The concept of this book is one that seems to be becoming increasingly popular. Take classics and create modern adaptions or ‘cover versions’. Some are more faithful then others, and some work better then others.
In this case I felt some stories worked well, others were less successful. Some were very faithful, others used the original as the launch pad to go somewhere entirely different. Faithfulness however to the original did not determine how successful I felt the story was.
My favourite was Counterparts. I thought changing the character’s addiction from alcohol to an addiction to the internet/social media was clever. It really shifts the story from the start of the 20th century to the 21st century, and presents something to which I suspect the majority of us can relate.
At the other end of the spectrum is Dead. In the original it is my favourite (I know very original). However in this version it was my least favourite. The story shifted to a dystopian future and while as a short story in its own right it is very intertesting, as a cover version of The Dead it was just odd. It is the story which had probably strayed the furthest from the original, so maybe it just didn’t live up to my expectation, which desired a Christmas dinner and snow covered Dublin. However I recently attended the Dubliners 100 event as part of the Dublin Book Festival, where Peter Murphy read an excerpt of the story, and it certainly grew on me a bit. They writing style is extremly lyrical and perhaps works better when being read aloud…not dissimilar to a lot of Joyce’s work on that count.
All in all an interesting collection. All the stories in the collection could stand on their own and a knowledge of the original is not required to enjoy them.