Finnegans Wake

Joyce, James. Finnegans Wake. New York: Viking, 1939.

Confessional: I was doomed right from the start. I have been calling this book Finnegan’s Wake. That should tell you something…when I can’t even get the title right. I have read a lot of reviews of Finnegans Wake. Lots of advice on how to even read the thing. When you have more reviews suggesting how to read a book rather than what the book was actually about, that should tell you something. In all honesty, I have no clue what it was about. But, I’m not alone. Tons of other people have been scratching their heads, too. But, but, but that’s not to say they aren’t without advice: I tried reading it aloud, as many suggested. I tried not taking it too seriously, as others promised would help. I tried drinking with each chapter and even that didn’t make the going any easier. Drinking just made me laugh when something wasn’t funny. It’s much like the lyrics to Phish. I don’t understand a jiboo so I don’t “get” the song. End of story.

Reason read: James Joyce was born in February – just like me, myself and moi.

Author fact: Joyce took 17 years to write Finnegans Wake and it shows. I think he randomly forgot where he was in the story and picked up any old place, even in the middle of sentences.

Book trivia: Finnegans Wake was Joyce’s last book. He died two years after its publication. I can see that.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called simply “Irish Fiction” (p 175) but more importantly, from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Ireland: Beyond Joyce, Behan, Beckett, and Synge” (p 110). Technically, I never should have picked Joyce up. As the chapter suggests, I should be reading anything but Joyce, Behan, Beckett or Synge.