Book Review : Dubliners by James Joyce

“For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”


My Rating : *4 Stars*

I’m not a good writer but who really cares. Writing is fun and everyone can’t be James Joyce. But I do care about me being a good reader and I definitely like to form opinions about the text I read. So bear with me.

For a very long time I wanted to read this book for two reasons.

  1. I’ve this fascination about Ireland and Irish culture(but whatever opinions I had earlier were totally based on the movies that I watched, until I read this book).
  2. I love James Joyce writing and I loved Ulysses.


Dubliners is a collection of short stories, all these stories are unconnected. These stories form a picture of Dublin, its people, and their life in the early 20th century.

Joyce present us with the tragedy and comedy of  life. This book begins and ends with death and in between there is life.

Sometimes this book turned out to be disturbing, depressing and even saddening. Few stories were dull and dramatic at the same time and for me all the stories had some kind of darkness in them. But  Joyce literary spark of great writing left me stunned.

All the stories are unconnected and every single story introduce you with a new character and leaves you with an open ending and since none of these stories have a singular emotion associated with them which makes it difficult for me to comprehend my emotions for each one of them.

The biggest theme of this collection is how we are not able to change situations even when we desperately want to, how we try to find completeness in our life but couldn’t find it  because we are always wanting more(never satisfied), and how we are stuck.

Joyce also tried to include epiphany in most of his stories, where the characters experience a sudden realization and this also helps in understanding a situation or a problem from a new and a deeper perspective. I liked these epiphanies a lot.

I also have few favorite stories from this collection and I guess I’m gonna hold on to them for a very long time. Eveline, The Dead, An Encounter, A Painful Case, and of course Araby, they touched me.

“The Dead” which is unarguably the most famous short story out of this collection is beautiful and it also makes Dubliners worth reading. The ending brings me to a place of deep loneliness every time I read it and it is pleasurable for me.

In this story Gabriel present us with an anecdote about his grandfather and his horse, who worked in a mill, which forever walked in circle even when taken out of the mill where it worked.

Here he tries to tell us about the human nature that how we get stuck in certain types of habits and how these are so difficult to break.

Not just this there is more to this story.

It is hard for me to recommend this book, but I’ll leave you with one of my favorite passage from this book.

He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one, they were becoming shades…


A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. I was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.


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