Tuesday, February 1, 2011

William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying II

"I don't like this book. I am not going to provide a lengthy explanation, because all of you who rated this 5 stars will just condemn me as a moron, and all of you who don't like this book will only agree with what I have to say.

I agreed with most of the one and two star ratings (beyond the argument that it was 'confusing'), and did not feel obligated to write a review other than to hopefully lower the overall rating of this novel."


"I actually felt like dying while reading this book."


"I didn't much care for any of the characters since they all seemed to have their 'vices'. Would this have every happened in real life?"


"I cannot recommend this book. History and time often creates legends out of the mere ordinary. This book and all of Faulkners works are horrible and would not find a publisher if written in 2008. There is not an editor alive that would read past the first chapter of As I lay dying. It is a dud. There is no reason to read it. None. The story is not interesting. Faulkners 'stream of consciousness' writing style is not interesting. Nothing about this book is worthwhile, except to say that you've read Faulkner. I can say that rereading this book again I did actually feel pain. I felt like crying, it was horrible. But like all the idiots here leaving 5 star reviews I couldn't put it down because then I wouldn't be able to say I have read Faulkner. A book shouldn't be painful and you should want to read it. Faulkner sucks and I have a problem with anyone that recommends him. I've heard that Limburger cheese is delish, but how do you get rid of that smell while you are eating it? And why would you? I'll tell you why. Just so you can say you've ate Limburger cheese. That is the only reason. Why read Faulkner? Just so you can say you have read Faulkner."


"while reading it i felt like i was dying"


"I wish someone would've let Faulkner know that before he stumbled home toasted one night and barfed up this novel. Whoops! Did I say novel? I didn't mean to imply that it was new or fresh in any way. Reading this book-esque object just reminded me of reading Mark Twain. The only subtext was 'Being stupid and poor is artistic now. Ha ha ha.'"


"Should be called 'As I Die Reading'!"


"I picked this book up because the title caught my eye. I mean 'As I Lay Dying'?! That's pretty cool! I figured it had to be cyberpunk with a philip k. dick title like that. Or a book about zombies. Boy was I wrong! I guess I should have read the back of the book first.
Turns out it's a book about these people who are trying to take the stinking corpse of thier dead mom across the american south, which still sounds like a pretty good plot even if thier are no zombies. Actually these people are about as smart as zombies.
Even though some pretty funny stuff happens to these people, like when one guy breaks his arm and the family pours concrete on it, on the whole this Faulkner guy could learn a thing or two from Stephen King. Keep trying buddy!"


"More like 'As I Lay SNORING.'"


"One detail in particular that had me doubting the book to begin with was the fact that each story was told by a different narrator. Fine and dandy, if I had realized this while I was reading the book :) In some chapters it was obvious and others not so much. Even though the narrator's name (I'm assuming this is correct) was the title of each chapter. Apparently, I was too dense to discover this on my own."


"Another thing I disliked about Faulkner’s novel was the slow start. I understand the title is AS I lay Dying, but is it too much to ask to keep things interesting while she is dying."

IN LATER REVISIONS FAULKNER CONSIDERED PLACING ADDIE'S COFFIN NOT IN RURAL MISSISSIPPI BUT ON THE SET OF BALANCHINE'S NEW YORK PRODUCTION OF THE FIREBIRD


"Should be retitled, 'As I Lay Dying of Boredom'."


"I don't get it. It's probably a great new method of storytelling, shifting character to character, that's really smart and tough to do, but why not read The Rules of Attraction instead?"


"Or, 'As I Die Reading.'"


"Good 'lord' I could not get through this book, I did give it a good 4 months of forcing myself to read it every night and I slept well those in months...hehe"


"yet another painful memory of junior year of high school... we used to call it 'As I Lay Dying Reading this Book'"


"maybe faulkner is giving his readers too much credit."

4 comments:

  1. Well, I reread this book long long after my first uptake--I'd thought I ought to read a Faulkner, as I'd read a Hemingway, a Steinbeck, an Updike--when I was less than half my age now. Unlike my second read of Moby Dick, I did not like As I Lay Dying more, understand it better, or find myself more tolerant of its challenges this time. In fact, I found myself persistently annoyed at Faulkner for deliberate obfuscations, for not disappearing as an author into his work, and for setting out to write a classic by wreaking havoc with reader expectations. I persevered because I am stubborn and hate to give up on a novel. However, I did appreciate his novel word pictures and turns of phrase for the sights and sounds (and smells) experienced by a comprehensibly modest set of interesting major characters, most of whom were fairly defined by their actions and turns as narrator. My first gripe is a minor one: development through dialog is an admirable method to accomplish communication a full story, but as skillful as he was, Faulkner could not match the oral words of a character with her mental musings--each laid down alongside the other--with consistency of vocabulary. (People spoke as country folk who had perhaps acquired an elementary school education, but expressed their inward thoughts and feelings as if they were community college lecturers--'cept fer Vardaman, hit wus right difflicult ter reckon the same one wer thinkin as wer speakin. . . 'struth, Ma.) There are other irks, but suffice it to say, the quality of this meat wasn't worth the chew. (I found it perversely satisfying that Faulkner did not become comfortable on the earnings from his craft for nearly twenty years after the publication of As I Lay Dying. . . Giving him too much money would have been enabling. . . Some artists suffer for their art, perhaps he suffered because of it.)
    Steinbeck, a far abler wordsmith and more prolific storyteller, addressing the same people in the same era, reliably provides a wonderful read--with meat on the bone. . . except for his farethe-not-so-well, East of Eden; but that was cobbled at the end of his career, not the beginning.

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  2. HI MARK! THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT, THOUGH I DISAGREE WITH MOST OF WHAT YOU'VE SAID.

    STEINBECK AND FAULKNER MAKE AN INTERESTING COMPARISON FOR THE REASONS YOU MENTION, THOUGH I HAVE TO CONFESS I DISLIKE STEINBECK. TO ME, HE OFFERS THE HARMFUL (AND PECULIARLY AMERICAN) ILLUSION THAT POVERTY IS BAD BECAUSE IT HAPPENS TO NICE PEOPLE. FAULKNER UNDERSTANDS THAT POVERTY IS BAD BECAUSE IT WARPS THE COMMUNITY AND THE SOUL: THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE EXTREMELY POOR DELIMIT THEIR INTERACTIONS WITH ONE ANOTHER, THEIR MORAL CHOICES, THEIR MEANS OF EXPRESSION AND THE COURSE OF THEIR WHOLE LIVES. THAT IS WHY AT THE END OF THE NOVEL, ANSE BUNDREN COMMITS HIS SON TO A MENTAL INSTITUTION TO AVOID A LAWSUIT HE CANNOT AFFORD, AND WHY HE TAKES A NEW WIFE DAYS AFTER HIS FORMER WIFE'S DEATH, IN ORDER TO RUN HIS FARM. ANSE IS A ROTTEN, IGNOBLE, HIDEOUS PERSON -- THAT IS HOW HE SURVIVES HIS CIRCUMSTANCES.

    YOU COMPLAIN THAT FAULKNER'S CHARACTERS SPEAK AS THEY HAVE LEARNED TO SPEAK (AS COUNTRY FOLK), AND YET THINK INTELLIGENTLY AND ELOQUENTLY. I DON'T SEE IT AS VERY DIFFERENT FROM SHAKESPEARE GIVING A NURSE OR A BASKET-WEAVER A SOLILOQUY BEYOND THE MEANS OF MOST WORKING-CLASS PEOPLE. VERY FEW OF US, INCLUDING COLLEGE PROFESSORS, ARE CAPABLE OF EXPRESSING OURSELVES AS FAULKNER OR SHAKESPEARE COULD. BUT THAT'S WHY WE NEED FAULKNER AND SHAKESPEARE: TO GIVE VOICE TO OUR IMAGINATIVE LIVES, BE WE KINGS OF ENGLAND OR SUBSISTENCE FARMERS IN THE DEEP SOUTH. THE LIVES OF THE BUNDRENS ARE AS MORALLY, CONCEPTUALLY, POETICALLY RICH AS REAL LIVES. THE APOCALYPTIC PROPHECY OF DARL OR THE SHREWD, DARK INTELLIGENCE OF ADDIE HAVE NO PARALLEL IN A STEINBECK NOVEL BECAUSE STEINBECK SEES THE POOR AS LOVABLE CLOWNS, NOT COMPLEX HUMAN BEINGS. COMPARE THE PREACHER IN THE GRAPES OF WRATH STRUGGLING COMICALLY TO COME TO GRIPS WITH, AND EXPRESS, HIS EXPERIENCE OF ECONOMIC OPPRESSION. OR GEORGE AND LENNY'S DREAMS OF BUYING A FARM AND RAISING RABBITS IN OF MICE AND MEN. MUCH OF THE SYMPATHY WE HAVE FOR STEINBECK'S CHARACTERS IS ACHIEVED THROUGH THEIR DISPLAYS OF STUPIDITY -- NOTE THAT IT IS ALWAYS CLEAR TO THE READER, AND NOT TO LENNY AND GEORGE, THAT THEY WILL NEVER ACHIEVE THEIR DREAM. (MOTHER JOAD IS A NOBLE EXCEPTION TO STEINBECK'S CONDESCENSION, AND THE CLOSEST HE CAME TO CREATING A THREE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER.) FAULKNER GIVES HIS CHARACTERS BRAINS AND SOULS, AND THEY ARE RARELY NICE PEOPLE. STEINBECK GIVES HIS GUMPTION, AND THEY ALWAYS ARE.

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    Replies
    1. Faulkner clearly gave Me too much credit as a reader. . . However, I refuse to extend him the same courtesy as an artist.

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