Your Online Lit Reading For The Day

If the challenge of reading James Joyce’s Ulysses is a thing of legend, then the challenge of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake is that amplified untold amounts. Getting past page one takes a bit of effort and few go much further beyond that.

Michael Chabon is among those few, reading the whole darn thing. The writer, known for his own amazing novels including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Wonder Boys, wrote a great essay on his experiences with the book and how life-absorbing reading it could be. A sample:

At some point in the course of that year, my younger son and his classmates wrote poems about their parents, immortalizing their most salient aspects and traits, and in my son’s poem I am depicted, arrested for an instant in the midst of the eternity it must have seemed to him, “reading Finnegans Wake.” If in his poem he erected a kind of statue to his father, then Finnegans Wake was the pigeon that had come to roost on my hat.

Chabon’s New York Review of Books piece is require reading.

[via The Millions]

Author: James Brotheridge

Contributing Editor with Prairie Dog.

1 thought on “Your Online Lit Reading For The Day”

  1. I liked “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, which I studied at university and which was my first exposure to Joyce. I could relate to it from a Catholic girlhood: that religious retreat is bang-on word perfect.I found “Dubliners” on my own, and loved it; “Ulysses” took a couple of readings before I got the feel of it. “Finnegans Wake”, I must confess, I have only read in Anthony Burgess’s edited version…and to this day, I’ve no idea how Burgess, a master of language both inherited and invented, would even START to edit. FW, even in the shorter version, is a virtuoso piece, comparable in a small way to the lengthy but controlled tangent that is “Tristam Shandy”. Despite the sustained high pitch of effort reqired to read it, it is less of a chore than Proust.

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