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User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Everyone tries to decipher the meaning of this book, and its underlying plots. Seems to me, after only being able to stand a few chapters, that Joyce just plain lost it towards the end. Perhaps this weird collection of nonsense is really "outsiders art" in a literary sense. Why it is considered a classic is completely foreign to me. Where it anyone but Joyce, it would NEVER have seen publication. Perhaps that, also, was his point...I'm James Joyce, and any of my rubbish will find publication...even if I just write gibberish. I would be willing to bed Stephen King could make a bestseller doing just that... 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Well, I did it – I read each of the 628 pages of this book. And I am stumped. As a novel, this clearly rates a zero. However, as a “compilation of puns, riddles, word games, linguistic curiosities, and bits of cultural trivia” it is overwhelming. You could take any page and spend weeks deciphering the text for its hidden, double and triple meanings. I starting reading the book using Tilldall’s Reader’s Guide, assuming that the book was to be read “word by word making sense of everything in linear order,” just like any other novel. But that is wrong! The correct way to read FW is to let the words flow and let your mind play with the words, both visually and acoustically. Expect 95% to flow right on through, but that 5% will provide a stimulating playground of word play, sound play, literary and historical references, and much ado about the Gospels and Catholicism. The craftsmanship is so creative that each morsel causes a pause in your reading for a chance to replay the phrase or sentence to see how many other meanings could be intended. Of course you will need to have that foundation from classic literature, folklore, myths and legends, historical figures and events, proverbs, the Bible, and Catholic rites and prayers. So do not use this as your introduction to the classics. But after you’ve made your way through a recommended-reading list (I used the Top 100), FW becomes at least approachable, yet never comprehensible.
The Reader’s Guide does a fair job of providing a structure to the reading, but when it comes down to it, Mr Tilldale is groping for meaning as much as you the reader. Afterwards, I found the Introduction in the book itself to provide better instructions on the reading of the book. Actually, the ending of the book, as ALP mourns over her dead husband HCE, is very moving and touching, though I couldn’t say why. But the words and phrases are such that you know she is pouring her heart out over the coffin.
As a simple example of the many, many different ways that any single passage can be interpreted, on page 621 is the phrase “All men has done something. Be the time they’ve come to the weight of all fletch.” Mr Tilldale thinks this links to “you must buy me a fine new girdle” 14 lines earlier (weight of additional flesh as you grow older). But I consider this to stand on its own , with reference to The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler. Mr Tilldale does say Joyce uses WOAF in his description of Chapter VII, but I think it applies here as well.
So use FW as an instrument to explore the wonders of the written and spoken word, and you will enjoy the book immeasurably.

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Kirk Guckenberg - Goodreads

Before jumping down my throat, let me explain my rating I have read many classic authors: Hawthorne,TS and Rand, among others. Joyce might as well wrote this in Gaelic. It was terribly hard to read ... Read full review

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Bigpoison - Goodreads

The favorite book of academia. Regularly rated as the greatest book in the English language in lists made by folks who have never read it. In fact, I find it entirely plausible that nobody has actually ever read the whole thing. It makes Ulysses seem like a light read. Read full review

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Teresa Dicentra - Goodreads

Tried to listen to this on audio. I forced myself through 1 (of 4) disks. Completely unintelligable. Gibberish. Read full review

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Jennifer Sarha - Goodreads

No. Read full review

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Ian Sear - Goodreads

Absolutely horrendous. Can't even get past the first page, I may as well be reading another language. It's the absolute height of arrogance to make up words and then use them as if you expect ... Read full review

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Carac Allison - Goodreads

Read even a little about James Joyce and you will learn three things: 1. He was a genius. 2. He was aware of his genius before anyone else and was depressed that it took so long for the world to ... Read full review

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Marcus Clark - Goodreads

It was placed 77th by the Modern Library in a list of the best 100 English-language novels, and much higher on other lists. A mere 640 pages long, but I assure you it will seem much longer should you ... Read full review

Review: Finnegans Wake

User Review  - Paul Higbie - Goodreads

Sucked Read full review

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