The twentieth century's adoration of Joyce has created an apparently inexhaustable supply of material on his not-so-very-interesting life, and there's no reason to suppose that this is the end of it. Still, Costello's biography isn't bad, and to some people, no doubt, it will be indispensable: how else are we going to pin down all the real-life references in Joyce's monumental work if we don't get to read about his childhood over and over? The obvious question to ask about a sizeable new biography on Joyce is, of course, how it stacks up to Richard Ellman's great work, which sits dog-eared in some corner of nearly every public library in the world, not to mention the library of every self-respecting scholar. Well, the new work won't rival the old, but considered as a supplement, with new information, much of it unearthed by Costello himself, it does very nicely. End of review. But now ask yourself this: Isn't there something suspicious about this "inexhaustible" interest in Joyce minutiae? Doesn't it suggest something a little wrong with the way we study, use, and appreciate great works of art? Wisdom might counsel that we break ourselves of this addiction to literary biographies and begin rereading the works themselves. On the other hand, this book is going to be all over the classier book stores. Saying no might be harder than a librarian could guess.