Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just spent a long two weeks or so re-reading Dubliners, of all things. How does that take me two weeks? The book is so tiny it fits in your back pocket with room to spare for a copy of Lunch Poems, but still, I just couldn't finish the thing off.

It all started when I picked it up and read "The Dead" and I suddenly remembered how great that story is. I think I like any story that includes people shaking rain off of umbrellas as they climb creaking wooden stairs, but this reading really got me for reasons beyond overheated and smokey coziness of the rooms it takes place in. That end, I think it's pretty beautiful and sad and I don't think anyone should disagree with me on that.

But so I took my experience with "The Dead" as reason enough to re-read the whole collection, and . . . man, it just didn't happen for me. The stories almost feel dated now, much more so than people who modeled themselves on this book, like, say, Hemingway's short stories, which only get better with time and I'm not just saying that because I'm a dude, because I am anything but a dude's dude. I'm saying it because Hemingway, young Hemingway, short story and parts of Farewell to Arms Hemingway, is about as good as we get. So I was surprised at this time through Dubliners. It wasn't anything like what happens when I re-read "The Three Day Blow" or "The End of Something" or this one where about him and Hadley skiing somewhere in Europe.

And I doodled that picture of Joyce at school one day last week while I was trying to lesson plan.


Dawn Potter said...

"The Dead" is glorious, but I agree: the rest of that collection is a dim echo of some forgotten and possibly never very interesting language.

Mr. Hill said...

Really, thank you for this confirmation. Or maybe it's an affirmation. Regardless, I had been wondering if it was just me.