Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

I min sidste time

Availability: Ready to download

Om en fattig sydstatsfamilies liv i dagene lige før og efter moderens død.


Compare
Ads Banner

Om en fattig sydstatsfamilies liv i dagene lige før og efter moderens død.

30 review for I min sidste time

  1. 4 out of 5

    AmyAmy

    I know you're "supposed to" love this book because it's Faulker, but I HATED IT! I know you're "cool" and "intelligent" if you read Faulkner, but I can't stand him. Sorry, I don't know what he's talking about (and at the risk of sounding immodest, I am bright). I DON'T think it's cool and "hip" to write in a confusing manner, and I don't try to impress others by liking ambiguity. I had my fill in college with snobs who pretended to like this stuff. Sorry I sound harsh here (I'm really a nice per I know you're "supposed to" love this book because it's Faulker, but I HATED IT! I know you're "cool" and "intelligent" if you read Faulkner, but I can't stand him. Sorry, I don't know what he's talking about (and at the risk of sounding immodest, I am bright). I DON'T think it's cool and "hip" to write in a confusing manner, and I don't try to impress others by liking ambiguity. I had my fill in college with snobs who pretended to like this stuff. Sorry I sound harsh here (I'm really a nice person), but YUK!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I've been working up to a William Faulkner book for years. His books always appear on lists of "best books of all time" and "books you should read before you die". But when I've felt in the mood for a classic or something "literary", I've always passed him up for other authors, even those with 1000+ page monsters. I think, deep down, I always sensed Faulkner just wasn't for me. The first problem is my lack of enthusiasm for stream of consciousness narratives. If I'm being honest, I rarely like it. I've been working up to a William Faulkner book for years. His books always appear on lists of "best books of all time" and "books you should read before you die". But when I've felt in the mood for a classic or something "literary", I've always passed him up for other authors, even those with 1000+ page monsters. I think, deep down, I always sensed Faulkner just wasn't for me. The first problem is my lack of enthusiasm for stream of consciousness narratives. If I'm being honest, I rarely like it. I don't mind working at a book if it's hard-going, but this style of narration makes it difficult for me, personally, to ever settle into the rhythm of the book. And Faulkner takes it to a whole new level. He drops us into scenes and scenarios without any explanation; I genuinely felt like Faulkner wanted to deliberately confuse his readers about characters and ideas he could have easily portrayed in a more accessible way. Confusion for confusion's sake. Honestly, I can think of little more boring than suffering through every thought, feeling and instinct that passes through the human mind. I have my own mind that plagues me with this randomness; I don't need to read it in someone else's perspective. I want an author to organize language into a structure that is interesting, compelling, thought-provoking... and stream of consciousness, for me, is rarely any of those things. But that's just my tastes for the style. Trying to take a step away from that a second and view what the novel did as a whole, I can't say I enjoyed the story. Nor do I tend to enjoy books with more than two or three perspectives - and this one had fifteen! In less than three-hundred pages! The plot follows the Bundren family after the death of their matriarch, Addie. Fifteen perspectives tell the story of the family's journey to Jefferson, where Addie is to be buried. Hauling a wagon with Addie's decomposing body, the Bundren family sets out on a nine-day journey of frequent hunger and discomfort. Faulkner includes important themes in his work, such as religion, poverty and identity in the Southern United States, but I still feel like other authors have done this in a more palatable way. I would much rather read Steinbeck any day. One reviewer said this of Faulkner's style and I couldn't agree more: It is easy to be confusing. It is easy to write something beautiful and understandable for yourself. It's hard to write universal words which we can all connect. So, so true. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Where to start with a masterpiece that is both short like the distance between two thoughts and deep as the thoughts themselves? This is one of Faulkner's true masterpieces: a grotesque road trip with a rotting corpse told in the voices of the extremely dysfunctional and occasionally insane family members. It is Ulysses in the Southern United States, or a Georgian Grapes of Wrath (Faulkner having been inspired by the former and certainly influenced the latter). The writing is some of the most po Where to start with a masterpiece that is both short like the distance between two thoughts and deep as the thoughts themselves? This is one of Faulkner's true masterpieces: a grotesque road trip with a rotting corpse told in the voices of the extremely dysfunctional and occasionally insane family members. It is Ulysses in the Southern United States, or a Georgian Grapes of Wrath (Faulkner having been inspired by the former and certainly influenced the latter). The writing is some of the most powerful that Faulkner ever produced: ...I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other; and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words. The words leap off the page and both drawn you into their language’s inner beauty and repulse you for the violence he depicts. It is as visceral as a slaughterhouse (complete with awls piercing caskets) and yet more optimistic than this generation’s Walking Dead. One of the greatest American novels ever written and one that will still be as moving and relevant centuries from now as it speaks eternal truth in the American vernacular. A must.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Armstrong

    "And since sleep is is-not and rain and wind are was, it is not. Yet the wagon is, because when the wagon is was, Addie Bundren will not be. And Jewel is, so Addie Bundren must be. And then I must be, or I could not empty myself for sleep in a strange room. And so if I am not emptied yet, I am is." ............ There are people who actually like this? Seriously though, I'm pretty sure I get it, I just don't like it. There is a family and each one is a reflection of a way of livin "And since sleep is is-not and rain and wind are was, it is not. Yet the wagon is, because when the wagon is was, Addie Bundren will not be. And Jewel is, so Addie Bundren must be. And then I must be, or I could not empty myself for sleep in a strange room. And so if I am not emptied yet, I am is." ............ There are people who actually like this? Seriously though, I'm pretty sure I get it, I just don't like it. There is a family and each one is a reflection of a way of living, or in some cases, a way of dying. Anse is the 'woe is me' type and Addie is the 'Serve your purpose and die' type and that's all well and good, and it's a pretty cool idea for a book, I just don't like Faulkner. Do you know that skill has very little to do with the process of inventing a concept? I'm still not entirely convinced that Faulkner is the genius he is made out to be. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced I should like him at all. Based off his biography he is kind of a pathetic, lying, failure - so what am I supposed to think of his writing? Stream-of-consciousness is one thing, writing in Faulkner's way is another. Scenes are dropped onto our heads in ways we cannot comprehend and actions are portrayed without explanation. And do you know the unfairest cut of all? Faulkner knows what he is trying to say, he knows all about these characters, he just isn't showing us anything. An example: originally there were no names at the beginning of the chapters. Yeah, no kidding. He just wrote this shit with no explanation of our speaker and expected us to figure it out. That is not genius. Writing is about making a connection to a stranger, bridging a gap of confusion to create understanding and to share an idea, a theme, an image with thousands or millions of people who you've never met. Faulkner writes in jargon he understands with little to no respect for the reader and I can't forgive him for it. If you don't believe me then write something. Write a short story. Write 3, or 4, or 5 pages. Flesh out the characters and their histories and their conflicts. Got it? Okay, now when you are writing a scene with multiple people use only the pronoun he. You will know who you are talking about - do we? Is that good writing? No, it isn't. It is easy to be confusing. It is easy to write something beautiful and understandable for yourself. It's hard to write universal words which we can all connect. Good idea, Faulkner, poor performance.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Once you get past the ungainly oddness and wild strangeness which assails you from every direction, then you can see the weirdness which lies beyond. The story, and there is a very strong clear linear narrative here, is wonderfully stupid. A back country family in Mississippi in the 20s has their dear mama Addie Bundren up and die on them and the lazy-ass sumbitch daddy thinks he then has to carry out her settled dying wish which, very unreasonably, was to get buried with her own kin 40 miles a Once you get past the ungainly oddness and wild strangeness which assails you from every direction, then you can see the weirdness which lies beyond. The story, and there is a very strong clear linear narrative here, is wonderfully stupid. A back country family in Mississippi in the 20s has their dear mama Addie Bundren up and die on them and the lazy-ass sumbitch daddy thinks he then has to carry out her settled dying wish which, very unreasonably, was to get buried with her own kin 40 miles away in Jefferson. This wouldn’t be so bad except it’s the height of summer and there’s just been bad rains and a flood, so the bridges over the river are down. The whole passel of them, four sons, one daughter, one daddy, two mules and one horse, nevertheless trek off to do the right thing. To say they encounter obstacles would be to say nought but the truth. One such is that before very long Addie starts to decomp, to which many passing strangers take exception. So it’s kind of a comic tale but it ain’t told comically. No sir. No ma’am. The guides will say the same thing about this short but dense-like-a-black-hole novel: As I Lay Dying is written as a series of stream-of-consciousness monologues, in which the characters’ thoughts are presented in all their uncensored chaos, without the organizing presence of an objective narrator. That’s from the online Spark Notes. Fair enough , except that it’s just completely not true. All the short chapters are headed up with a character name, and it kind of naturally seems as if that character is narrating, but a) only occasionally could you call anything in this book stream of consciousness, and even then it’s nothing at all like our old beloved friends Virginia Woolf or James Joyce because these interior monologues come at you in perfectly formed and mostly graceful sentences; and b) The chapters obey no consistent rules or they change the rules all the time which is the same thing, so that in the middle of a paragraph it is suddenly the author’s omniscient voice popping up. And another thing - what Faulkner does all the time is bend the credibility of the characters’ voices until they break. Here’s two examples of purely natural monologue Because be durn if there ain’t something about a durn fellow like Anse that seems to make a man have to help him, even when he knows he’ll be wanting to kick himself the next minute. And Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it. But here’s an example of Faulkner’s own voice breaking in. The narrator here is Vardaman, aged around ten : I can cry quiet now, feeling and hearing my tears It is dark. I can hear wood, silence. I know them. But not living sounds, not even him. It is as though the dark were resolving him out of his integrity into an unrelated scattering of components The last sentence is not Vardaman. It’s Faulkner. Here’s the daughter Dewey Dell – her usual mode is like this About his head the print of his hat sweated into his hair. His shirt is blotched with sweat. He has not washed his hands and arms. But then The cow breathes upon my hips and back, her breath warm, sweet, stertorous, moaning. (even my spellcheck does not know stertorous, much less an uneducated 17 year old country girl. So what is Faulkner doing here? Messing with us readers, I think.) And now, here’s Darl, one of the sons. Now as this family is the purely uneducated rural poor, how is it one of their sons (the one who narrates about half of the book) thinks in this lushly textured poetic and highly intellectual language? He looks up at the gaunt face framed by the window in the twilight. It is a composite picture of all time since he was a child…. For a while, still, she looks down at him from the composite picture, neither with censure nor approbation. … Then she flings herself across Addie Bundren’s knees, clutching her, shaking her with the furious strength of the young before sprawling suddenly across the handful of rotten bones that Addie Bundren left, jarring the whole bed into a chattering sibilance of mattress shucks, her arms outflung and the fan in one hand still beating with expiring breath into the quilt. She looks down at the face. It is like a casting of fading bronze upon the pillow, the hands alone still with any semblance of life : a curled, gnarled inertness; a spent yet alert quality from which weariness, exhaustion, travail has not yet departed, as though they doubted even yet the actuality of rest, guarding with horned and penurious alertness the cessation which they know cannot last. Check out these examples of Darl’s vocabulary: We go on with a motion so soporific, so dreamlike as to be uninferant of progress, as though time and not space were decreasing between us and it. How do our lives ravel out into the no-wind, no-sound, the weary gestures wearily recapitulant A cubistic bug Starkly re-accruent Don’t sound like no poor white trash I ever came acrost, dunt know about you. Sounds more like Marcel damn Proust than Hank Williams. Shoot, sounds more like this William Faulkner hisself talkin. Seems he didn’t want to write no normal book but one a them whatchacallem modernist efforts but like he jes couldnt hep hisself & had to git that thar poetic jawbreakin stuff in there someways n so turned one a his ole country boys into some kinda god damn genius. It doesn’t really work, a few pages of Darl and my suspension of disbelief came crashing down and really bruised my left shoulder, I can still feel it now. And there’s another thing about old Darl. He frequently launches off into Deep Space, like this: I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not. Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or not. . He cannot empty himself for sleep because he is not what he is and he is what he is not. I had to look round and ask here, who let Samuel Beckett in here? Even so, and also taking into consideration a couple of apparent plot holes in the rather-too-neat O Henryish ending (how did bumbling Anse fix up all that in such a short space of time?) I still loved the bravery and confidence of this novel. It ramified my brain, and there is hardly any higher praise. It was great. 4.5 stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ademption

    THIS BOOK IS ABOUT HICKS THEY GO TO TOWN

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    "My mother is a fish." Faulkner's short novel about a rural family following the death of their matriarch. Funny, disturbing, maddening, thought provoking, and mysterious. I have never been a big fan of stream of consciousness ( thus I have never finished The Sound and the Fury) and Faulkner does well to limit that technique here. He does employ multiple narrators, varying perspectives, themes and an eclectic narration. I cannot help thinking this is a thin, minimalistic American version of War and Peace. "My mother is a fish." Faulkner's short novel about a rural family following the death of their matriarch. Funny, disturbing, maddening, thought provoking, and mysterious. I have never been a big fan of stream of consciousness ( thus I have never finished The Sound and the Fury) and Faulkner does well to limit that technique here. He does employ multiple narrators, varying perspectives, themes and an eclectic narration. I cannot help thinking this is a thin, minimalistic American version of War and Peace.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    This thrilling, chilling tale is told through a sort of schizm. The conglomeration of different consciousnesses is a bubbling soup mixed in with dark symbols & Southern Gothic elements, and it is indeed a delightful experience, an overly-delicious dish. The macabre is Alive; this prose palpitates. This is waayyy more accessible than, say, "The Sound and the Fury" and for those who have strayed away from this darling writer, this particular masterpiece will immediately put him or her in Faulk This thrilling, chilling tale is told through a sort of schizm. The conglomeration of different consciousnesses is a bubbling soup mixed in with dark symbols & Southern Gothic elements, and it is indeed a delightful experience, an overly-delicious dish. The macabre is Alive; this prose palpitates. This is waayyy more accessible than, say, "The Sound and the Fury" and for those who have strayed away from this darling writer, this particular masterpiece will immediately put him or her in Faulkner's direct sphere of influence-- he/she will swim in that dark, twisted atmosphere, bask in it for some long while. Read this and you will know what Faulkner & his deep, haunted, tortured South are all about. The Best Willy Faulkner book?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner As I Lay Dying is a 1930 novel, in the genre of Southern Gothic, by American author William Faulkner. Faulkner said that he wrote the novel from midnight to 4:00 AM over the course of six weeks and that he did not change a word of it. Faulkner wrote it while working at a power plant, published it in 1930, and described it as a "tour de force". Faulkner's fifth novel, it is consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th-century literature. The title derive As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner As I Lay Dying is a 1930 novel, in the genre of Southern Gothic, by American author William Faulkner. Faulkner said that he wrote the novel from midnight to 4:00 AM over the course of six weeks and that he did not change a word of it. Faulkner wrote it while working at a power plant, published it in 1930, and described it as a "tour de force". Faulkner's fifth novel, it is consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th-century literature. The title derives from Book XI of Homer's Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon tells Odysseus: "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades." The book is narrated by 15 different characters over 51 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her poor, rural family's quest and motivations (noble or selfish) to honor her wish to be buried in her hometown of Jefferson, Mississippi. As the book opens, Addie is alive, though in ill health. Addie and others expect her to die soon, and she sits at a window watching as her firstborn, Cash, builds her coffin. Anse, Addie's husband, waits on the porch, while their daughter, Dewey Dell, fans her mother in the July heat. The night after Addie dies a heavy rainstorm sets in; rivers rise and wash out bridges the family will need to cross to get to Jefferson. The family's trek by wagon begins, with Addie's non-embalmed body in the coffin. Along the way, Anse and the five children encounter various difficulties. Anse frequently rejects any offers of assistance, including meals or lodging, so at times the family goes hungry and sleeps in barns. At other times he refuses to accept loans from people, claiming he wishes to "be beholden to no man", thus manipulating the would-be-lender into giving him charity as a gift not to be repaid. Jewel, Addie's middle child, tries to leave his dysfunctional family, yet cannot turn his back on them through the trials. Cash breaks a leg and winds up riding atop the coffin. He refuses to admit to any discomfort, but the family eventually puts a makeshift cast of concrete on his leg. Twice, the family almost loses Addie's coffin first, while crossing a river on a washed-out bridge (two mules are lost), and second, when a fire of suspicious origin starts in the barn where the coffin is being stored for a night. After nine days, the family finally arrives in Jefferson, where the stench from the coffin is quickly smelled by the townspeople. In town, family members have different items of business to take care of. Cash's broken leg needs attention. Dewey Dell, for the second time in the novel, goes to a pharmacy, trying to obtain an abortion that she does not know how to ask for. First, though, Anse wants to borrow some shovels to bury Addie, because that was the purpose of the trip and the family should be together for that. Before that happens, however, Darl, the second eldest, is seized for the arson of the barn and sent to the Mississippi State Insane Asylum in Jackson. With Addie only just buried, Anse forces Dewey Dell to give up her money, which he spends on getting "new teeth", and marries the woman from whom he borrowed the spades. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه فوریه سال 1994 میلادی عنوان: گور به گور؛ نویسنده: ویلیام فاکنر؛ مترجم: نجف دریابندری؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، 1371؛ در 250 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1382؛ شابک: 9643621936؛ چاپ چهارم 1386؛ شابک: 9789643621933؛ چاپ پنجم 1387؛ چاپ هفتم 1389؛ چاپ نهم 1391، در 304 ص؛ چاپ دهم 1393؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده ی 20 م جناب نجف دریابندری؛ در یادداشتی می‌نویسند: «گور به گور» عنوانی‌ ست، که من روی این رمان گذاشته‌ ام، زیرا نتوانسته‌ ام عنوان اصلی آن را به عبارتی که خود بپسندم به فارسی درآورم. «همچون که دراز کشیده بودم و داشتم می‌مُردم»؛ کوتاه‌ترین عبارتی است، که به نظر من معنای عنوان اصلی را دقیقاً بیان می‌کند. پایان نقل، این که از ترجمه عنوان کتاب، لابد برگرداندن متن اصلی به متن فارسی هم، چنین دشوار بوده است، کتاب یک سال پس از نگارش: «خشم و هیاهو»، و در سال 1930 میلادی به نگارش درآمده، و برنده ی نوبل ادبیات شده است. نویسنده مدعی ست که «گور به گور» را شش هفته‌ ای، آن‌ هم شب‌ها و پای کوره ی یک نیروگاه محلی نوشته است، و دیگر دستی در آن نبرده است. داستان: «گور به گور»، پانزده راوی متفاوت دارد. در میانِ راویان: «کودک»، «پیرمرد»، «زن محتضر»، «پزشک» و... هستند، و در روایت خود، هوشیارانه مطابق سن و سال خویش حرف می‌زنند. روایت‌شان بر پایه ی دیدگاه خود، و براساس فهم خویش ست. از این منظر، تعدد راوی در «گور به گور»، نه تنها خوانشگر را گیج نمی‌کند، بلکه بر گوارایی داستان نیز می‌افزاید. ا. شربیانی

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Written in the stream-of-consciousness mode, As I Lay Dying charts the odyssey of the impoverished Bundren family as its feuding members trek across the wilderness of the rural South toward their county’s capital, where they intend to bury the rotting corpse of the family’s matriarch. The narrative jumps from perspective to perspective, and each character’s voice is highly stylized, from the second eldest son’s ornate meditations on life and death to the youngest child’s simplistic despair over Written in the stream-of-consciousness mode, As I Lay Dying charts the odyssey of the impoverished Bundren family as its feuding members trek across the wilderness of the rural South toward their county’s capital, where they intend to bury the rotting corpse of the family’s matriarch. The narrative jumps from perspective to perspective, and each character’s voice is highly stylized, from the second eldest son’s ornate meditations on life and death to the youngest child’s simplistic despair over the loss of his mother. Often, the novel filters the same event through different characters’ point of view; it disperses the narrative’s coherence and forces readers to make sense of conflicting, oft-antagonistic viewpoints. The story’s amalgamation of tragic and comic elements lends the work shifting tones, further thwarting attempts to easily consume the book or understand it as a unified whole. Faulkner’s experiments in form slow down the pace at which readers can move through the novel: he forces his audience, then, to empathize with and dwell in the perspectives of those typically dismissed as white trash.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Many of us slogged through this unofficial My First Faulkner in high school, and probably all any of us remember from it is Vardaman's line, "My mother is a fish," which our teachers used to teach us about Foreshadowing. For many of us this would be My Last Faulkner too because we learned mostly that Faulkner is a fucking pain in the ass. At least it's less confusing than The Sound & The Fury, although that's sortof like saying a given animal is less dangerous than a bear strapped to a shark: oka Many of us slogged through this unofficial My First Faulkner in high school, and probably all any of us remember from it is Vardaman's line, "My mother is a fish," which our teachers used to teach us about Foreshadowing. For many of us this would be My Last Faulkner too because we learned mostly that Faulkner is a fucking pain in the ass. At least it's less confusing than The Sound & The Fury, although that's sortof like saying a given animal is less dangerous than a bear strapped to a shark: okay, but there's a long way between that and safe. Faulkner is a pain in the ass because he was a modernist - one of the Three Great Modernists, along with Woolf and Joyce, and modernism is when you jumble up your timelines and perspectives and generally just obfuscate everything so it's about all a body can do to figure out what the plot even is, and while all three of these authors are great, in that they know what they're doing and they're memorable and they're telling great truths, they are also massive pains in your ass and should basically not be read by most people. But you can more or less follow most of the plot in this book, and here's what it is: this shambling backwoods family of future Trump voters sets off to bury the matriarch on her family land, and they fuck it all up. The plot has the grinding inevitability of great tragedy, but the events have an obstinately small scale; it's just these idiots, trying to get a coffin across a river. Here are the characters: - Addie Bundren, the one who dies; - Anse, her lazy good-for-nothing husband, who looks "like a figure carved clumsily from tough wood by a drunken caricaturist," a description that Cormac McCarthy would build basically his entire career on; - Cash, the carpenter eldest son who never finishes a sentence even in his head; - Darl, who for some reason doubles as an omniscient narrator, the most articulate of the group, considered queer for that very reason (remember that scene in Idiocracy where the dude gets diagnosed with "talking like a fag"?) and constantly babbling about is and was like a college kid getting stoned for the third time; - Jewel, the horse-obsessed son whose eyes are constantly described, "like pieces of a broken plate," which no they aren't, that's simply not what eyes are like; - Dewey Dell, the sole daughter, whose "wet dress shapes for the blind eyes of three blind men those mammalian ludicrosities which are the horizons and the valleys of the earth" in the single worst description of breasts ever perpetrated to paper; - Vardaman of the fish, who is off in some vague way - Faulkner has never been particularly specific about his medical diagnoses. Benjy from Sound & The Fury is also non-diagnosably "off"; he might be autistic, who knows. Vardaman is either in his early teens and off (my position) or around 8 and less off. There's conflicting evidence. Faulkner sortof recycles some of his characters from Sound & the Fury, written just a year earlier in 1929: Benjy and Vardaman are both fucked in the head; Dewey Dell and Caddy are the underdressed daughters; Darl and Quentin are the time-obsessed poets. (They also share a setting, Faulkner's famous and made-up Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi. Mississippi might be real, how would I know.) Sound & the Fury didn't sell well, and Faulkner aimed "deliberately to write a tour de force," a surefire winner, which more or less worked out. He claims to have written it in six weeks and one draft. There are a few other characters, most notably the more functional neighbors Vernon and Cora Tull. Everybody takes turns narrating; each has a distinct voice, but all of them use words they couldn't possibly have any excuse to know. Here's young Vardaman's description of a horse: It is as though the dark were resolving him out of his integrity, into an unrelated scattering of components - snuffings and stampings, smells of cooling flesh and ammoniac hair, an uncoordinated whole of splotched hide and strong bones within which, detached and secret and familiar, an is different from my is. Faulkner's not even trying to make anyone talk realistically. He's about something, I guess - lending epic weight to lifesize events - and I even kinda like it... but it's still basically ridiculous. I'm making fun of Faulkner a lot, which is easy and fun to do because he's a jackass, but I like this book. The river crossing is genuinely exciting. Faulkner's kinda funny, in sortof a "check out this sentence I'm about to get away with, fuck all of you" way - not as funny as his fellow Southern Gothic Flannery O'Connor, but who is. The book overall walks a line between complicated and understandable, and for once Faulkner stays on the right side of it. Over the course of the book, most of the family have their own stories to play out. It's surprising and neat; new dimensions keep unfolding. We learn that Jewel (view spoiler)[is illegitimate, by Rev. Whitfield - this is the most obfuscated plot development (hide spoiler)] ; Dewey Dell (what kind of fuckin' name is that?) (view spoiler)[has been knocked up and is trying to get a secret abortion, which ends in her being more or less raped (hide spoiler)] ; Darl (view spoiler)[burns a barn down, because this is after all a Gothic, and gets sold out by his family and sent to an asylum (hide spoiler)] . Even dumb old Anse (view spoiler)[surprise-marries some duck-shaped lady (hide spoiler)] . He also (view spoiler)[spends Dewey Dell's abortion money on new teeth and a graphophone, which is a kind of early record player similar to the gramophone but instead of records they played these wax cylinders, sortof like what you see in a player piano (hide spoiler)] . I'm not the world's biggest Faulkner fan. Of the modernists, Woolf is by far my favorite; of the writers in general, the modernists are among my least favorite, because for fuck's sake just write down what's happening, if I wanted a puzzle I'd do a crossword. I generally wouldn't recommend that anyone read Faulkner unless they're just dying to for some reason, and in that case one should maybe ask oneself what that reason could possibly be, and is one really making good life choices here, and is one crazy, and is one possibly a pretentious dickwad, and wouldn't one honestly be better off just watching TV. Says the guy who was just dying to read Faulkner like a week ago, and now I've gone and done it and I kinda thought it was great. I don't know, man. I aint so sho who's got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It's like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it's the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it. Don't look at me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bram

    Without straying from his inimitable voice, Faulkner delivers a more professional, calculated effort here than with his novel of the year prior, The Sound and the Fury. There are more novel-y aspects to As I Lay Dying, and Faulkner emerges as the master of the slow- or late-reveal, which might be described as reverse-foreshadowing. As an example, Faulkner will provide a character scene that’s fraught with emotion and history and meaning, but he won't explain the context. There’s dramatic electricity, and w Without straying from his inimitable voice, Faulkner delivers a more professional, calculated effort here than with his novel of the year prior, The Sound and the Fury. There are more novel-y aspects to As I Lay Dying, and Faulkner emerges as the master of the slow- or late-reveal, which might be described as reverse-foreshadowing. As an example, Faulkner will provide a character scene that’s fraught with emotion and history and meaning, but he won't explain the context. There’s dramatic electricity, and we fully expect to understand the situation even while failing to receive any adumbrations. And that’s because Faulkner isn’t actually hinting at events to come; he’s showing us something we can’t understand without promises of future textual elucidation. We just have to trust that he’ll come through, which of course he always does via hints that come after the event. It’s sort of uncomfortable, and it made me reread certain passages obsessively, assuming that something must have slipped by. But this way we get to feel the drama first with disorientation rather than with understanding. I’ve read a few confusing novels, and no writer seems to use this method of disorientation so deliberately and so effectively as a ploy. Faulkner puts us at his mercy. He’s the one calling the shots, and we have to play by his rules. More than anything else, I think it's this aspect that can make people uneasy or unhappy with his works. But really it's a gift, leaving us with the rawness and incomprehensibility of life, which only begin to make sense in hindsight through functions of memory and our desire to find order and purpose. This, along with stream of consciousness, is what gives Faulkner as much of a claim to the title of Modernist as any of his contemporaries: he provides us with a hyper-reality via a unique, non-straightforward narrative structure. So this is a great book, and its star rating is possibly suffering because it’s coming on the heels of a definitively 5-star read. The characterization is, for the most part, fantastic. The story is told from various points of view, usually in two- or three-page chapters. I’d say about ten characters help to tell the story, but our primary narrator is Darl (some spoilers to follow). Darl is the second eldest son of the story’s plot-mover, Addie Bundren, and his character arc is probably the one thing keeping this novel out of ‘masterpiece’ territory for me. He’s described as someone intuitive and special, a bit of an oddball but a nice, thoughtful kid. His own narration backs this up; he’s the wise one, the amateur philosopher, and his narration is filled with difficult words and surprisingly correct grammar. But something happens with him toward the end of the book that didn’t quite work for me. Faulkner’s main philosophical exploration in this novel is relativity with regard to both morals and sanity, and Darl does something that confirms the others’ suspicions that he’s a little bit crazy. But given the absurdity of the situation the characters are in, Darl’s action actually makes some good sense. From a certain point of view, it’s perfectly understandable. So far, so good—Camus would have been really jealous of this set up. Only one character, Darl’s older brother Cash, recognizes that Darl may not actually be crazy: Sometimes I aint so sho who’s got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint…It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it. Exactly. But then, inexplicably, Faulkner decides that Darl is, in fact, insane: in the course of Darl’s final narration, he exhibits previously unseen schizophrenic behavior, complete with nonsensical ramblings addressing himself in the third person. What? Faulkner should have left him the way he was, as the guy who has almost too much sense and insight and therefore gets funny looks from all the ‘normal’ people. But this criticism arises from the contents of a two-page chapter, and fortunately it can be excised with a little mental effort. There’s also the possibility that some crucial hints in the book escaped me. Because of Faulkner’s storytelling style, in which many things only make sense later, it’s likely that I missed the significance of many comments, thoughts, and glances along the way. As I mentioned in a review for The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner is ripe for rereads because it’s inevitable that seeming irrelevancies and ambiguous character interactions from the first read will take on new meanings when you’re equipped with knowledge of the whole story. Unfortunately, I’ve never been one of those readers who can go right back to the beginning of a book after finishing it. One of the fascinating things about this novel is that it can be read either as a tragedy or as a black comedy (or, therefore, as a tragicomedy). The case for the former is rather straightforward considering the events of the book, particularly with regard to Darl. The bleak comedic aspect comes from the story’s McGuffin—to fulfill the above-mentioned Addie Bundren’s last wish of being buried in her family’s hometown—which becomes increasingly absurd as it proves logistically improbable to carry out. All manner of misfortunes are incurred as a result of her spineless husband’s uncharacteristic firmness in fulfilling this wish, a resolve that’s made even more unbefuckinglievably absurd by the book’s final five words. It’s all too tragic for laughs, but it’s pure genius.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    That feeling when you close a book, and it is like you can't breathe, because all the breath of life seems to be stuck in that story, and you just finished it, and there is a vacuum inside. That feeling when you try to describe a book, and all the adjectives you come up with are negative, and yet the story has such power, and you loved it, like life. That feeling when you are not sure what to read next, because whatever you pick will carry some of the flavour of the sorrow and the ho That feeling when you close a book, and it is like you can't breathe, because all the breath of life seems to be stuck in that story, and you just finished it, and there is a vacuum inside. That feeling when you try to describe a book, and all the adjectives you come up with are negative, and yet the story has such power, and you loved it, like life. That feeling when you are not sure what to read next, because whatever you pick will carry some of the flavour of the sorrow and the hopelessness and the sadness and the excruciatingly unfair black comedy of uneducated, poor, religious life. That feeling when the novel spills over into real life and makes you hear your heart beat for people that may not exist, but that are more real than many of your neighbours. That feeling you share with a main character that you aren't sure where the thin line between sanity and insanity is drawn, and whether it is in the eye of the beholder to make a final decision: "Sometimes I aint so sho who's got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It's like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it's the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it." That is reminiscent of Emily Dickinson's beautiful poem on madness: Much Madness is divinest Sense- To a discerning Eye- Much Sense-the starkest Madness- ‘Tis the Majority In this, as All, prevail- Assent- and you are sane- Demur- you’re straightway dangerous- And handled with a Chain- I LOVED this novel, and it made my stomach turn. I don't know what the majority of readers would make of this polyphonic Job's journey or Greek tragic odyssey through a fictional Southern landscape, but I figure I am mad in the Dickinson or Faulkner way. There is so much truth in the choir of the voices in the Bundren family, even though each voice alone seems random and mad and disoriented. The underlying social issues, stemming from the hopeless choicelessness of the poor and uneducated people in the rural South, are not explicitly made a topic as in Steinbeck's novels, but rather hinted at in the confused unawareness of those living that life themselves, unable to raise their voices coherently to demand change. Religion hovers above their heads as a stick and a carrot. "If you do this, you will face eternal punishment...", "if you suffer through that, God will praise you in heaven"... Most of the time, the Christian doctrines remain mysterious to the characters, and they can't see why an omniscient and omnipotent god would choose to do what he does to them. Has he chosen to let the Devil act to make a 17-year-old girl pregnant and to let her be left alone with ten dollars to try to get an abortion? And what divine sense of humour makes her fail at that and become a renewed victim of sexual exploitation, while her father takes the ten dollars she kept to get himself new teeth and another woman? Getting their mother buried in her hometown exposes the siblings to extreme situations from which they won't all recover. Some of them will be marked forever by the strain that forced them to balance on the thin line between madness and sanity. I will hear their voices and remember that I walk on that line too. To the cast of the play, a huge thank you for letting me join you on the stormy ride: Vardaman - There's no shame in having a fish for a mother! Cash - You are a mighty fine man, and a voice of care and reason, and when luck means breaking the same leg twice, you certainly know how to cherish your good star! Darl - I understand you, that line is mighty thin, especially in times of hardship! Dewey Dell - You have the future on your side, your daughters and granddaughters will have more rights and less vulnerability! Jewel - There is power underneath your confusion if you can get it sorted! Anse - Being headless amounts to child abuse! Addie - Your story is universal! Christians and gods - the usual cast!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan Baxter

    I am feeling totally inadequate to the task of reviewing this book. It's only the second Faulkner I've read, and while I enjoyed Absalom, Absalom, it didn't quite utterly astound me the way this one did. I was expecting the run-on sentences and outright rejection of periods that I found in the first book. Instead, I found short little chapters, and voices that spoke in terse sentences that only hinted at what lay beneath. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent chan I am feeling totally inadequate to the task of reviewing this book. It's only the second Faulkner I've read, and while I enjoyed Absalom, Absalom, it didn't quite utterly astound me the way this one did. I was expecting the run-on sentences and outright rejection of periods that I found in the first book. Instead, I found short little chapters, and voices that spoke in terse sentences that only hinted at what lay beneath. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  15. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    Unmistakingly Faulkner. A unique writing style combined with a sad and haunting story. You may read Faulkner and say when you are finished, "I didn't like that", but you will never forget what you read. Reread Sept. 2016

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I'm no copyright lawyer, but it seems like Faulkner's estate could have sued the hell out of the makers of National Lampoon's Vacation. There is the obvious corpse-carting similarity, but I can almost hear the familiar refrain of Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road" bleed into the scene of the Bundren's fateful river crossing. (Pre)DMCA violations were definitely afoot, at least in spirit. This is the book for those who find Faulkner's other well known works to be intimidating. As I Lay Dying delive I'm no copyright lawyer, but it seems like Faulkner's estate could have sued the hell out of the makers of National Lampoon's Vacation. There is the obvious corpse-carting similarity, but I can almost hear the familiar refrain of Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road" bleed into the scene of the Bundren's fateful river crossing. (Pre)DMCA violations were definitely afoot, at least in spirit. This is the book for those who find Faulkner's other well known works to be intimidating. As I Lay Dying delivers all of the point of view shifts and modernist goodness of The Sound and the Fury and Absalom, Absalom but in more palatable, bite-sized chunks. The endless chapters that trap one within the other books in a way that doesn't allow for natural stopping points within the text for bathroom or laundry breaks are eschewed in favor of shorter sections that are each narrated by a member of the Bundren family or else a random, curious onlooker about town. This format also eases the intensity of the typical Faulknerian (i've been waiting to use that term) shift between the action that is occurring and the stream of consciousness interior monologuing that characters in Faulkner novels seem to so enjoy. The constraints placed on the text make the themes of this book explode with meaning. The sins of the father are visited upon the heads of the children, familial obligation collides with personal agendas, and the immediate sainthood imposed upon those who have passed is examined in a more doubtful light. Word on the (back cover blurb) street is that Faulkner cranked out this book over a six week period while working twelve hour shifts at a power plant. In my mind this makes him the literary equivalent of that one cheerleader in high school that everyone secretly hated because she seemed so damned perfect.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Parthiban Sekar

    “I can remember how when I was young I believed Death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind - and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.” Death brings out the best and the worst in the families. The deceased doesn’t just escape our reality but changes the way we look at “I can remember how when I was young I believed Death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind - and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.” Death brings out the best and the worst in the families. The deceased doesn’t just escape our reality but changes the way we look at the reality for which it leaves an unfillable void in the wake of the families and the friends. It is difficult for anything to grow around it unless it is forgotten or, somehow, mended. Time, an irrevocable quantity, stays still, while we keep moving in infinite space. “That’s what they mean by the womb of time: the agony and the despair of spreading bones, the hard girdle in which lie the outraged entrails of events.” Death does not always bring the truth out but deceives us sometimes by carrying the secret to the grave, leaving the family and friends in a web of deceit. Here is Addie Bundren dying alone, hiding her pride and her broken heart. Sin doesn’t matter to her. So does salvation. All that whirls around her and ensnares her in this familial life, she believes, are just words to fill the lack. Love, fear, and pride are just empty words to her. However the roots of her disillusionment lie underground, invisible to the human eyes. If someone asks her to pray to god for her sins, she would say “My [Her] daily life is an acknowledgment and expiation of my sin.” Eternity is a fearsome thing to face. Now, Death comes to free her from the misery and other watchful eyes. All through her life she attended to the needs of selfish children and uncaring husband, Anse Bundren. He wanted more children. She gave him more children. But only one belonged to her – her own boy - Jewel who is the product of her godless association with a Not-All-Too-Holy minister. There are holes, now in the coffin box inside which Addie plunged into an unwakeable sleep; also, in the lives of the Bundren family. To mend the holes, they embark on a funeral tour to the destined place to bury her, as she wished. As the story is set in the early times, they don’t have any dull hearse to drive in black suits to the burial grounds, so they took her decaying body in a creaking wagon through a bridgeless river to a pitiless city full of loveless people. As it happens to any planned journey which meets with innumerable impediments, this journey is not an exception to it. The morbid picture brought out by the narrators when followed by buzzards wherever they go, while the cats try to scratch the coffin box and the people stand with their hands to their noses, can be quit appalling. Readers with vivid imagination are not advised to imagine much while reading this purifying work of art, and dear book sniffers, try not to sniff this one. There are some quite inexplicable scenes like this one: two of Anse’s sons are listening under an apple tree to what is going on inside the coffin and one says, amusingly or mockingly, that he can hear her talking, and that, in reality, is nothing but a fatal and natural decomposability. Death is a kind of sleep which leaves others wide-awake. On her death, almost every character is put into some kind of ordeal: the holy father coming to ask for forgiveness from so-far-faithful husband, her daughter trying to abort her pregnancy, the first son with a broken horse, the second son struggling to give a decent burial to his not-so-loving mother, the third son sacrificing his only possession which, in others’ view, is also his mother – a horse, the youngest one trying to keep the buzzards and cats away from the coffin, and Anse pushing everyone to uphold his promise. Promise is a word, too. Isn’t it? But what it fills up here is the body of Addie, as she lays dying. (view spoiler)[ The behavior of Anse after burying the body of his beloved wife is not just uncanny but unacceptable and that makes us doubt how true he was to Addie when she was alive. Imagine him, before the earth eats up Addie’s, coming up to his children, grinning handsomely with his new set of tooth, holding hands of another woman, and saying to the children “Meet Mrs. Bundren!”. Now they have a new gramophone (of the new Mrs. Bundren), but there are fewer members in family to listen while Jewel remains as a a living lie. (hide spoiler)] --- There are lot of interesting and memorable characters and sentences in this book with narrations varying in tone and style, as in The Sound and the Fury. Like in his other books, poverty and empathy are keys here. There is a couple of another important characters who I have not intentionally bothered as they are busy mourning over the sad demise of their dear mother. In simple words, this is just another masterpiece from Faulkner.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    “The quilt is drawn up to her chin, hot as it is, with only her two hands and her face outside. She is propped on the pillow, with her head raised so she can see out the window, and we can hear him every time he takes up the adze or the saw. If we were deaf we could almost watch her face and hear him, see him. Her face is wasted away so that the bones draw just under the skin in white lines. Her eyes are like two candles when you watch them gutter down into the sockets of iron candle-sticks. But “The quilt is drawn up to her chin, hot as it is, with only her two hands and her face outside. She is propped on the pillow, with her head raised so she can see out the window, and we can hear him every time he takes up the adze or the saw. If we were deaf we could almost watch her face and hear him, see him. Her face is wasted away so that the bones draw just under the skin in white lines. Her eyes are like two candles when you watch them gutter down into the sockets of iron candle-sticks. But the eternal and the everlasting salvation and grace is not upon her.” She is dying; she lies still… But everything around her is in motion, all things are on the move, the world is spinning. The narration consists of the character’s fragmentary thoughts, feverish mental impressions as if painted with the bold strokes of brush by the intrepid and furious impressionist… “I had a nightmare once I thought I was awake but I couldn’t see and couldn’t feel I couldn’t feel the bed under me and I couldn’t think what I was I couldn’t think of my name I couldn’t even think I am a girl I couldn’t even think I nor even think I want to wake up nor remember what was opposite to awake so I could do that I knew that something was passing but I couldn’t even think of time then all of a sudden I knew that something was it was wind blowing over me it was like the wind came and blew me back from where it was I was not blowing the room and Vardaman asleep and all of them back under me again and going on like a piece of cool silk dragging across my naked legs.” As I Lay Dying is a road book… “Back running, tunnelled between the two sets of bobbing mule ears, the road vanishes beneath the wagon as though it were a ribbon and the front axle were a spool.” It is an unimaginable chronicle of the long and calamitous funereal trek. Obstinacy combined with foolishness is a deadly force…

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    I was more or less bullied into reading this, and I still ended up loving it (after I got over the pharmacy scene, which made me want to punch-punch, though I acknowledge that was the point). My admittance of this book's awesome should stand for something considering I's tubborn as a *ahem* mule, and had for no particularly sound (or honestly even remotely thought out) reason been somewhat avoiding Faulkner for years. Okay, not really avoiding, just ehhhhh. That said, it turned out to be exactly I was more or less bullied into reading this, and I still ended up loving it (after I got over the pharmacy scene, which made me want to punch-punch, though I acknowledge that was the point). My admittance of this book's awesome should stand for something considering I's tubborn as a *ahem* mule, and had for no particularly sound (or honestly even remotely thought out) reason been somewhat avoiding Faulkner for years. Okay, not really avoiding, just ehhhhh. That said, it turned out to be exactly the tone, content, and prose stylies I already liked from all kinds of my favorite authors, except earlier and if not better, then at least every bit as good, and probably had a lot to do with those other people writing like they do/did and getting attention for it in the first place. And for that I thank you, Bill Mayhew! 1) This is not as hard to read as people act like, especially if you've already acclimated yourself to southern phonetics via other sogawth (that's my internet shorthand for "Southern Gothic", shorthand is cool to kids these days, right?) authors who forgo spallin and sitch in favor of accent authenticity. (Poor spelling, also cool? Kids? These...days?) 2) Not naming any names, but karen should consider giving this one another chance.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

    Aside from the fact that the title is taken from a line in "Agamemnon" (which makes it already unbearably cool) this is a breathtaking book. It took me about four chapters to get used to Faulker's style of writing- the dialects, the chapters each being from another character's perspective, his way of having no narration so you have to figure out what is going on from the half-conversations the characters have themselves... but god, once I adjusted, I was completely floored. This is a beautiful, Aside from the fact that the title is taken from a line in "Agamemnon" (which makes it already unbearably cool) this is a breathtaking book. It took me about four chapters to get used to Faulker's style of writing- the dialects, the chapters each being from another character's perspective, his way of having no narration so you have to figure out what is going on from the half-conversations the characters have themselves... but god, once I adjusted, I was completely floored. This is a beautiful, heart-rending book. It also seems to be a story which is honest and completely unembellished- the characters are presented as they are, even if they're unlikable at first or even banal. The honesty is refreshing. After reading this, I've become convinced that there are two kinds of people in the world; those who like Faulkner, and those who don't. Edit: After reading this book for the second time, I'm more convinced than ever of its power and genius. Fucking Faulkner! This is a book necessary for life.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This book is narrated by numerous characters - each from their own point of view - in a stream of consciousness style. Thus it takes time, effort, and concentration for the reader to catch on to the subtleties of the story, including: the characters' states of mind, secrets, and in one case - psychosis. Basically the story is about the Bundren family of Mississippi taking the corpse of their wife/mother, Addie Bundren, to be buried in her distant hometown - as she has requested. Because of self- This book is narrated by numerous characters - each from their own point of view - in a stream of consciousness style. Thus it takes time, effort, and concentration for the reader to catch on to the subtleties of the story, including: the characters' states of mind, secrets, and in one case - psychosis. Basically the story is about the Bundren family of Mississippi taking the corpse of their wife/mother, Addie Bundren, to be buried in her distant hometown - as she has requested. Because of self-imposed delays in securing the appropriate carriage; storms wiping out bridges; the tragic death of their mules; a family member's broken leg; and so on (the events of a black comedy essentially), the trip to the cemetery takes well over a week.....as the corpse decomposes and stinks to high heaven. The patriarch of the Bundren family is Anse, a lazy, n'er do well, disrespected in the community. The Bundren children are: Cash - talented carpenter; Darl - insightful and well-spoken young man; Jewel - impulsive youth; Dewey Dell - adolescent daughter; and Vardamon - school-age child. Other characters include local people in the community - minister, doctor, neighbors, etc. Anse Cash Darl Jewel Dewey Dell Vardamon In the course of the story various characters exhibit a variety of behaviors including gallantry, foolishness, infidelity, fear, selfishness, kindness, meanness, and more - which for me, etched them in my mind. Though some people in the story are not particularly likable, most of the characters are (at least) engaging and memorable. This is a good book, quite interesting, but it's best for readers who don't mind putting a lot of effort into their pleasure reading. You can follow my reviews at: https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  22. 4 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    Right, now I see why so many of my American Goodreads friends love Faulkner. The characters and setting are weirdly close to what I expected - people who could have been caricature rednecks, in, to quote a recent left article about Ulysses, 'a democratic and humanistic novel where the everyday is elevated to the level of epic. It valorises the ordinary, giving minor characters an interior monologue' - including characters who are unlikeable and who make decisions that do them no favours. But the descriptions and the met Right, now I see why so many of my American Goodreads friends love Faulkner. The characters and setting are weirdly close to what I expected - people who could have been caricature rednecks, in, to quote a recent left article about Ulysses, 'a democratic and humanistic novel where the everyday is elevated to the level of epic. It valorises the ordinary, giving minor characters an interior monologue' - including characters who are unlikeable and who make decisions that do them no favours. But the descriptions and the metaphors (and metaphors are always one of my yardsticks for interesting prose) are spectacular and awe-inspiring. The guy really was a great writer. - Above the ceaseless surface they stand—trees, cane, vines—rootless, severed from the earth, spectral above a scene of immense yet circumscribed desolation filled with the voice of the waste and mournful water. - Cash like sawing the long hot sad yellow days up into planks and nailing them to something. - On the long flank of it the rain crashes steadily, myriad, fluctuant. “I’m going to bevel it,” he says. “It’ll take more time,” Vernon says. - After a while the sound of the saw comes around, coming dark along the ground in the dust-dark. - When she [cow] sees me come into the lot she lows, her mouth full of flopping green - The barn is still red. It used to be redder than this. Then it went swirling, making the stars run backward without falling. Though sometimes the metaphors are too densely crowded and become mixed and contradictory: e.g. within a few paragraphs, pa is a steer that's just been killed, and then a steer getting up from the mud (and not a ghost steer). Ardent fans, I guess, would say that this shows the prodigiousness of Faulkner's talent: an over-profusion of awesome descriptions. His words can seem carved out of the land (firmer by far than the mud and flood that washes through this novel); Biblical; Classical epic. There's a rhythm and a feel and an atmosphere to the novel that is the roots of, or is right down among, the roots of so much else in American culture. I can hear Tom Waits in it. I can hear the post-apocalyptic scenarios posted by American preppers. A couple of other 20th century US classics (Ethan Frome, Trout Fishing in America), which I read in the last few months, made me understand how/why white American culture relates to the land the way it does, and how, in its consciousness, it crowded out everyone else, and then maintained that through the canon - this is another book to add to that picture. It helped me understand a few other things too. Quite frequently online, I see non-Christians describe some behaviour or opinion of a subset of Christians, e.g. on the US right-wing, as unchristian. Super-pious Cora Tull's justifications - about the mystery of how the Lord judges, and how people are not fit to judge as he judges - demonstrate how that accusation can be irrelevant to the Christians in question. (Even if Cora is slyly sent up, as Faulknershows that she isn't the great judge of character she thinks she is.) It gave me another epiphany about the book's place in history. It reminded me about how, in the late 19thto early 20th century, Britain looked down on America as, yes, brash, but also backward. With the US being a much bigger country, it was obviously possible to live much further from towns there, and further from technological developments. The Bundrens' story might possibly have happened in 1830, or especially 1730 or earlier in Britain, but not 1930. The novel itself is a powerhouse though: this was America as an up-and-coming power, poised to become Top Nation (to use Sellar & Yeatman's term), culturally as well as politically, not yet flabbily comfortable in its hegemony. The impoverished rural settings may have been among the reasons (idea via another GR friend review) alongside artistic strength, that Faulkner was influential and relevant for the writers of the Latin American Boom. (And that route may be how it influenced the Booker International-shortlisted Chilean novel The Remainder (2015) which I read earlier this year, and which retrospectively seems like a riff on or reworking of As I Lay Dying.) I must admit I like this modernist approach where writers bestow elaborated, eloquent thoughts, narrative and speech on to their characters. Wherever it's found - and the last time I read it was a few weeks ago in Ivy Compton-Burnett - there's a lot of criticism of it as unrealistic in GR community reviews. It clicks with me as a representation of a deeper truth, that this is what it might be like if people could get things into the best words possible, reify experiences into a format for high-quality download and transmission, so the recipient could get very close to how it really felt. Yet having said that, my favourite chapters were Vardaman's, the small boy's, which use a commoner stream of consciousness technique, with simplified vocabulary, childish thoughts, snippets of things witnessed without being fully understood by the narrator. These felt like the apex of the book's style, mixing high poetic description with the babble of a kid. The combination takes it to another level. It always flows perfectly, into the veins like poetry. It feels closest to thoughts and direct experience, without having to negotiate the peculiar reasoning and obscurities of some of the other characters. I liked the curious honesty and elegance in Faulkner's writing where Tull, and later a couple of other characters, use italicised 'thoughts' to act as omniscient narrators, providing background on the novel's events. Lesser writers would have instead shoehorned in clumsy exposition. It is a perfect fit with the modernist approach even whilst it breaks from the rest of the text around it. But it would be a slog reading this with English as a second language, even if you were otherwise fluent. I thought about this a lot, remembering how, maybe a couple of years ago, a GR friend with English as a second language was criticised for a post about dialect in Faulkner, by an American. I think the friend was quite justified in bemoaning the dialect. This stuff takes some getting used to, even as a native speaker of British English - especially all the weird-ass phrasal verbs and the words that don't mean quite what they usually do. And it's not like you can look up something like "save out" in the usual places. I'd say this is more difficult than Paul Beatty's The Sellout, which just depended on having heard of a bunch of pop culture you can hear of without ever setting foot in the US, and if you haven't you can readily Google it. This, instead, is some obscure old dialect, and given what even some reviews by Americans say, maybe some of it has either died out, or it's unique to Faulkner. There are also occasional paragraphs which feel embedded in ways of thinking that are probably local to time and place, and are difficult to understand in full now. (For example, part of pa's rant about the new road: I get the taxes thing and how he feels about liberal progress and contact with the town and drawing people away from the family unit. All opinions that are found in lots of places. But there's a bit that is, I suspect, rather like a trope-filled Twitter thread about Brexit would seem if read with no context or notes by someone just dropped in from twenty years ago. There's just too much background needed to understand it in full, and which isn't explained.) It's weird there are no critical editions of Faulkner in the UK. This is a PRH publication, so why not publish a Penguin Classic? On the evidence of this novel, he needs the annotations more than a whole bunch of 20th century writers who do get them. "Hey, there's a star missing" - it's one of those books some GR friends might say that about… But whilst there is a lot here I like and admire: the writing itself, and I'm biased towards liking a novel with such a low-technology setting, I didn't click with it enough for 5 stars. It also sometimes felt too tropey: one of those novels about the big family event where lots of secrets emerge - though in fairness most of those were written after 1930. And I was not convinced by a couple of developments near the end: Cash - Hephaestus the wounded craftsman - being quite so laid-back about his leg, plus the medical conclusion of that plotline is flat-out wrong or at least incredibly unlikely; and Darl suddenly flipping and how it sounds such a long way from where he starts, or how he was even the last time he narrated (maybe I'm influenced by characters like him in other books, where it nearly always turns out it's just other people's attitudes that are the problem). So yes, characters as I expected. Was still not prepared for either the spectacular quality or the intermittent obscurity of the writing. Packed with detail and motifs: can absolutely see why it's studied so much. (read & reviewed September 2019)

  23. 5 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ok, this is the first review on which I’ve ever hit the “spoiler” tab, but I don’t know how to review this book without spoilers. You know the drill. Stop reading if you’d like. Holy hell, As I Lay Dying is a great book. I needed about thirty pages to get into Faulkner’s rhythms (and, uh, finally figure out that each chapter was narrated by the character titling said chapter), but once I caught onto the cadence I read the novel in four feverish days sequestered in one of my second floor’s Ok, this is the first review on which I’ve ever hit the “spoiler” tab, but I don’t know how to review this book without spoilers. You know the drill. Stop reading if you’d like. Holy hell, As I Lay Dying is a great book. I needed about thirty pages to get into Faulkner’s rhythms (and, uh, finally figure out that each chapter was narrated by the character titling said chapter), but once I caught onto the cadence I read the novel in four feverish days sequestered in one of my second floor’s air conditioned bedrooms. While I don’t I want to read any Faulkner now, too intense one after the other, this novel elicited physical reactions I can’t quite describe. What do I mean? Well, there were moments reading this book when, if I were a cartoon character, my mouth would make a big “O” and my jaw would fall to the floor with a crash. Either the language (“wet seed wild in the hot blind earth”) or some characters’ actions would bring on this condition. While I don’t think my wife or kids would care too much, I wanted to grab someone by the shoulders and say, “Holy FUCK! They’re going to do WHAT with that body? You’re shitting me!” The simple storyline of hauling a dead woman across a county through some bad weather while vultures follow becomes absolutely gripping. I had questions when I finished: • What was up with Anse? Why was he such a lazy asshole? • Was Darl nuts or trying to break out of the family’s dysfunction? Why did he burn down that barn? Was that a sane act, really, despite the fact he’s perceived as insane? • What was up with Cash and his focus on building the coffin for the first half of the book? This novel will not comfort you. But some passages and characters haunted me. I loved Addie’s chapter, where she talks about hating all the kids she teaches and embodies the white-knuckle tight tension possessing the family. She almost seems proud of the tension, really, or at least wanting to grab the tension and knock some people over the head with it. There’s a hardness to the Bundrens that transcends any southern profile; this is deep, human hardness, across cultures, the primal and primitive and terrifying and potentially Dionysian wordless humanity but here mostly an almost impossible to express yelp of horror. Faulkner’s genius lies in the way his characters articulate and act out this darkness so the difficult to describe comes a little closer to clarity, whether the reader likes it or not. The Bundrens may be human beings, related to the rest of us by species, but holy shit, I sure hope they’re distant family. I know more of Faulkner’s literary progeny (e.g. Cormac McCarthy) then of Faulkner. As I Lay Dying , published in 1930, must have blown the roof off of literary expectations at the time. This is a fantastic book I can’t entirely understand, one that leaves me snatching at the murk, with deep respect for its creator.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    Will the Circle Be Unbroken By and By, Lord, by and by? Is a better home awaiting In the sky, Lord, in the sky? ... Habershon, 1907 (adapted/recorded by The Carter Family). [4.5 stars] This 1930 novel is truly unique in structure being narrated via the stream of consciousness of 15 characters over 59 chapters, each of which begins with the narrating character's name. The story follows the trials and tribulations of the Bundren family in Jefferson County, Mississippi, in taking their mom/wife Addie by horse/wagon to bury her in her hometown of Jefferson 2UnbrokenBy Will the Circle Be Unbroken By and By, Lord, by and by? Is a better home awaiting In the sky, Lord, in the sky? ... Habershon, 1907 (adapted/recorded by The Carter Family). [4.5 stars] This 1930 novel is truly unique in structure being narrated via the stream of consciousness of 15 characters over 59 chapters, each of which begins with the narrating character's name. The story follows the trials and tribulations of the Bundren family in Jefferson County, Mississippi, in taking their mom/wife Addie by horse/wagon to bury her in her hometown of Jefferson 20 miles away. Problem is, the river between the Bundrens and Jefferson has flooded, the bridges are out and embalming methods are nonexistent here at the time. The story is told in first person stream-of-consciousness narratives mostly by the sons (Cash in his late 20s, Darl, Jewel & Vardaman about 10), husband Anse, her 17-yr-old daughter Dewey Dell, as they deal with crossing a flooded river, fire, mental health issues and other problems (to say more would give spoilers) on their way to bury Mom. Faulkner sprinkles the narrative with some scant dialogue, but the meat comes from the narrators' deep, insightful thoughts. In addition to issues of death, adultery and child-bearing, a major theme is the conflict between a character's thoughts and the words she uses to convey them, a real problem for the Southern poor around that time (and today). Which leads to another big theme: social class. From what I've read, Faulkner considered social class distinctions to be much more prominent in the South than in other parts of the country. He wanted to accurately depict a poor white Mississippi family, fully displaying their humanity without glossing over their ignorance and backwards values. I can speak to this social hierarchy from experience. While this novel's set in the 20s, 60 years later, I knew of* a family a lot like the Bundren family, but likely lower on the socioeconomic scale. I grew up in suburbs until 15 when my dad decided he wanted to buy some land and raise horses. The nearest school was maybe 10 miles away, so without a drivers' license or friends in the area, I had to ride the school bus for a semester. While I hated it, I found most of the kids okay, probably not what you are used to, dear reader, but generally clean without any prominent class traits. I won't forget the day though, when the bus turned up a dirt road to climb a steep incline. I peered out the back to see dust swirling into rust-colored clouds below, thinking what the hell is this? The bus seemed to grind 10 minutes upward turning and twisting to the top. When it stopped, in the door walked a scruffy man with a full mustache under a snub nose and ferrety black eyes. As he took a seat near the front, his greasy knotted hair folded over the collar of his washed-out red and black flannel shirt. I caught a waft of something rank in the air, but it passed soon enough. Stan, a guy I'd met the day before, told me our new passenger was Johnny Boy, who was repeating the 6th grade again this year. I'm not sure Johnny Boy's age, but he must have been at least 17. When I complained to Stan about the long haul up the hill, he laughed, "you ain't seen the half of it." As we headed back down the hill we took a quick right into an open field, and in front of us was a shack with several large pieces of junked home furniture scattered around it, and dad sitting on a recliner 20 yards to the left. Into the bus jumped these two girls who looked about 7 & 9, while down to my immediate right was mom resting on the couch with her furry robe half-open holding a toddler, waving goodbye. As they approached me in the back of the bus, I saw neither girl wore shoes that January morning and layers of dirt covered sores on their feet and ankles. Above blue tattered dresses, caked dirt ran along the lines of their necks, their hair was tousled and tangled and in their gaping mouths their teeth cluttered with what appeared to be plaque, food and snuff. Worse than all that though (my face grimaces), was the awful smell of body odor and who knows what else that was like a combination of sulphur and ammonia. I gagged a couple of times and stuck my head up to a open bus window to get some fresh air. I realized then how sheltered I'd been in my suburban middle-class life in, yes, Mississippi. I never looked at the film Deliverance the same. This novel made me sad and embarrassed that the 15-year-old me thought of that hill family as no better than animals. It makes me frustrated too no simple answer exists to breaking the circle for kids born into poverty or ignorance or abusive families because those kids continue the cycle with their kids and on and on and on. The circle here, sadly, stays mostly unbroken. By and by, oh, By and by. * As I explain, I knew of the family, but I never knew them personally.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Faulkner takes a complex and unique approach in recounting what is essentially a fairly lean story. But the magic is there in the execution - the characters and the atmosphere have real substance, and there is a sense of melancholy and futility that surrounds the novel. As in The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner creates intrigue through the withholding of information; subverting normal literary expectations and forcing the reader to continue, paying close attention to detail in order to complete the narr Faulkner takes a complex and unique approach in recounting what is essentially a fairly lean story. But the magic is there in the execution - the characters and the atmosphere have real substance, and there is a sense of melancholy and futility that surrounds the novel. As in The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner creates intrigue through the withholding of information; subverting normal literary expectations and forcing the reader to continue, paying close attention to detail in order to complete the narrative picture. This is an experience that frustrates some, but which I generally enjoy, however there were several times in this novel that I felt this trick was unsubtly performed (such as simply withholding names for effect), and in those instances I didn't feel like I was actively solving a puzzle, but simply waiting for Faulkner to spit out the answer. Through the use of rotating narrators, Faulker is able to create some compelling characters - the pathetic Anse is a central figure and was the standout for me. However, there are aspects of some of the other characters that were a little strange and didn't entirely make sense (I'm still not sure I completely worked out what the deal was with Darl). There is also a great deal of inconsistency in the voices of the characters, which seem to switch ad libitum between coarse dialect and wordy prose. While I trust that Faulkner had a vision and thought about these voices deeply, the effect of the inconsistency is to blur the clarity of the characters and mask whatever his intent may have been. I've mentioned several negative points in this review, but my overall impression of this book is extremely positive. As I Lay Dying is a powerful and moving work. The execution is slightly rough around the edges, but it is audacious, and there are more than enough truly brilliant passages to make up for any shortcomings.

  26. 4 out of 5

    poncho

    About a year ago a friend of mine got me this job in which I had to work for some sociologists who made researches about Mexican immigrants in the US. Basically, my job was to transcribe their recorded interviews, which I personally found pretty enjoyable — it was like listening to all those life stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes a blend of both. So the task was entertaining and the pay was good. However, like any job, it had some difficulties at first. I got to rea About a year ago a friend of mine got me this job in which I had to work for some sociologists who made researches about Mexican immigrants in the US. Basically, my job was to transcribe their recorded interviews, which I personally found pretty enjoyable — it was like listening to all those life stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes a blend of both. So the task was entertaining and the pay was good. However, like any job, it had some difficulties at first. I got to realize how significantly communication can differ from spoken to written, with all the words we mispronounce, the structures we shorten and the grammar we defy, which is basically the beauty of how language keeps changing; but for me, it was puzzling at first trying to find a way to make some sentences readable for the researchers who would later read them, and to know what punctuation mark would suit better. That’s when I realised about the importance thereof. I think the people I worked for were quite satisfied with my job and I was grateful that such an experience helped me see some of the importance that resides in language itself. Language: our means to express things, to bring ideas into a general understanding, to tell something: events, messages, stories that become masterpieces of literature, &c. Now, to talk about literature is to try to pour all the water of the sea into a sand pit (borrowing St. Augustine’s metaphor for the Mystery of The Trinity). But one of the literary styles I like the most is what’s known as stream of consciousness: a device that depicts the human mind and the way it constructs sentences — sometimes long, sometimes short; sometimes they’re ramblings, sometimes they are brilliant aphorisms built on experience. We see that in Proust’s subtle and delicate prose; or Joyce’s, raging and cunning; or Woolf’s, rhythmical and alluring. Then comes Faulkner, playing with words and sentences no more than we often do, unconsciously and fluently. We let words come out and in such a process we disregard by times whether we construct a sentence or rather deconstruct it. This may be a hard task while reading a novel, since we are used to straight plots, a strict grammar and a coherent syntax. I’m not saying such stories are bad, not at all, but we usually don’t speak premeditatedly in real life; instead, while telling excitingly something we digress so much and sometimes we disregard the due arrangement of words, and just like everybody has their own handwriting, thus everybody has their own pronunciation and their own language idiosyncrasies. Now, imagine what a stream, nay, a torrent of consciousness results when a whole novel, such as As I Lay Dying, is narrated by many different people — sometimes a child (a perfectly portrayed innocence), sometimes a lonesome woman, sometimes a so-called queer young man, sometimes a wrathful son, or even a regretful minister. It’s a mess, definitely, but, alas! what a delightful mess brought from Faulkner’s pen to the whole world; while the fact that the author never changed a word of his manuscript and wrote it in six weeks, only naturalises the ambience in this work. In Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying words rise in rebellion, making it a hard reading experience, but it pays off, it really does once you get used to it. Sentences bring grammatical protocols down and they drag the reader throughout the whole book through their own way. While a conventional prose would take you by the pavement, Faulkner’s takes you by the gravel. The point of arrival is the same, though: the Bundren’s tremendous vortex of love, rage, sex, life, family bonds, solitude. You may have a chance to catch your breath in the surface intermittently, but you’ll eventually be sucked in by its engrossing effect and experience their emotions quite vividly. It’s such a passionate work that makes me feel passionate about literature……… Sho. It’s a durn masterpiece! Aint it? He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn't need a word for that anymore than for pride or fear.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Clausen

    It's a strange thing to say, but at 36 I don't know if I'm mature enough to read William Faulkner the way he should be read. First, I think that Faulkner is a quiet read. I think that his stories and books should be read quietly at a time in your life when your mind isn't clouded by muck. My mind is clouded by muck, thus I'm not sure if I'm ready to read this book. Sure, at the age of 32 I was ready to read his short stories -- that was a different time. I was living in Fujisawa, and my own moth It's a strange thing to say, but at 36 I don't know if I'm mature enough to read William Faulkner the way he should be read. First, I think that Faulkner is a quiet read. I think that his stories and books should be read quietly at a time in your life when your mind isn't clouded by muck. My mind is clouded by muck, thus I'm not sure if I'm ready to read this book. Sure, at the age of 32 I was ready to read his short stories -- that was a different time. I was living in Fujisawa, and my own mother having died, I was in a deeply thoughtful mood. I try to artificially put myself in a deep thoughtful mood now and find myself getting distracted. Still, there are things in the book that I can't help noticing. First, with regard to his subject, Faulkner has his same sense of sympathy, irony, and humor -- and that's important I think because it's too easy to look down on poor folk; and, at the same time, I think it's too easy to idealize country folk. It's too easy to put their modest country ideals on a pedestal or laugh at their strange and idiotic foibles. It's more difficult to do what Faulkner does, which is put them in a raging river and have them all tip over, flail about, and somehow come out more human. Speaking of foibles, this book review had a broken leg, so I tried to create a cast -- but not out of cement like in the book, but instead with some mixed metaphors about life and writing about the South. I wanted my book review to become a fish, but it's still a book review...well, maybe even not a book review quite. And then, I think about Darl. I love Darl. I love his voice in the book. And yet, I don't quite understand Darl. I think that Darl is William Faulkner's stand-in, a mouthpiece for Faulkner, but who knows how much of Faulkner is in Darl. Who knows how much of me is in this book review. One last thought -- read at least part of this book outside. I think it might just save your soul from damnation. I think I'll keep this book at work. When things are slow, I'll pick it up, turn to a chapter with "Darl" written there and just check on him from time to time. It's what Ma would have wanted.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joel

    I respect Faulkner, but I can't say I love him. Still, this book was something. What that something was, I'm still figuring out. The novel tells the story of the Bundren family in their quest to bury their recently deceased (well, she's alive but on her death bed when the story opens) mother, Addie. And if you thought your family was dysfunctional, you haven't read enough Faulkner yet. Think turn of the century white trash and you're getting close. The Bundrens are a muddled mass of s I respect Faulkner, but I can't say I love him. Still, this book was something. What that something was, I'm still figuring out. The novel tells the story of the Bundren family in their quest to bury their recently deceased (well, she's alive but on her death bed when the story opens) mother, Addie. And if you thought your family was dysfunctional, you haven't read enough Faulkner yet. Think turn of the century white trash and you're getting close. The Bundrens are a muddled mass of secrets, lies, confusions, poor choices, selfishness, insanity, and grief. Each chapter is told by a different narrator, and so the story is told in tilted chunks, leaving the reader to piece together the objective truth. There are moments of comedy, and moments of tragedy, and plenty of moments of terribleness. And in the end, I'm not sure who is the heart of the novel. Not Addie, though her death is the central focus of the plot (or at least the inciting incident). Not Anse, who is too mule-headed and self-centered to make good choices for his family. Not Dewey Dell, too much caught up in her own life. Not Vardaman, too young to make much sense of the world. That leaves the three older boys, all of whom are scarred in various ways by their family, mentally, physically, emotionally. I have to admith, though, at times I feel like I have to fight more than I want to in order to understand what's happening. Faulkner is so good at taking you inside the mind that sometimes you're not even sure what exactly the character is actually thinking about. The book grew on me as I read, and it's certainly less daunting than The Sound and the Fury , but I still can't claim to be a major Faulknerian. To respect and appreciate is one thing. To enjoy is something else.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Well Faulkner has done it again, left me wondering what to say, actually what to think, about theis book, about the Bundren family and their "quest"---a most unromantic quest at that, to bury their mother Addie. There are some comic moments but they are so overwhelmed for me by pathos, ignorance and near tragedy, that I rarely smiled and then only ruefully. Anse the father with no capacity beyond his desire for new teeth. Darl the disturbed. Cash the damaged. Jewel the different. Vard Well Faulkner has done it again, left me wondering what to say, actually what to think, about theis book, about the Bundren family and their "quest"---a most unromantic quest at that, to bury their mother Addie. There are some comic moments but they are so overwhelmed for me by pathos, ignorance and near tragedy, that I rarely smiled and then only ruefully. Anse the father with no capacity beyond his desire for new teeth. Darl the disturbed. Cash the damaged. Jewel the different. Vardaman the child. And Dewey Dell the hopeless daughter. Addie left them all behind, somewhat gratefully, I suspect. As Addie recalls... "I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time." Now there's a philosophy to bring joy to one's days! Poor Addie. And then she marries Anse. "So I took Anse. And when I knew that I had Cash, I knew that living was terrible and that this was the answer to it. That was when I learned that words are no good....When he was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the children didn't care whether there was a word for it or not. I knew that fear was invented by someone that had never had the fear; pride, who never had the pride. And: "and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words." Quite a comment on language through Addie's mind from Mr Faulkner, a premier wordsmith. Next time I will try to read this book in as close to one sitting as possible. I did read the last half at one time and that did add to the power of the experience. I find it hard to rate this book, I think partly because of the characters. There is much to dislike in these people---but that's due to the power and method of Faulkner's writing. He doesn't give us any more or less than we need. He gives us harsh people living in a harsh land with little to no apparent positive emotion left in their lives. But there are also some glimmers in a couple of them. I wonder if those glimmers ever lasted, or just petered out. Well, in the process of writing this review, I've decided--5 is my rating.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike Puma

    As I Lay Dying is one of those titles that all readers of literary fiction get to sooner or later—for good reasons. Not only is it one of Faulkner’s most accessible titles, it is also very quickly read and less dark than some of his other work; some of the novel’s developments are, however, told with black comedy/gallows humor. As there are plenty of title summaries available here, I’m not going to bore readers with another one. I would, however, like to speak to some of the negative crit As I Lay Dying is one of those titles that all readers of literary fiction get to sooner or later—for good reasons. Not only is it one of Faulkner’s most accessible titles, it is also very quickly read and less dark than some of his other work; some of the novel’s developments are, however, told with black comedy/gallows humor. As there are plenty of title summaries available here, I’m not going to bore readers with another one. I would, however, like to speak to some of the negative criticism this title receives—if that dissuades some readers, so be it; better to not attempt a title than to be disappointed by one—and, yes, I do realize the possibility of running off a potential reader who might otherwise like a title; all I can do is hope that I don’t do that. If nothing else, I might prevent a couple one-star ratings and reviews of the ‘boring’ or ‘confusing’ or ‘hated it’ varieties. Those reviews always strike me as shoving a big extended middle finger into the faces of readers who do like a particular work. Multiple narrators can be confusing—learning numerous characters at the same time, especially at the beginning of novel often is. In this case, it seems to me, helpful to remember that Faulkner isn’t introducing a family—he’s introducing members of a family—and what better way to do that than letting each tell his or her own version of the story. By that I mean, these are individual stories (narratives) about individuals; they describe how each family member sees him- or herself, how each sees their relatives, and how others, outside the family, see each and all of them. Collectively the narratives present the family and the novel. An aside, in As I Lay Dying, eyes matter—each character sees and is seen; all those descriptions of eyes are there for a reason. Stream of consciousness is another aspect of Faulkner novels that some readers often find hard to understand. Creating a certain kind of confusion is often part of how the device works. Imagine, if you will, looking inside the head of another person—imagine being able to see his or her thoughts. Would you really expect those thoughts to be linear, punctuated, all neatly organized and processed? Wouldn’t those thoughts more likely assume something of the shape or form of those of young Vardaman whose thoughts run one into another, unpunctuated, unorganized? Remember something else when you encounter this sort of writing—sometimes it’s a way to slow the reader down, force a little more attention in a particular direction. Faulkner is (in)famous for challenging use of punctuation, syntax, and grammar—his style. He’s not afraid to use dialect, contrived words, or send you to the dictionary. This is not sloppy writing, or careless writing; he does what he does for a reason. The questions that should arise when reading Faulkner (or anyone else, e.g. Cormac McCarthy—considered my some to be the heir of Faulkner’s style), is what is the author doing here and why? What does this sort of writing lend to the understanding of the story? Should I have paid more attention in rhetoric class? Why the hell did I not have a rhetoric class and how can I learn more about it? In the hands of an accomplished author, like Faulkner, it ALL matters. Enjoy the book; have fun with it, as I think that was his intention.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.