Question Gish Gallop fans: What’s the difference between a pile of dog crap and Finnegan’s Wake?
Answer: You can avoid the dog crap by walking around it. I have to read and review Finnegan’s Wake.
First things first, before I get to plagiarizing Wikipedia to get through this god-awful review. Finnegans Wake is supposed to be James Joyce‘s Magnum Opus. It was completed two years before he died, just as World War II was starting to heat up on the European continent.
The entire book is written in a largely idiosyncratic language, consisting of a mixture of standard English lexical items and neologistic multilingual puns and portmanteau words, which many critics believe attempts to recreate the experience of sleep and dreams. Which makes it an impenetrable piece of crap, especially if you went through the public school system. The strange names, the odd words, and the deliberately off meter makes getting through a sentence more tedious than waiting at the DMV without an appointment.
Oh, and did I tell you? There’s no plot. Well, at least not that I can tell, making Finnegans Wake read, at times, like the telephone book (for those who remember such things…for those who don’t? I dunno, it reads like your developmentally challenged Uncle’s blog on separating bolts and nuts.)
So the only thing that makes this novel useful is as punishment for your kids. Like Christian parents reading Leviticus to their children as a form of punishment, so is Finnegans Wake for secular families.