Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Truth is fungible and ephemeral. It rests in the minds of the beholder and disappears in the light of history.
So many interpretations; so little time; “Absalom, Absalom!” is a masterpiece of literature for its phrasing, for its human exploration, and for its maddening reinvention of itself. If one of the criteria of literary success is a book’s nagging temptation to be re-read, “Absalom, Absalom!” deserves a Nobel Prize for literature (which Faulkner wins in 1949).
In the beginning, a reader is cast into confusion by a woman’s rant about Thomas Sutpen, a man she cohabitates with, nearly marries, and despises. Faulkner’s prose is all that keeps one trudging through this diatribe of discontent. Confusion reigns for several pages until a dim light of understanding reveals Thomas Sutpen as a driven, ill-educated, and poor Virginian that migrates to Mississippi with a plan, i.e. a plan to become wealthy, respected, and immortal; like a King of Jerusalem.
This is no easy read but it consumes one’s attention and helps one understand amoral behavior, slavery, discrimination and how they lead to inhumanity and destruction.
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
This novel is heavy, nearly indigestible.
I find it rather challenging to absorb, while driving (where I listen most), all the import of sentences filled with words that stretch the lexicon of even a Hahvahd literature professor. So, I purchased both the text and audible versions to listen to some and go back through. This proved too time-consuming.
If I were learned enough, perhaps I'd have enjoyed it enough to give it 5 stars. On the other hand, were I a true redneck I wouldn't have picked it up and certainly would have chunked it after Chapter 1.
If you purchase this, be sure to carry a pocket-sized dictionary for quick, easy and frequent reference.
I tend to prefer classic fiction, historical nonfiction and short stories. I work in communications and spend most of my time with words. :)
Absalom, Absalom! is one of my favorite books, and I've read it half a dozen times. I thought it would be interesting to experience the twisting, rhapsodic passages read aloud, and it was more enjoyable than I could've even imagined. The characterizations and pace were thrilling, and as soon as I finish writing this review, I intend to see if this narrator has recorded any other Faulkner so I can tuck into another title.
I should say (though maybe this goes without saying?) that you need to have read this book before diving into the audio version. If not, you'll most likely find yourself lost fairly quickly. I'd venture to say the same for most of Faulkner's body of work.
If you enjoy day tripping through the dusty, gothic mythos of Yoknapatawpha County, you'll be sucked into this recording immediately.
I forgive Faulkner his racism now. I see that he not only speaks for the old Confederacy as her chief apologist, but also speaks to her and prophesies against her. Faulkner is hard to listen to in audio format because of those wonderful tangled sentences that go on for miles. But the narrator does an excellent job of differentiating each character, and you can see that the author really meant to be heard, not just read.
Maybe only a true believer can criticize. Faulkner gives full voice to those caught in the culture of trafficking in human labor, while still honoring the great ruined charade of Southern chivalry.
Say something about yourself!
Maybe The Great American Novel.
(Of course more than one Faulkner book could conceivably be called either one--Greatest American/Greatest Southern novel).
An incredible story of a southern man's rise and fall. The story is clearly an allegory for the South itself (and, by extension, America?).
Faulkner's writing style is light-years ahead of its time. The actual story being told could be done in a chapter. In fact, each chapter tells the same story from different perspectives, with new details. The perspectives and details often contradict each other. The details are sometimes explicitly made up.
This layered, recursive process demonstrates the construction of human knowledge, making this fiction "real."
Gardner's narration is wonderful. He doesn't necessarily change his accent from character to character except that it is always clear when a Southerner is speaking.
Dark, foreboding, mysterious
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Engaged different accents to make them recognizable and distinct without drawing too much attention to it.
Yes, and I almost did on one long car ride
First Faulkner book I've read since high school and the first time I felt I really appreciated one.
struggled to finish. very confusing. at the end, I still wasn't sure who Quinton was.
Absolutely superb. I especially recommend this book to those who have exiled themselves from the South and to those who want to understand that region better.
A unique capture & indictment of Southern iniquity, from the perspective of a Southerner, geographically removed, for perspective. This is the genius of his writing, his genre. The saddest thing is that this also the story of New York, Boston & Chicago with only honor & duty as a distinction. Thank God that these times are gone, thank God that Faulkner captured it before it was gone. Let us hope that the sins of slavery will stop punishing our land one day, even as that evil institution expands in other parts of this blessed/cursed planet.
Faulkner's exploration of human nature, of the civil war south and all of the prejudices, the taboos, the struggles for acceptance give the reader today, 150 years after the war ended, an understanding of it all that no other writer has or could ever provide.