Saturday, March 21, 2009

No. 21 - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

by James Joyce

Started: March 21
Finished: March 28

Notes: In an effort to expand my writing and reading horizons, I'm turning to this literary author. Besides, he was Irish, and it's just been St. Patty's Day. This semi-biographical fiction novel was first published in 1916.

Mini review: There's some genius here. There's lots of boring reading, too, but there's some fine needles among the haystack. Basically, this is the story of a boy growing into a young man in Ireland and his bouts with religion, sexuality, philosophy, history and more. Eventually he seems to settle for a sort of secularist agnosticism in his beliefs, but he leaves open a mental door that he may come back to the church someday. The chapter mostly about religion contained a priest's description of hell that is absolutely the best description of hell I've ever read, even better than Milton's. What I enjoyed most about this book was that it opened my mind to a new way of telling a story, sort of a literary stream-of-consciousness writing that shows up from time to time in this novel; this helped me most with a story idea of my own I've had in mind for some time, though I didn't know quite how to tell the story. Now I do. And I have Joyce to thank for it.

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