Tuesday, November 29
Book Review: Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man
Author: James Joyce
Summary: In his first and still most widely read novel, James Joyce makes a strange peace with the traditional narrative of a young man's self-discovery by respecting its substance while exploding its form, thereby inaugurating a literary revolution. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was published in 1916, when Joyce was already at work on Ulysses, and is exactly what its title says and much more. In an exuberantly inventive masterpiece of subjectivity, Joyce portrays his alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, growing up in Dublin and struggling through religious and sexual guilt toward an aesthetic awakening. In part a vivid picture of Joyce's own youthful evolution into one of the twentieth century's greatest writers, it is also a moment in the intellectual history of an age.
My Rating: 6.75/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: While the book is well written and is a good example of a coming of age story - but it just wasn't the book for me, as I couldn't connect to the characters to truly appreciate the book.
The author did do a great job at going deep into the thought process of the character goes through, it did a great job at showing the reader the emotions and thought process a person goes through as they grow up. The author managed to show the reader the characters spiritual growth and trials throughout his life with ease, but I couldn't connect to the characters. While I could appreciate the time the author took so the reader could get to know the characters, but there was something missing for the book that kept me from liking or connecting with the characters.
The writing was also very well done, Joyce was an excellent storyteller, but something - in both writing and characterization - fell short to help give his book that extra push from being average to extraordinary.
Would I recommend it to read: I still would, it's a classic book and one where the author takes time to develop his characters on many different levels. I think there are readers out there who would have no trouble connecting to the characters.
What to read next: Dubliners, Ulysses.
Challenges: 11 in 11, 1001 Books, Fall into Reading, Irish Reading Challenge