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"For range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterization, humor, and tragic intensity, [Faulkner's works] are without equal in our time and country". (Robert Penn Warren)
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.
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 trick to reading Faulkner is having someone explain to you what Faulkner is doing and why it's amazing. A good professors can do that for some people; a great professor can do it for most. I was lucky enough to have that when I was young, so I loved this book.
Faulkner sneaks in poetry, and beautiful glimpses through a poets eyes. He also shows some awful people in poetic ways. The book is also a look at sanity & insanity, and the weak boundary between them. It's also a look at some of the saddest people in the world, who are so mired in poverty and ignorance that they continually destroy themselves and what's around them. Of course, that's humanity, isn't it? And that's the point.
If you enjoy that sort of thing, this book is for you. If you have to read it for class: Analyze what is going on, as best as you can. Faulkner gives you the tops of the glaciers; readers have to try and understand what larger stuff lurks under the surface of the water.
Reading until I am ready to write.
I can't comprehend how I feel emotionally about this book. I do concede it is a masterpiece. I just read The Sound And The Fury which pales in comparison to As I Lay Dying. I could probably read the former 10 times and still not have the best grasp on what is going on with the story. As for the latter, I could probably reread the story and understand it (just as I have now) but feel completely differently about it, and that is how a Southern Gothic novel should maintain its mysterious aura. It's difficult for me to say whether the ending was: a happier way to end a depressing book, an ridiculous way to end an angering book, or the other two permutations. Some gem quotes I thought were: "It takes two people to make you, and one people to die. That's how the world is going to end." Cash on being crazy and Armstid on Anse's demeanor. Also, Faulkner is the undisputed champion of stream-of-consciousness, and I've read Joyce and enough Woolf to make that assertion.
this book is so amazing. I read it with my AP English class and it is just such an amazing story with layers of symbolism and character depth. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves American literature. it's not too long and easy to understand!
i struggled to keep the story moving. the voices and times keep switching. i am sure when i listen senond time out will be different. this book is is on everyone's list of 100 greatest books of all tone.
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