The linkages in James Joyce’s Dubliners are a bit harder to see than those of some of the modern linked story collections or even its near-contemporary, Winesburg, Ohio. Instead of continuing or overlapping characters, the primary connector in this book is thematic. The setting also brings these stories together—mostly they provide glimpses into working class Dublin—but the real link is that they examine the morality of the Dubliners.
Several of the stories are familiar, most notably “The Dead,” which concludes the book. “Araby” and “Eveline” are also well known, or at least those are the stories I remembered most clearly from earlier readings of the collection.
I loved re-reading “The Dead,” which is an incredible story about, among other things, arrogance. The last line is memorable: “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.”
For more discussion, see here, here, or here.
Next up: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout