'Finnegans Wake' translation sells out in China

The first run of 8,000 copies of the James Joyce classic — apparently no easier to read than the original — has sold out.

BEIJING — The Chinese version is no easier to read than the original, the loyal-minded translator assured, but James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" still sold out its initial run in China.

Wang Weisong, chief editor of the Shanghai company that published the first Chinese translation of the Joyce classic, said he didn't expect success, but the first 8,000 copies have sold out since Dec. 25.

Dai Congrong, who spent eight years translating it, said at a forum in Shanghai that she didn't fully grasp the novel but that it wasn't intended for easy comprehension. She says she kept the Chinese version that way.

The book was promoted by a rare billboard campaign in Shanghai and other cities. Critics said it panders to a superficial demand among some Chinese for high-brow imports.


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