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3.8 out of 5 stars
Finnegans Wake
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
on April 23, 1998
FINNEGAN'S WAKE is an endurance contest that intellectuals get to take, and if they finish it, they can feel superior to those who have not made it. And they can also write learned papers about it that they can publish in their academic journals. As William Goldman said in THE SEASON, "As long as there is a PhD. candidate alive, James Joyce will never die." Joyce himself said something to the effect of: "The professors will be analyzing FINNEGAN'S WAKE forever." John Lennon said, "All artist's are egomaniacs, whether they like to admit it or not." And Joyce is indulging in egomania with FINNEGAN'S WAKE. He spent 17 years on this book because he knew people would spend (waste?) hours, days, years of their lives trying to get to the "truth" of FINNEGAN'S WAKE, and feel superior to the great unwashed who don't even know such a work of literature exists. Joyce must be smiling in his grave right now.
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on January 6, 1998
While Joyce's Ulysses demonstrates his monstrous success with literary experimentation styles, FW does not. I find it poor by his standards. In academics (and among pseudo-intellectuals) the book is quite fashionable, and understably so - the style is unique. Its almost comical to listen to my fellow Joyce fans rave about it. But whenever I corner them, and beg them to dissect the work for me, the responses are as incoherent as the book itself. Perhaps it inspires creative thinking/translation from its readers, but nothing of the sort on my part, despite my repeated efforts to sincerely read it.

I've read far worse, that's for sure, but someone thinking of dabbling with Joyce for the first time should seriously consider selecting one of his more substantial earlier works, or the frustration with FW may alienate them forever from an otherwise brilliant and often very powerful author.
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on March 20, 2000
I give this book two stars because it's the first, and last, book to tell us what we already should know...that we think gibberish in that ethereal state between waking and sleep. Finningan's Wake reminds me of the canvas I've seen at countless art shows with a jumble of random splatterings of paint. Any one of us could create the same thing. Why don't we? Joyce is challenging us to get off our duffs and splatter some paint on the canvass. If you think it's worthwhile (personally, I don't) do it. You could be the next James Joyce.
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on May 4, 1998
The point being, presumedly, that humanity is incomprehensible to humanity? How is my understanding of, or sympathy toward, humanity improved by attempting to read and decode the word "Bababadalgharaghtakamminnarronkonnbronntonneronntuon- thunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoordenenthurnuk"? There are many far greater works that not only tell the same story, but are readable and even enjoyable. My apologies to those who like Finnegan's Wake, but humanity is not best served by having its story told in gibberish.
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on January 6, 1999
There may be rewards here for people who are intelligent enough and have the time to spend, but that's not me. I've always felt "smart." (800, 800 and 730 on the GRE's-degrees in mathematics) but this book made me feel like a mental midget. Either Joyce had an I.Q. of about 775 or there is nothing here to understand. I don't have time to find out. At least we got the word, "quark," from this book.
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on July 2, 2000
In Tom Robbins "Fierce Invalids Home From Warm CLimates" the main character Switters is attempting to read this book and never gets though the first 5 pages. I now understand why.
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on November 5, 1999
That pretty much says it all. Some of the most incomprehensible prose in the English (?) language, though Burroughs beats him by a nose.
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on September 29, 1999
The author shows promise
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