Source: Spoken Alexandria
Length: 16 min
Reader: Alex Wilson
"Araby" by James Joyce is the first in his collection Dubliners. The unnamed narrator is a boy growing up in a neighborhood in Dublin, Ireland. The story tells of his childhood games, his infatuation with a friend's sister, and his attempt to impress the girl by going to the titular traveling bazaar. It's a story about hope and disappointment, which Joyce equates to growing up.
As with most of Joyce 's work, this is a story of great meaning buried beneath a surface of banality. Joyce invests each word with such depth that it is difficult to actually enjoy the story on first reading it. This is a story that demands work, a prying apart of the symbols and allusions. However, I think it's the most accessible story in Dubliners and well worth the effort.
The Reader: Alex Wilson turns in another good performance. As I mention above, this is a piece that is difficult to fully understand the first time through, and the difficulty is compounded when you cannot go back and dwell on a sentence. Wilson acts the piece as a performance, which helps, but tends to narrow the meaning of the words to his own interpretation. So, I think this reading is best as a supplement to the text for re-reading or pre-reading the actual printed page.