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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)
I grew up in Mississippi in the 1970s and 80s. I knew of people like the Bundrens.
If you haven't read this book, the Bundrens are a family (a dad, 4 brothers and a sister) taking their mom (alive for a small part of the book) to be buried about 20 miles away in Jefferson (her wish). Problem is, the river has just flooded (timely here in lower Alabama) and the bridges are out.
They must deal with flood (crossing a flooded river), fire, mental health and other bodily issues (to say more is to give a spoiler) on their way by wagon to bury Moma.
It is told from the perspectives of each member of the family and friends and a hypocritical preacherman. Parts of it are hilarious and parts are downright sad. The father reminds me of why it is so hard to break free of the interrelated chains of family and poverty and, to a certain degree, ignorance.
I give the performance 3 stars for the narrated voice of Vardaman (the character who is still a kid) and, because of his age, he views his mother's death through warped eyes (e.g., "My mother is a fish"). Probably as a coping mechanism and partly because of the trauma of losing a mom and living with a father like Anse Bundren. The narrator, on the other hand, portrayed Vardaman as an idiot.
Warning: Do NOT watch James Franco's movie prior to reading the book. Watching the father for even part of that movie will likely disgust you to the point you cannot read further. Contrary to Franco, apparently, I never took from Faulkner's book that he intended dad to be viewed as mentally disabled.
Yes. If you love diving into the twisted mind of writer like Poe and Faulkner you will love this twisted tell.
Spoiler alert ... I don't like that Darl was used as a scapegoat to end the story. It is as if Faulkner just got tired of the characters and abruptly ended the story with out tying up loose ends.
The Narrators give a different voice to each character allowing the reader to follow the story more easily.
Yes. I would love to read what happens to Darl and Dewey Dale after mamma is buried
Faulkner. I've read his other works and this one left me feeling cheated. I went on the journey with him and, when we got there, I was looking around thinking "why did I read this, again?" The characters were uninteresting. The story was lacking.Whatever could have been told was lost in the ramblings of "stream of consciousness." It's like long division ... sure, you can get to the answer that way, but why would you?
Written something else ... and given up "stream of consciousness" writing.
Sure. I think they did a fine job. The producers were brilliant in getting multiple narrators. In fact, they could have had more. Faulkner is so inconsiderate to his readers in that he gives his characters no introduction, no context, no "who are these people" which makes it absolutely necessary to have different voices. It was like Faulkner decided, laughing to himself, to write whatever came into his mind, didn't feel like reading back over it to see if it made any sense, then went straight to production with it. The artist has a duty to meet their audience somewhere along the line. He failed here. Will Patton, in Faulkner's "Light in August" is an awesome narrator. One of the best I've heard, along with Stacy Keach in Hemingway.
I would sit Faulkner down and ask him, "Will, level with me here. What is the point? Are you trying to prove that you can do the "Stream of Consciousness" thing too? I don't see a story here. I see you, the writer, trying to prove something and maybe you'll get lucky and some "artsy" types will rave about it. William, is that what is going on? I think you should stick to your bread and butter, telling great stories that really change people, and knock off the gimmicky stuff. Seriously. You're from Mississippi. Have you ever heard of any person in that state, or anywhere that communicated that way? If you want to do poetry, fine. Do poetry. If you want to write novels, fine. Write novels. But don't do this. Don't mix and mash it all together along with some ramblings about "is is" and "once was is." What is that? I know what you were getting at but why go about it that way? You owe it to your readers to give them a little bit more."
Don't give up on Faulkner for this one. Read "Light in August," the one narrated by Will Patton. It will affect you; it will draw you in. It's a shame that "As I Lay Dying" has received so much attention. I think it does a disservice to the other great works he wrote. People go for this one, get burned on it, then turn their back on Faulkner altogether.
A Must Read!
What can you say besides "Faulkner at his best". A great novel of life and love and tragedy.
Three words cannot do it justice
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.
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