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Summary

"Riverrun past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs...." 

So starts Finnegans Wake, the greatest challenge in 20th-century literature. Who is Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker? And what did he get up to in Phoenix Park? And what did Anna Livia Plurabelle have to say about it? In the rich nighttime and the language of dreams, here are history, anecdote, myth, folk tale and, above all, a wondrous sense of humor, colored by a clear sense of humanity. In this exceptional reading by the Irish actor Barry McGovern, with Marcella Riordan, the world of the Wake is more accessible than ever before. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©1975 The Trustees of the Estate of James Joyce (P)2021 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Finnegans Wake

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  • A
  • 01-07-21

Finally! Allmaziful!

I have been waiting for years for this. The abridged recording with Jim Norton was brilliant, but you struggled to read along with it because of the abridgment. From what I have listened to so far, Barry McGovern reads in a more restrained manner than Norton, but equally effectively. Marcella Riordan does ALP in her characteristically languid manner, which is most effective in the final monologue. The BIG issue I have is that the audible release has only four chapters, one for each section - not even the chapters within each section, unlike the CD release which is properly tracked. For a 29 hour recording in Wakese, this makes finding individual sections impossible. Hopefully this can be rectified at some stage - or at least a timing list provided. [Edit]: this has been rectified, there are now chapters for each section within each part. Thank you.

3 people found this helpful

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Untangling the web of Finnegan’s wake.

When I first started reading Finnegan’s wake, the main advice I received was ‘read it aloud and get a feel for the rhythm, I found it difficult to decipher the text amongst all the portmanteau words and dense phraseology and could not find that rhythm however I stuck at it and finally started to unravel its mysteries. to me Finnegan’s wake is a book of great importance, even just in an experimental capacity no other author has come close. I just want to say a big thank you to all who endeavoured to take on the leviathan challenge of turning it into an audio book. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it and it has helped me untangle some of the web of Finnegan’s wake. My advice to anyone starting out would be yes listen to it, take full advantage of the audiobook , it’s a very good start but also get a copy and read it as well, and don’t go in alone! take the ‘skeleton key of Finnegan’s wake’ or ’a readers guide to Finnegan’s wake by William York Tindall ‘ thank you once more, an adoring fan of all that is Joyce x

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Excellent

Beautifully read by Barry McGovern. I've been looking for a way into the Wake for 40 years and very happy to have found it. McGovern sweeps you into the novel's extraordinary flow. A masterpiece, pure and simple.

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  • hyand
  • 16-06-21

The keys to. Given!

Finnegans Wake is probably one of the most unconventional works of literature ever written. It demands so much from the reader but offers plenty of rewards, surprises, and even intense euphoric moments that all justify the effort. On the surface the sentences may appear to be gibberish since each word contains multiple meanings and is constructed like the nucleus of an atom. However, a deeper reading reveals thousands of different stories and layers being told at once, rewarding the reader again and again in a process of exciting discovery. One can spend the rest of his or her life reading and rereading the book and even then, there will be many secrets that will remain hidden for future readers to find.

This audiobook is a miracle in that it effectively provides keys to unlocking many of the novel’s treasure chests through a very careful and passionate reading by Barry McGovern and Marcella Riordan. The narrators seem very tuned in to the novel’s uniquely Irish voice, and the pace of their narration is perfect, not too fast but enough to keep the listener engaged. Pronouncing the words and keeping their flow requires a lot of talent, and I’m so thankful both narrators excel with flying colors. I have been searching most of my adult life for recordings of the book to listen to again and again and am just thrilled this audiobook is now available to the public on Bloomsday. James Joyce scholars have recommended reading the novel aloud to help guide the reader but this audiobook does all of that for you in the most extraordinary way. You won’t understand everything in the novel at first, but the more you allow its voice to sink in, the more like music the words will become.

For those up for the challenge of tackling this novel, a lifetime of pleasures awaits you!

37 people found this helpful

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  • jodi snyder
  • 25-06-21

A lifetime wish fulfilled

Finnegans Wake has been my deepest heart puzzle and research project since finding it as a teenager in 1967. To have a recording of the ENTIRE Wake performed by voice actors with this level of Comprehension, Stamina and Soul means I'm not coming out of my reading room again. Ever.
Released on Bloomsday! Thank you all so much for proving it can be done.

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  • Kheir Fakhreldin
  • 26-07-21

The seim anew.

McGovern and Riordan do a great job of bringing this challenging work to life. I was particularly impressed by Riordan’s work on the Anna Livia Plurabelle chapter, the lessons chapter (she reads Issy’s footnotes), and the conclusion of book IV. I listened to it while reading along, which helped because I was able to see words where the pronunciation was ambiguous. Hearing the Wake aloud gives new levels of comprehension. If you want to try Finnegans Wake, this is a great way. It’s also a great way for experienced readers to hear it anew. I will definitely be coming back to it. For future readings, it would be great if there were a way to skip to each of the 17 chapters instead of just the four books. The next time through I’ll write down the times so I can find particular sections more easily.

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  • Jeffrey D Siehl
  • 19-07-21

Great performance of an unreadable book

Life is too short to read Finnegans Wake. It is incomprehensible gobbledegook. I stuck with it only to finish the Modern Library’s 100 greatest novels of the 20th century. But if you are going to read it I highly recommend this performance; it made this monstrosity almost tolerable.

1 person found this helpful