I can see from some of the reviews that this book is heavy going for a lot of readers. And it is heavy going, no question about it. It's bleak and relentless but there are flashes of gold so pure and true that I felt not only was it worth it, but that without the darkness, the flashes of light would not have shone so brightly.
The language... oh, if you love poetic language and rich, fertile descriptions, this book is so linguistically erotic there were times when I felt almost embarrassed to be listening to it in a public place.
I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading/listening to this. I'm so glad I did.
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.
To this reviewer, Faulkner, like Mark Twain, is an acquired taste. “Light in August” is considered by Modern Library, in their 1998 list, to be one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century; “Time” magazine suggests the same thing in 1923 and 2005.
“Abasalom, Abasalom” is William Faulkner’s vision of the South. It is an interesting book but it gnaws at one’s sense of completeness, both in the society being described and the fate of its characters. Faulkner describes early 20th century prejudice with characters that are largely unforgivable and unlikable. All women are characterized as dissemblers, and sex objects that lure men to sin as though men have no will of their own. Religion is exclusively seen as punitive and destructive. Faulkner pictures southern life as dark with only slivers of light; maybe slivers of light in August but only one month in twelve leaves his characters mostly mired in violence, sin, and despair.
Faulkner draws attention to American societal failures in the same way his contemporary Richard Wright does in “Native Son”. However, Faulkner paints on a wider canvas; i.e. exploring the dark side of religious zealotry which has no north/south or east/west boundary. The irony of Faulkner’s wider vision is its narrow focus. Both “Light in August” and “Native Son” are difficult to read because of the brutality of their main characters but Faulkner, though more lyrical and broadly visionary, is ironically one-dimensional and less complete than Wright.
I would not be interested in reading another Faulkner book however I thought Will Patton did good job of narrating.
The overly descriptive nature of Faulkner's work is lost on me. I find myself daydreaming or getting lost on what he was describing or talking about. I really hated reading this book but I kept reading in hopes that it would have some redeeming ending. Not.
Not even Will Patton's mesmerizing voice could save this slow, bleak story. I can't finish it.
Something with a plot.
Everything. I could listen to him read a pizza menu.
The scenes between the first page and the last page.
Just because a book is a classic doesn't make it good to read.
I'm sorry, Oprah but I absolutely hated this book - I actually didn't finish it, although I lasted over half way,hoping against hope for an improvement. In my opinion, the narration is very poor. Every word is read soooo sloowwly, the accents are terrible and the book just doesn't have any clear storyline. Sorry but no good things to say here.
The vocabulary of the author. I understood the intent of each sentence, but marvelled at the literary level of the written word. Not something you would here in everyday life now.
The depth of the characters and how they converged in life
The pace, the vocal manipulation and tonal flexibility in converying each character
pass on that one
Very insightful of human value and perspective from this era.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
It's hard to describe just what the structure of this book is. Characters we think are central disappear for long stretches. Characters we think are peripheral come to have major roles. The central plot line appears to lead nowhere. I am left with the sense that the real plot lies outside of what is reported in the book, and can only be inferred from the general shapes outlined therein. Faulkner is probably the most successful experimental writer of the 20th century. One of the few where we feel the experimental elements serve the function of the story instead of the other way around. In this book, it is the fragmented way of telling the story, and the sense of an overarching purpose that cannot be directly stated. Nowadays, the fragmented chronology has become so common that we may not appreciate how revolutionary Faulkner's work really was. One thing Faulkner is always good at is at expressing the ambiguity in a character's words or actions. Rather than simply say what a gesture means, he will leave you with a multitude of interpretations just as you are left in real life wondering what a gesture truly meant. Just as our own gestures mean more than can be neatly summed up in a tidy soundbite explanation.
It's not giving anything away to say that there are numerous allusions to the nativity story in this book, though it can be easy to forget as the story twists away in different directions. It's a very dark twisted version of the nativity story all the same. I think the underlying meaning of the book lies somewhere in the contemplation of its elements as they relate to that archetypal story.
Will Patton does a terrific job of keeping all the characters straight and of evoking the period and the people.
I love books!
I read William Faulkner or at least tried to read him in my 20's. I never really thought much about him after that until audible offered up this book as part of its Audible Modern Vanguard classic selections. The plot seemed interesting and I liked that it was narrated by actor Will Patton, who also narrates the James Lee Burke novels I enjoy, and since he's from the south where this book takes place, he had the southern accents down to a T.
This is a thought provoking book that touches on several different topics. Since it's set in Mississippi in the 1930's, it is a timepiece novel looking at that era, post Civil War but where racism still existed even all those years later. But it also touches on the hopes and dreams of people who are just trying to get by in life. It touches on the effects our parents and even out grandparents have on our lives. Did we lead the lives our parents wanted us to or did we stay true to ourselves and lead the lives we wanted to? Was it possible to do both? How did our grandparents effect the lives of their children and how then did that get passed down onto us? Many of us rebel and strike off on our own but as we get older we sometimes think that we are leading the life we were supposed to and now we've gone full circle.
Faulkner touches on all these issues in this book. Yes, it's a novel of the deep south in the 1930's but it is also universally timeless. I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would when starting out. Read it slow and think about it, as i said, it's thought provoking.
Eclectic, avid listener, favorite book is the one currently in ear.
If you miss a few seconds, you will have transitioned in time and point of view and be lost. His writing is beautiful, difficult topics placed in a cruel world... if I was to read again, would do in book form. Performance was great, the story thought provoking but it didn't work for me as an audio book.
This is a master of the human psyche tells the stories of a number of different of human characters, many of which each of us has met in other incarnations. Faulkner gives us insights into what moves them. No explanations, however, as there aren't any. The discrepancy between their dreams and their reality brings to life many of my own memories. The least active character is at the same time the most realistic about what is happening around and to her.
The reader is absolutely exceptional in portraying the different characters, their emotions and "southernness". This performance is a pleasure to listen too just to hear Will Paton read Faulkner.