The Quest of An Everyday Soccer Mom to Read the Modern Library's 100 Best Fiction Books of the 20th Century.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

10 Things I Hate about "Finnegans Wake"

I am about a page and a half away from giving up on this book, folks. I thought I might share some of the reasons why, and those of you literary purists out there who will say that I didn't read ALL of the Wake and therefore can't have read the entire ML list will need to get over it. :)

10) When I stop reading it, and come back to it, I have absolutely no idea where I left off. I have probably re-read page 94 five times.

9) The actual main characters (if there are any) are never mentioned. Or if they are, he's given them twelve different names.

8)No plot whatsoever. I know, I know....that was a cop-out. Yet it's a LEGITIMATE cop-out.

7) All of the made-up words. If Dr Seuss didn't get his inspiration for all of his books from Joyce, I have no idea what a better source would have been.

6)The fact that I could probably open up the book and start reading at any point, and be able to understand what's going on just as well as if I started on page one.

5) I could also read every other chapter, or the book in reverse, and get the same result.

4) Six hundred pages of sentences like "Augs and ohrs with Rhian O'kehley to put it tertianly, we wrong?" It's enough to make you drink.

3) The embarrassment of carrying this book around for the last month and having people ask me what it's about, and I have to blither like an idiot about the fact that I have no idea.

2) When cleaning the catbox, going for a run, or dealing with the craziness at Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon seems like a better deal than reading this book, that's not okay.

1) It has taken me almost one month to read 100 pages. At this rate, I'll finish the book somewhere around my golden wedding anniversary.


  1. Man, I'm glad you aren't going to finish that book! It sounds completely obnoxious. I couldn't even listen to the audiobook of Ulysses, and it used actual words and complete sentences (if I remember correctly - I seem to have blocked it from my mind). Good for you.

  2. Visiting from at the hop. Not a good recommendation for this book then, I'll be sure to give it a miss. Nice to have met you, I've enjoyed visiting.

  3. Punch it in the face.

  4. It is impossible to read. Impossible. I did, in fact, read every word of it, but NONE OF IT MADE SENSE.

    I "read" it the way I would have read a book in Portuguese. The words went in, through my eyes, into my head, and straight back out. I occasionally caught the meaning of a word or two, maybe a phrase -- like I would if I were reading Portuguese, I suppose.

    The only reason I finished it is so I could scratch it off this list. I am too task-oriented to let myself abandon it. But I never intended to understand it. And I never would disparage anyone for giving up on it.

    It may make you feel a little better to know, if you haven't read this already, that Joyce intended the book to be published on a spiral binding with no covers -- so there really would be no first or last page. You really could start anywhere.

  5. Thank you guys for your support. It really did suck. :)

  6. I barely made it through Ulysses and it wasn't half this bad. You have my vote for abandoning this one. Life is just too doggone short to read books you don't like -- unless you are Rose City. :-)