He always wanted to publish a great masterwork but he never did. He decided he will go to Dublin and much of the book is devoted to him thinking and talking about this trip.
There are a number of very good book blog posts on this work which a book blog search will find. Everyone declares it a great work. I wanted to really like this book but I found I was at best OK with it. Here are my reasons, which are to a good extent exterior to the merit of the book. I do not especially like novels, short stories, movies or TV shows about alcoholics or drug users. This is a personal prejudice and I acknowledge it as such but I was bored listening to the narrator talk and think about how much he wished he could have a drink. Also I think, and it is an often expressed view, that saying the growth of E-Readers is somehow a terrible thing that will lead to the ending of reading or is the start of a new dark age is one of the dumbest phoniest silliest debates around and the narrator seems to think it is going to happen because of e-books. This made me see him as a self serving person with no real love for literature.
I enjoyed parts of this book but I do not endorse purchasing of it. I know there are those who will think I am totally off in my remarks or cannot see pass my prejudices about drinkers and drug users and that it OK. I felt like telling the narrator, OK let me buy you a shot of Jameson at Temple Bar and then you can go look in some of the book stores on Grofton Street and then you can look at the hundreds and hundreds of ways E-readers and tablets are enriching the reading world when you sober up in the morning, and Oh yes your wife called and wants to be sure you are not drinking again.