Friday, 26 January 2018

Safe Space for Dubliners

Seems President Trump wants a safe space to be provided for his visit to the UK with no nasty hecklers...

Talking of safe spaces and Presidents, seems that do at the President's Club must have been a bit of a washout as everyone who was asked seems to have left early. There seems to be a tad more decorum at working men's strip clubs - at least the men there obey the unwritten rule of no groping the strippers.

After seeing a documentary on the life of James Joyce I bought his collection of short stories, Dubliners. I've got Ulysses in my library, as well as Finnegan's Wake - the former having had one chapter read and the latter being totally unreadable.

What struck me immediately, and it never occurred to me when reading Ulysses, is the fact he never used quotation marks when there's a conversation. Apparently it's called the continental style, which I've never heard of before. All conversation starts with a hyphen. It's not surprising he should use this style when one considers he lived most of his life on the continent. The prose loses nothing from the lack of quotation marks at all and, in fact, it's an improvement from a view of legibility.

As for the book - can't see what all the excitement is about and why many consider it his best work. It comprises a series of short stories that are unconnected and you get the feeling that you're peering into the lives of a bunch of people for anything from a few minutes to a few hours, with no plot. A bit like a sketch show on TV with no punchlines to each sketch. The fact the stories are unconnected and have no plot perhaps is a precursor to Finnegan's Wake - no start, no middle, no end, no sense.

The writing is descriptive and somewhat reminiscent of Laurie Lee's, especially in the 3rd and 4th stories which remind me of Cider With Rosie, but that's as far as I'd go in extolling it. I wouldn't recommend anyone went out of their way to buy it - for me it was mere curiosity. I shall persevere, especially as I'm led to believe The Dead, which is the final story, is the best. Must admit I'm tempted to just straight to the last story, peasant that I am.

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