It's a bunch of short stories set in Dublin. James Joyce has this way of leaving the story on a slightly different thread from what the original narration was about, pretty subtle, but nice.
I try to judge the book by the stories I remember, the characters I remember and when I look at the contents I find little - maybe I am getting old. The Sisters, An Encounter, Araby, Eveline, After the Race, Two Gallants, The Boarding House. A Little Cloud, Counterparts, Clay, A Painful Case, Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A Mother,Grace and The Dead.
'The Sisters' was about a priest who dies and its aftermath.An Encounter is about two friends - one who despises the others gumption. 'Two Gallants' is about two friends - one of whom is trying to con a girl into giving him money - or so they believe. 'The Boarding House' is about a young man who impregnates the daughter of the boarding house - but the daughter does not seem to much care whether he marries her or not.
'A Little Cloud' is the best - I remember it from a collection and it stayed - about this friend who has travelled the world and how he influences this mousy chap into doing things with more flair and adventure - until he realises he cannot do it. In 'The Counterparts' the guy at work has a tough day and takes it out on his kid at home. Or rather, everyone is taking it out on someone else.
'A Painful Case' is one - an elderly couple meet and when they become close enough to visit each other at home she holds his hand. he withdraws and reproaches her and in a few years she dies, by suicide. He wonders if he did right, if he could have been different, if he could have been more sympathetic. Anyway now he is alone. 'A Mother' is about a mother who wants to get her daughter her due. 'After the Race' was about a bunch of young gentlemen of different classes who go for a race and how they end up after the race - their differences showing.
Makes his point very subtly. Thanks Abhinay. Glad to have read this book.