Book #77-Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Anyone who has read my other Joyce reviews is well aware that I am most certainly no fan of the enigmatic writing style many consider genius.  I am not one who considers it as such, however, I did approach Finnegans Wake with an open, but honestly not hopeful mind.  Once again, I was disappointed, no, more than that, I was perplexed.  Were I to say I read this much praised tome, may possibly not be truly forthright.  As it were, there were paragraphs…no sentences…no words…no letters (and sometimes symbols) that appeared on pages which my conditioned mind absorbed, yet my possibly limited intellect could not grasp.

I tried, really I did, but alas I failed to be enamored of all things Joycean.  As a show of sincerity, I located the following Glosses of Finnegans Wake website totally devoted to translating Finnegans Wake for the mere mortal reader, such as I, yet I still failed to comprehend or appreciate its notoriety.  Its use of stream of consciousness, dream sequences, question and answer segments, plays and other such nonsense left this reader nodding out on more than one occasion.  I must concede that a work that took 18 years to produce was most certainly not meant to be absorbed in a mere 7 days.

As I always fantasize about a little tete a tete with authors, I’d approach this one carefully.  While I’m sure Mr. Joyce had many an interesting tale to spin, I’m not sure he would convey it in a manner such as I would find welcoming.  Indubitably, we would meet in a most public place for our chat as I fear the man was in the throes of madness.

My rating for Finnegans Wake  is a 1 out of 10.

To see the entire list, visit Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.

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Next up, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim.


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