Redacted by Michael James Fallon
ULYSSES, best summarized by scholar Marc C. Conner, “is about the humanity that exists behind the common events of daily existence. Ulysses is among the most moving, intimate, and profoundly human of epics. Beyond the complexity, the technique, and the difficulty, is a timeless story of a man and a woman, and a young man encountering the world and the issues we all face -- love, loss, doubt, passion, and uncertainty over our most fundamental relationships to one another, to our nation, to God. Bloom is the Everyman; and the characters of this story transcend their time and place and stand for all people, in all times and places. Every character is on a passage that will ultimately end in the grave, but Bloom speaks for the power of life.”
ULYSSES Abridged pares Joyce's epic masterpiece by a third, leaving the original storyline, characters, themes, and Joycean prose to be enjoyed by new readers and those liking to experience Bloomsday or Dublin. It is an excellent way to introduce Joyce and his epic novel to general readership and students, without having to resort to study guides. For those who yearned to read Ulysses but were put off by its length and complexity, here is an accessible version of the masterwork that will give you the flavor, nuance, wit, and passion of the original.
At last new readers can say honestly, 'Yes, I know Ulysses”.
MICHAEL JAMES FALLON was born in Toledo, Ohio. He attended St. John’s Jesuit High School; received his BA from the University of Notre Dame; Teaching and Administrative Credentials from San Jose State University; and his MA from the University of San Francisco. He is a retired Lecturer Emeritus from San Jose State University, College of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.
Michael is author of The Definitive St. Patrick’s Day Festivity (1998) and co-author of Kevin Moore’s Hail Mary Pass (2015). Michael lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, a hub of Celtic activities. His hobby is horse racing and he relishes the racing reference in Ulysses!
Michael has thrice visited Ireland, though knowing little of James Joyce on his first two visits, recalling only that he read Joyce’s The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in high school, and posing for a photo beside Joyce’s statue on O’Connell Street. He took up reading ULYSSES in 2004, and became engaged with reading, comprehending, and condensing the novel in 2013 upon his participation in a week of Bloomsday festivities while staying at All Hallows College, Dublin. Michael completed this ULYSSES Abridged ~ A Shorter Journey through James Joyce’s Masterpiece prior to Bloomsday 2022, the Centenary Year of the first publication of the novel in Paris, France.
ULYSSES Abridged is available via:
All major book retailers and independent bookstores worldwide
Gary Eberle Review, posted on Amazon, April 2023
Fallon has created a labor of love, intended for those not ready to invest the time needed to read the unabridged original text. Not burdened with too much critical apparatus, this version of Leopold Bloom's day in Dublin has enough notation to point the reader toward the deeper levels that lie below the sometimes-confusing surface of this 20th century masterpiece. The novel's text is all Joyce, but judiciously reduced for first time readers.
Ron Nicholas Review, posted on GoodReads, April 2023
Like many of my generation, since high school I have been aware of the reputation held in the literary world of James Joyce’s Ulysses. It had been described as both revolutionary and a masterpiece. It gathered much interest and curiosity as it was banned for obscene content. It also gained a reputation for being the most difficult book to read and understand. For that reason, for many years I suppressed any desire to read it as my motivation was conquered by my insecurity about overcoming the challenges.
Michael Fallon’s recent book, Ulysses Abridged – A Shorter Journey through James Joyce’s Masterpiece, helped me overcome my reading skill fears as he skillfully trimmed the original’s most challenging content, content that was not critical to any appreciation of Joyce’s “weightier” version. He also provides brief introductory notes for each of Joyce’s “Episodes” that helps ease the many style transitions that the original puts in the reader’s path.
A 2021 NY Times review of the original James Joyce Ulysses is introduced this way…
Our reviewer called “Ulysses” the “most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the 20th century.” That doesn’t mean he liked it.
So did I like it? Well, I like that I completed it. I like that I get why the original received the attention and praise that it has enjoyed. I like that I understand why it was banned back in the days that it was originally published. I like that I appreciate the influence that Joyce has had on contemporary writing since he wrote it.
I really like that my journey through Joyce’s Ulysses is over. It was rather grueling at times but I can now enjoy my sense of accomplishment in reaching my goal and overcoming my reading self-doubt.
And to what do I now attribute as keys to my success?
Well certainly, the skills and removal of obstacles that went into Michael Fallon’s Abridged version was a huge step. But I would also add that it helped to start the journey with lowered expectations. I learned that having “masterpiece” expectations could likely engender some “failure” anxieties if I wasn’t smart enough to immediately recognize “the brilliance” inherent in the writing. I also borrowed a trick from my reading of Shakespeare, another author who many find difficult to follow.
As with reading Shakespeare, I found that ALLOWING myself to not get hung up with the need to immediately follow each and every word or phrase, but instead to simply enjoy the flow of the English language, the imagery that the words, however obscure on their own, when taken as a whole, allowed for an appreciation of feelings and emotions and simple human expression, that I likely would not have otherwise enjoyed. In general, I think I valued some of the fruits of Joyce’s “stream of consciousness” by permitting myself to “go with the flow” so that beyond “liking” it, I could “enjoy” it.
Celia Fábos-Becker, posted on AmeriCeltic, April 2023
Not everyone has read Ulysses, or knows what it is about. In interviews with Fallon, he concurred with my own observation that most people who start to read the original book never finish it. For those who have just become aware of Ulysses, it is necessary to separate the work of creating a good abridgement, from Joyce’s original work. There is the quality of the original story and characters to be discussed.
I’m one of those who began but never finished reading Ulysses but not for the same reasons as some. This abridged version allowed me to finish it!
Fallon’s Ulysses Abridged is akin to a half marathon versus a full one - readers can honestly say, “Yes, I know Ulysses.” As such, it is an excellent way to introduce Joyce and his epic novel to the general readership and to students, without having them resort to “study guides.”
And, if you’re like many who have yearned to read Ulysses, but were put off by its length, here is an accessible version of the masterpiece that will give you the flavor, nuance, wit, and passion of the original.