These stories of everyday life in Dublin focus on the moral lives of its citizens, as they deal with their poverty, urges, and loves.
For anyone who wants to know James Joyce, there is no better place to start than with Dubliners. These stories are totally clear, and poetic in their treatment of the subjects although nominally written in prose. Joyce had yet to lay on his advanced techniques of stream-of-consciousness in the way that he eventually did in Ulysses. These stories are also more censored and proper, so you will not be jolted by the surface crudity of his later works. But these stories do primarily explore the mental conversations and processes that the characters employ with themselves.
Each story ends in a powerful mentally-experienced epiphany that tells you more about the character than the rest of the story combined. Think of these epiphanies as being the purest and strongest form of O. Henry's wonderful last minute twists in his short stories. I cannot give you an example from Dubliners without seriously compromising your enjoyment. The best epiphany in this collection though comes in "The Boarding House."
Stories about Irish people and Ireland greatly benefit from being read aloud with the proper accents. Mr. McSorley is an inspired choice for this audio cassette version. He is able to shift from character to character extremely easily, and can do English accents just as well as Irish ones.
As as result, I felt like I was sitting around a warm fire with some Irish whiskey in my hand leaning forward with anticipation as the beautiful stories unwound from the reel into my ears and echoed into my soul.
Of all the ways I have enjoyed Dubliners, this was the greatest pleasure for me. I do suggest that you also read all of the stories on your own afterward. They are very rewarding as they build on interrelated themes of love, commitment, family, honor, and death. Perhaps, if you are like me, you will also hear Mr. McSorley's lovely voice in your mind when you read the other stories, as well. James Joyce would have approved, I'm sure.
The better the short story, the more it benefits from being read aloud. I suggest that you try recordings of Dubliners as well. You can also do this with other writers, as well. Further, you will benefit from reading them aloud in your own voice. And, when appropriate, read them to your children. "Araby" and "The Race" would be superb choices from this collection.
Enjoy great stories in as many ways as you can!