This book is a difficult text to read first because Faulkner's prose style is dense and challenging and second because the dialogue is rooted in a colloquial "back-woods" language not familiar to those of us not from ealy 20th century Mississppi. Joe Barrett levels these factors out by reading the text in a very skilled manner. I look forward to more Faulkner to be performed by Joe Barett.
In terms of the book, it is a very challenging book but worth the read because Faulkner is making some very serious commentaries on how information is received, processed, communicated and sanitized within social groups and how the importance of such "infomation processing" can be exploited and leveraged for financial gain and social status improvement. Very weighty stuff here. This is one of Faulkner's less acclaimed works (many critics have assessed it as an unsuccessful and ineffective novel) however I stongly recommend it - it gave me the sense that I had just read a book that was considered by many to be a failure however it deepened my perspective on how politics plays out in group settings, how expoitation occurs and how morality is "baselined" (and by whom it is baselined). Read this after the Hamlet and before the Mansion (both also available through Joe Barrett's narration on Audible) to experience the entire Snopes Trilogy.
Faulkner is unavoidably challenging so having geat narration like this is spectacular. It helps also to have read (or be familiar with) the context of Faulkner's fictional county in Mississippi to appreciate how the "Snopes clan" fits into his conception of both the old world values of the South (pre-Civil War) and the values imposed on this region through the effects of modernity (national unity, automobiles, planes, cold war, post reconstrution in the South, etc.). The novels within this trilogy contain perspectives (through plot and characterization) articulating that the Snopes clan had a predominent role in eroding the old world values of the South; however these assumptions are also challenged and subverted and deconstructed, thereby challenging the reader to reconsider what moral judgments are founded on in the first place. I should also say that sections of this novel are absolutely hilarious. Good Faulkner. In addition to this review, see my commentay on Faulkner's "The Town".
The short stories of Faulkner are an excellent intro to his writing style and his Mississippi subject matter. A lot of these stories connect into his novels, or they are original drafts of chapters of his later novels. Pretty insightful stuff if you give it time and read through these. The readings are performed by a variety of narrators who all do an excellent job. Highly recommended. He's considered to be one of the best writers in American history - so this production is a valuable resource for people who do not have the time to sit and read, but want to expose themselves to one of the greatest fiction writers.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Mom to his 11-year-old daughter.
The ride on this story was magnificent. The destination left me a little wanting. I like closure in my stories and this one could have kept on going without missing a beat, although the conclusion probably has kept this book out of some classrooms. I don't remember this book being included in the curriculum in high school and I now realize some of its content was probably titillating to the point that it would be banned. The writing is so good, though, that I'm hopeful high school students today have the opportunity to read it. Although it was set in the 1930s, it could easily be adapted to modern times and many of the prejudices and settings would be applicable. I'm pleased that I finally took the time to listen to this Steinbeck work. Well worth my time and credit.