If you're looking at Faulkner then you hopefully know what you're getting into. This, along with Unvanquished are probably good intros with this starting to get into the stream of consciousness and convoluted structures without being too much. this is a great idea to have the rotating narrators by different readers, however they should have gone a step further and used enough to cover all the voices distinctly with no repeats. there are a couple of narrators who read more than one voice/character and some voices are not as individual as they need to be, and a couple times a reader's sections come back to back and the voices run too similar, enough that i lost track of who was speaking a couple times. still a good rendition.
I liked Faulkner's compassion for characters to whom many people who read literary wouldn't give much more than the time of day. I also liked Faulkner's originality and his ability to make local matters universal.
I can think of a coupler of recent English novels that owe a debt to As I Lay Dying: The Hide by Barry Unsworth and Last Orders by Graham Swift, which was made into a movie with some good acting in it. Faulkner influenced Carson McCullers and numerous other Americans, including Paul Harding, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for Tinkers. As for predecessors, how about The Spoon River Anthology.
This is the first time I've heard this team. I thought they read clearly and with expressiveness.
Parts of it made me laugh. No tears here.
Will Patton's Light in August narration is wonderful. Someone who can do an authentic Southern accent would have been better here.
The Southern accents adopted by the narrators were rather awful and quite distracting at times as the actors struggled and missed. The actor who reads Vardaman, the little boy, does catch these sections well, however, and rendered them in a very moving way.
The novel itself is a classic of the twentieth century, and a tragicomic masterpiece.
It was near the top.
Tobacco Road, because they both deal with a poor rural southern family. However in this case the family seems to genuinely care about each other and are not starving.
Yes, I had insomnia one night and listened to the entire book
Faulkner is difficult for me to understand without a study guide. Following it with a study guide it was an enjoyable experience.
this book single-handedly turned me off to anything written by faulkner.
i was forced to read this for a college lit class and it was a complete struggle from start to finish. at the recommendation of a fellow student, i downloaded the audiobook in the hopes of understanding the story a bit more. on that note, the audio quality is fantastic and it really helps that each character has a different voice.
as for the story: i get that faulkner was going for the whole stream of consciousness angle, but the characters were hard to follow, hard to get to know and hard to care about. having the prof lay out the storyline helped a bit and i can see how the plot could be interesting if the writing style had been set up differently. i was just unable to get beyond the surface of this book on my own. maybe it's too many years of fluffy chick lit or just a general apathy for the class i was taking and the professor who taught it, but if i never have to hear of faulkner again, it will be too soon.
Once you've heard it the first time, you "get" it the second time. Very confusing to try to understand the relationship of the characters.
I think the prose of Faulkner's work is beautiful and could be beautifully read by the right narrator. The narrators of this particular recording drove me crazy. I couldn't listen for more than 15 minutes at a time and have finally given up on trying to finish it. I have listened to at least 100 books and this was by far the worst narration.
Retired teacher. Hometown: Eden, NY.
William Faulkner wrote his fifth novel, AS I LAY DYING, in only six weeks in 1929. It was published after very little editing in 1930. The novel tells the story of the Bundren family traveling to bury their dead mother. The novel is famous for its experimental narrative technique, which Faulkner began in his earlier book, THE SOUND AND THE FURY. Fifteen characters take turns narrating the story in streams of consciousness over the course of fifty-nine, sometimes overlapping sections.
At the time, Faulkner’s novel contributed substantially to the growing Modernist movement. He was no doubt influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, whose theories about the subconscious were made increasingly popular in the 1920s. Faulkner’s novel regards subconscious thought as more important than conscious action or speech; long passages of italicized text within the novel would seem to reflect these inner workings of the mind. His prolific career in writing is marked by his 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature and two Pulitzer Prizes, one in 1955 and the other in 1962.
AS I LAY DYING is the story of the Bundren family who live in Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Addie and Anse Bundren have five children: Darl, Jewel, Cash, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman.
The Bundren family is extremely poor, and Addie is terminally ill. Cash Bundren builds his mother’s coffin, and while Darl and Jewel are visiting a neighbor, Addie dies. The youngest son, Vardaman, is extremely distressed at his mother’s death. This trauma stems from the large fish he has just caught and cleaned, breaking it down into pieces which he no longer sees as fish. Thus he decides that his mother in death is no longer his mother, or even a person, but something that does not truly exist any longer… the fish.
Being so upset at his mother’s death and the fact that she is now nailed in a box, he drills holes in it for her and accidentally drills her face. While the others are mourning the death of Addie, her daughter Dewey Dell is distracted by her unwanted (and unknown to others) pregnancy by a local farm hand named Lafe.
Addie had requested she be buried in Jefferson, which is a grueling trek for the family to make, but Anse decides they must do it. The family sets off on their journey in a wagon pulled by mules, and loses or trades just about everything they own along the way.
The story is told from the point of view of all the characters, including the post-humus Addie, and many carefully-guarded secrets are revealed. The Bundrens encounter several obstacles on their journey, including the near-loss of Addie more than once. It is mostly through the interior monologues that we gradually absorb the psychologically complex personality of each character. The inevitable conclusion is that everyone has skeletons in the closet, and will go to incredible lengths to conceal them.
This is not a happy novel. Dark themes of identity, reality, death, poverty, suffering, religion, family, isolation, and sanity are shadowed on every page.
There is one especially intrusive theme which demands particular mention: the major theme of the absurdity of life. The main event in the novel, the family journey to Jefferson to bury Addie, is a huge joke, reminding the reader that life is indeed absurd - nothing more, nothing less. Addie wants the family to bring her body to Jefferson, not because she truly wants to be buried there but because she wants her family to make that pointless journey as a means of revenge for forcing her to live the boring domesticated life that she has lived for so long. The entire event is a pointless journey with no meaning whatsoever. Addie intensely felt that absurdity, and thus it was her final joke to make the family do something with no rhyme or reason to prove her point.
No discussion of William Faulkner is complete without an example of the naked beauty of the prose and poetry found within the interior thinking of his characters:
“I believed that I had found it. I believed that the reason was the duty to the alive, to the terrible blood, the red bitter flood boiling through the land. I would think of sin as I would think of the clothes we both wore in the world’s face, of the circumspection necessary because he was he and I was I; the sin the more utter and terrible since he was the instrument ordained by God who created the sin, to sanctify that sin He had created. While I waited for him in the woods, waiting for him before he saw me, I would think of him as dressed in sin.”
~~ Addie Bundren, describing her adultery.
Finally, if this review has stimulated you to visit or revisit Faulkner, but you have reservations predicated on negative comments by others, I urge you to consider AS I LAY DYING, one of his most accessible and rewarding novels. Having done my Master’s thesis on Faulkner in 1969, I daresay I have at least an average familiarity with his works. Forty-three years later that familiarity has been deepened by Audible’s four-narrator tour de force of this book. To experience the visual richness of style, consider reading a print version while you listen.
(Incidentally, my Vintage Books edition cost $1.65 in 1969!)
First, I'm a diehard Faulkner fan. However, the performance here truly does him a disservice. To get the full flavor of Faulkner's prose, listen to Grover Gardner's performance of Absolam, Absolam! Or Joe Barrett's performance of The Hamlet.
Their southern accent- it really took away anything that the book could have offered. They all spoke in a terrible, exaggerated southern drawl.