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ARABY by James Joyce


by James Joyce & developed by Crocobee illustrated by Viktoria Töttös

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2011
Publisher: Crocobee

This app version of the short story culled from the collection in Dubliners explores the inner journey from childhood to adulthood. With beautiful prose and psychological depth, this is quintessential Joyce, in which coming of age is set squarely on the road to disillusionment.

The author's carefully nuanced descriptions of a dreary Dublin neighborhood are illustrated with Töttös’ gorgeous graphics, rendered in sepia tones and in a style reminiscent of the Edwardian era, in which Dubliners was first published. Initially illuminated through the lens of a child's imagination, the neighborhood gradually loses its luster as the young narrator's story unfolds. Frustrated at every turn by adults and impatient to leave childhood behind, his journey into adulthood is embodied in his attempt to travel on the train to the Araby bazaar and purchase a gift for the idealized object of his intense first crush. Available in six languages (and bracketed by an original music loop brief enough to be enjoyable), the text is accompanied by subtle sound effects—of village life, creaky floors, music at the titular bazaar—and occasional animations. The minute hand travels inexorably around a clock face as the boy waits; two two-shilling pieces clink gently when his uncle finally gives him train fare. This app is not remarkable for its interactive features, which are minimal, but for its respect for the source material.

A classic story in an appealing format. (iPad storybook app. 14 & up)