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RIVERRUN ‘Finnegans Wake,’ Bestseller? AP

‘Finnegans Wake,’ Bestseller?

A way a lone a last a loved a long the ... Yangtze River? James Joyce’s amorphous monster of a novel, Finnegans Wake, barely read in English and a snarling beast even to brilliant novelists, is selling well ... in China. A new translation has sold out its initial run of 8,000 copies since its release Dec. 25. And although the book is being promoted by a big billboard campaign in major cities—16 in Shanghai alone—the translation is not watered down. “I would not be faithful to the original intent of the novel if my translation made it easy to comprehend,” said its translator, Dai Congrong. But some say that foreign books with reputations for being incomprehensibly difficult have become fashionable in China because of a demand for highbrow imports. We’re looking at you, Thomas Pynchon.

January 30, 2013 2:29 PM