IN AN AGE which commends novels by citing their “accessibility,” one praises James Joyce’s Ulysses before a good many deafened ears. This singular 1922 work demands much from the reader, but the reward of one’s efforts is enormous. The highest tribute I can pay is this: I derive pleasure beyond what I can describe from the time I’ve lived among the fictional citizens of Dublin on June 16, 1904. I feel a bit sorry for anyone who doesn’t, or can’t, understand why I say this.
Reading of the ghost estates and the collapse of the Irish economy, my thoughts returned today to the small, southern Ontario town in which I was raised and which I recently visited. The surge and fall of the Celtic Tiger reminds one, as if reminder is needed, that life in the age of finance capitalism can be a matter both of spectacular rise and of sudden, disgraceful cadence. Or, as has been the case in my hometown, of lingering and even interminable decay. Continue reading “Going Home”