Ok, I give in. I am doing my best to read James Joyce's major works. This year I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. That is the best book by him I have read, the first I was able to read through. In the novel the modernist technique works well and gets its point across in a solid manner.
Right now I'm about halfway through Dubliners. The stories are written very clearly and are easy to understand. They are purposefully lacking in any sense of plot, because the author wished to show the smallness and emptiness of life after industrialization: individual people count little in the developing mass society and their destinies seem irrelevant.
Much has been written about Joyce, of course, so much, in fact, that there probably is more eisegesis (reading author intentions into) than exegesis (drawing author intentions out of) his works. Borges said that Joyce's novels were illegible. I assume he was referring to Ulysses and the Wake. I would say that the earlier work is very readable, though the latter work was ostensibly intended to be abstruse. Borges also said (in connection with other authors, not Joyce) that what writers intend their work to be and what it becomes are two different things. I will have something to say about that in subsequent posts.
Keep an eye out for them and don't forget that Angela 1: Starting Over is now available as an e-book cheap!
If you prefer the hardback, it's available at www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html
Thanks for dropping by!