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on 20 March 2017
To my shame, this is the first Faulkner I’ve read. He’s another author that has been on the edge of my radar for years, but I’ve never got round to reading him, save for a few extracts given as examples when I was studying English Literature.
This is a classic that is really worthy of the name. It’s a deceptively simple tale - a woman dies and her family transport her body back to her home town to fulfil her dying wish. But Faulkner uses this journey to take his reader on a journey too, revealing bit by bit the relationships between Addie’s children and with their father - their rivalries, their jealousies, their fears, their hopes, their dreams.
The story to me though is in a way secondary to the writing. It is so, so well-crafted that it is almost awe-inspiring. That might sound over the top, but I had to keep stopping and re-reading, and reading out bits to my poor family because the sheer skill of the writing was so amazing.
That isn’t to say that the writing is complicated. It’s dense, yes, but dense with meaning. Faulkner offers a masterclass here in saying a lot with a few words and images. Every word has a point, has a place and is needed. Nothing is wasted.
Faulkner is a writer whose works are often studied, rather than simply read. And that’s a bit of a shame. It was lovely to read this simply for the pleasure of reading - and it really is an absolute pleasure to read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 January 2015
I just love the `mystique `of the old Deep South,It is something that I've always been drawn to - I can't really tell you why, but I've so enjoyed the likes of: Mockingbird, Huckleberry & Uncle Tom.
This read so reminded me of Caldwell's `Tobacco Road' & God's Little Acre?
It's not so sexually suggestive of course, though there's still clearly a bit of `hanky- panky' going on here with Addie, Dewey and Anse right at the end.
The humour is totally `honest' and very similar in style, and so is the `hopelessness' of the participants! Those country folk sure do have a very simplistic way of looking at things?
I smiled an awful lot through this read, and how many of us said to ourselves - "please don't go over that flooded river!"
I do agree with those that say it's not the easiest, or certainly the most fluent of books to read? The dialect can hold you back at times and it's surprisingly easy to miss some of the salient points if you try and rush through it! Saying that, the book ( hardback) is only 230 pages, each page is not overly filled, so, you can read this in a couple of days quite easily.
There are several paragraphs where it's frankly just babble - just accept it as part of the intellect of the players and writers imagination and move on?
The story is pretty simple, but there are a few surprises along the way, I found the ending very ironic?
Without a doubt a first class read, and like a lot of `Southern' reads - very unusual!
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on 10 November 2014
I taught this novel as an A level set text and loved it - if that is the right word for such a tragic novel. It is not an 'easy read', but well worth the effort. Faulkner conveys the emotions and preoccupations of all the characters through a 'stream of consciousness' technique which captures their hard lives very precisely, from Vardaman's childish confusion to Anse's selfishness. Their journey to Jefferson with Addie is an Odyssey. Anse destroys his family for the sake of 'them teeth'. You have to read the book several times to understand it fully - it is well worth the effort. It must be one of the greatest books of the 20th century.
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on 29 March 2016
Enjoyed As I Lay Dying more than my first taste of a Faulkner novel, which was The Sound and the Fury. As I Lay Dying, for me, felt more accessible. The narrative, told from each character's perspective, yet often about the same event, left the reader to interpret the underlying motive or conflict of feelings within the Bundren family. Sadness and painful emotions were stated within the action and were not often resolved. I was left feeling annoyed at Anse for Darl's fate and his seeming lack of love for his family. Frustrated with the Bundren's yet concerned for them throughout novel.
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on 13 April 2017
As with most of Faulkner's novels, this can be hard work at times, but it is a hugely enjoyable book which you get more from every time you come back to it. It is heartbreaking, darkly funny and full of compelling characters.
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on 8 April 2012
This is a classic of American Literature, a novel that I wouldn't have read had it not been chosen by our book club. I'm glad I read it, but it is a challenging read - written in the "stream of consciousness" technique so beloved of the Modernists, but featuring the archetypal American story of a (not so epic) journey and a dysfunctional impoverished family, set in the deep South.
If you've read Cold Comfort Farm, you might find this novel hard to swallow without experiencing flashes of an (unintentional?) humour. Characters have monosyllabic names like Darl, Cash, Cora and Tull, and the plot centres around the death of the grim, long-suffering mother of the family and her deeply unnattractive husband, Anse. Did the author intend the book to have a blackly comic tinge to it? The self-effacing sufferings of Cash, as the family treat his twice-broken leg by coating it in concrete to help support it, is but one example. Legs that go green and rotting corpses - this book has interesting episodes!
I didn't find Faulkner's prose style totally successful - a bit too pretentious for my liking. However, I think it is a book everyone should try and read for the insight it gives into the American psyche. All those strange stories and characters that appear in the songs of Dylan, The Band and the american western movie now make more sense...
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on 18 January 2016
Not my usual read, was recommended on Books Podcast as a Good Read. I found it difficult to get into, the story jumping to different character's point of view following the death of a family member and trying to 'take her home'. Slightly amusing in their attempts, heart warming they wanted to carry out her dying wishes at all costs. It's about family pulling together
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on 18 December 2015
A remarkable piece of work. A demanding read but absolutely great value for the effort. A book to be absorbed rather than read. If you are interested in English literature or the development of the modern novel then this book is a must.
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on 29 January 2013
This Faulkner novel has all the character types and the odour of the deep south of America that might be expected. The narrative not only holds the reader's attention, it draws him/her in. Little quirks of pronunciation of the English language are not obtrusive. The Modern Library hardback is nicely produced with readable typeface, good quality paper and binding.
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on 14 September 2013
Magnificent work, rightly named in 100 best twentieth century novels lists.

This Kindle edition is slightly marred for me by the numerous misprints ('be' for 'he' just one typical example)in this Random House edition; in this respect it compares poorly with several of the free Project Gutenberg books I have downloaded. Poor show Random House.

Faulkner's style takes a little getting used to: his overuse of the words 'myriad' (employed both as a noun and adjective) and 'threatful' is a minor irritation. However,having just discovered Faulkner,it certainly made me realise what a craftsman he was and I certainly intend to read others.
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