Previously, we've lamented the lack of memorable Jewish characters in literature. One would think that in three millenniums of the written word, we could do better than Shylock and Fagin. So when it was pointed out that the main character of James Joyce's "Ulysses", Leopold Bloom, is Jewish, we went to our local book store and bought a tome of the famed classic. How can one go wrong with what was selected as the finest English-language novel of the 20th century?
Or so we thought.
Oh, did we ever give it a chance! First on its own, then with annotations. It turns out that Bloom wasn't even really Jewish. His father was, but converted to Protestantism. His mother was a Catholic. Bloom himself converted to Catholicism.
But it's not Bloom's lack of Judaism that turned us off. We've never been so indifferent when reading a book. We've never been so bored.
Top novel of the 20th century? Give us #2, "The Great Gatsby". Give us #4, "Lolita", #13, "1984", #18, "Slaughterhouse Five", or #45, "The Sun Also Rises".
Give us Jay Gatsby. Give us Winston Smith or Billy Pilgrim or Jake Barnes. Heck we'd even take... well, OK, not Humbert Humbert. But any of them would be better, any of them would be more memorable than Leopold Bloom.
We guess there is no accounting for taste.