Each of the beautifully written short stories in this collection precisely details a brief scene in the life of a resident of Dublin at the turn of the 20th century. Although the characters do not know each other, their experiences unfold along the same streets and often overlap thematically. Their tragedies mirror that of Ireland, a country struggling for political identity and held back, in Joyce's view, by rigid religious ideas and adherence to tradition. Joyce's great skill at dialect offers a sense of the city's complex social structure, while themes of isolation, emotional paralysis, violence, regret, and death run throughout the collection and link all of the stories.
This edition contains extensive overviews of both the author and the collection of short stories.