest he is guilty.
Actually, it’s not terribly valuable unless you haven’t read James Joyce’s Ulysses and need a little push … okay, if it gets someone to discover the fun and erudition of Ulysses, then it’s very valuable. It does bring back memories of the 1967 film of Ulysses which I saw in a small movie theater on Wilshire Boulevard (if I recall). I went back several times with different friends to marvel at Milo O’Shea as Leopold Bloom. This was one of two movies I have been obsessed with in my life: the other was Les Parapluis de Cherbourg (which started my lifelong lust for La Deneuve).
But here is the Top Ten clip for Ulysses: