I’m just rereading Ulysses in preparation for the centennial Bloomsday, and I was browsing Amazon.com customer reviews when I stumbled upon this review. I think it might be the finest example I’ve ever seen of a Reader Who Missed The Point.
My opinion: That’s almost certainly a tongue-in-cheek review.
That’s some wise-ass having a joke. The comparison to Tom Clancy gives it away.
Besides, somebody who really was that moronic wouldn’t have made it past the first paragraph of the novel. Joyce is not exactly beach reading. Heck, I’m one of the most well-read people I know, and I still need to keep Don Gifford’s book of annotations handy when I reread Ulysses.
Yes, it’s has to be a wind up. (I was going to say it is just someone taking the piss, then remembered the confusion that phrase might cause)
He’s far from the first to get a bit annoyed with all things James Joyce. Roddy Doyle has his own issues.
Compare this to Ed Zern’s famous (and definitely tongue-in-cheek) review of Lady Chatterly’s Lover for the Nov. 1959 issue of Field and Stream:
I wouldn’t be at all sure that the reviewer was being sarcastic. Amazon.com’s reviews stand in line all day for the privilege of sucking leprous wombats. Type in any remotely controversial book (Harry Potter, Left Behind, Harvard Hates America, History of God, etc.) and you’ll find several passionate reviews condemning or praising the book by people who admit they haven’t read it, or type in any major diet book (Atkins, South Beach, Ornish, Body for Life etc.) and you’ll find people trashing the diet for not working for them who then admit they didn’t follow the instructions, anything gay brings out the Fundies and anything ultraconservative brings out liberal kooks who attach the writer but not the book, etc… It’s just generally not a place where the literati go to discuss the classics, so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the above reviewer was completely serious.
This seems like a good place to link to Ulysses for Dummies. It’s the little details in the animated stick-figure illustrations that crack me up.