Ok...I admit it...I needed to Google this book to undertsand what the main ideas were.It's not that it's badly written - on the contrary. Stream of thought is actually quite an understandable style, once you get the hang of it. It's more of my inability to keep my brain focused that stopped me from appreciating the book for what it is. However, once I did understand the main themes, it was quite easy to see why this book is considered a classic. The themes of captivity and freedom, beauty and religion are all explored in such a subtle, elegant way that at first you do not understand them (dumb blonde moment). Clearly, I must make friends with Joyce... kinda like Nodame does with Mozart. Read until the meaning bleeds into my head.