Breaking Up with James Joyce

Gabrielle Carey at The Sydney Review of Books:

‘Is Finnegans Wake really important?’ my student asked me a few years ago. He was from India, sent to Australia for his education at great expense by his parents. I felt sorry for him so I had invented some cash-in-hand filing work, much of which involved compiling notes, essays, articles, emails and letters in relation to Finnegans Wake. Now he was daring to ask whether the book I’d spent much of my adult life devoted to was really of any importance.

‘Yes!’ I snapped back immediately, appalled that he dared to doubt my enterprise. But then I realised I couldn’t really explain why. And perhaps that’s where my doubts began. More than doubts. Like so many before me, I have come to realise that there is a reason why Joyce’s nickname is Mr Difficulty.

more here.