The (not so simple) Act of Collaborative Reading: about reading 'Finnegans Wake'

Random House
Publication Type:
The Simple Act of Reading, 2015
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EVEN THIRTY YEARS AFTER THE PUBLICATION OF Puberty Blues, it’s a question that I am still regularly asked. Mostly out of curiosity but occasionally out of suspicion. ‘How did you write a book together?’ I talk about composing each sentence collaboratively, sharing ideas about what would come next and how it would be phrased, as well as editing as we wrote. It’s a diffi cult concept for people to grasp because writing is usually a solitary act, possibly even an intimate one – just like reading. Intimate because the reader, often in bed at night, engages with the author precisely in order to be aroused – by feelings of excitement, stimulation, sadness, terror and wonder. So what happens when this intimate act, involving one person, becomes a group act, involving several? Is it like progressing from quiet coupling to group sex?
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