Discussion in 'Discussion of Published Works' started by AIS, Oct 11, 2020.
Any good literary fiction book you would like to recommend? I'm looking for something new to read.
The Red Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Siji
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
House of Splendid Isolation by Edna Obrien
I could go on. What themes are you most interested in? Geographical location? Time period? (All of these books take place in different time periods during different historic events. Siji's book takes place during the Chinese ReEducation period and OBrien's takes place during the Irish War for Independence)
Anything by James Joyce if you are looking for novels ... beside Finnigan's Wake. That might be a bit too much. Tale of Genji by Lake Murakami, a medieval Japanese epic novel. Also there's writers like Thomas Pynchon, or Borges. As the last person said, though, it depends on what you are interested in. There's a lot out there.
A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)
I don't know that I consider Finnegan's Wake a novel so much as an exercise in trolling.
Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley is pretty good.
I've been trying to get it, it's hard going. I think I basically understand the first page, Finnegan walls down a well - but it's so dense. Too dense.
The thing is: that while Ulysses is the novel of a single day, of consiousness, Finnegan's Wake follows a sort of dream-narrative logic. And it's so deep it is even in individual sentences. When you read them they don't at first make sense, but it feels familiar like a dream, but with investigation things start to become more and more clear. Take the first two sentences:
The first is purposefully a sentence fragment, but you get what I mean.
What is all this, though?
Taking the first sentence like this might help:
riverrun, (river image running, self explanatory)
past Eve and Adam's, (Why Adam and Eve are reversed here I don't know, but it's important that there's an Adam and Eve church in Dublin)
from swerve of shore to bend of bay, (nothing to say here other than this is just beautiful language)
brings us by a commodius (spacious/roomy)
vicus (an internal organ, obviously a metaphor since the focus is the river)
of recirculation (circling back again - rivers are fed by rain water, a cycle back and forth from land to sea. Why I don't know but at least now it makes sense)
back to Howth Castle (a place in Dublin)
and Environs (so this must mean Dublin itself).
So our location is Dublin, and there's a religious overtone there - which is hardly surprising.
Sir Tristram, (I'm not the first to say this, but this makes me think of Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner)
d'amores, (of the loves
fr'over (far over, but this seems to have a nautical feel, right?)
the short sea, had passen-core (A guide I've found online says 'passen-core' is a French pun: "pas encore (fr) - not yet + passe encore (fr) - Said of something passable or tolerable + cor (l) - heart" http://www.finwake.com/1024chapter1/1024finn1.htm)
rearrived (Isn't this just amazing use of language!?)
from North Armorica (northern France, explains the pun earlier)
on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor (Ireland)
to wielderfight (has a sense of 'wonder fight' like a new fight, plus 'wielder' to me suggests industry. This Sir Tristram is an industrialist?
his penisolate war (suggests the peninsular war, I don't know why, but 'penisolate' is a doubled pun, one sexual and the other the writing pen. So we might be getting a clearer idea of this Sir Tristram.
It's not trolling, it's just insanely difficult reading. Not all literary fiction is obviously like this, but it's an experimental novel that's trying to do something not-ordinary.
I mean I get it, it's not nonsense so much as cyphered. I find if you read it out loud, it's rather easier to get through, and it lets you better appreciate the cadence without worrying too much about just what the hell it's talking about. If there's no track yet of someone reciting it over a trip-hop beat, there should be.
But you will never convince me it wasn't largely motivated by Joyce wondering just what he could get people to publish.
Yeah, I get that.
Separate names with a comma.