Monday, July 2, 2012

William Faulkner - Absalom, Absalom!

"Have you ever looked at one of Picasso's abstract females? You know the ones I mean. The woman has a head in which the prominently jutting nose splits the face into two sections with violently contrasting colours. Other body parts, hugely disproportionate, seem to bulge and dangle everywhere. You contemplate it for a while, shake your perfectly symmetrical head, put your elegantly tapered fingers pensively to your shapely chin, and think, 'There's a human being in there somewhere. I can see all the body parts. But why does it look so incredibly bizarre?' ... If I went back to the Picasso, maybe all those skewed arms and legs and, well, you know, other things would shift around and suddenly look like a regular human being. And if I go back to the Faulkner, maybe all those characters, fragments, flashbacks, rehashings, and long drawn out italicized monologues will shift around and suddenly make sense like a regular novel."

"I certainly did not give this book a fair read, but I did try to start reading it at least four different times. And four times I found myself bored and distracted ... The fact that I'm a newspaper editor & journalism teacher who stresses brevity colors my approach as a reader, I'm sure."

"Faulkner is an asshole. This crap was unreadable."

"Sweet Lord Jesus. This was the toughest book I have ever read. I tried to be openminded, really I did. But I just don't get how Faulkner ever became such an acclaimed writer. The English teacher in me can't get my mind off all the spelling mistakes and punctuation errors and the five mile sentences. Why purposely write a book that is going to confuse your readers?"

"Absalom, Absalom! is not the great American novel. Or, if it is, it is a great American novel for someone who has time in the day to read for an hour or more at a time. Because that is the only way I was able comprehend this book - grab a glass of iced tea, hunker down and read."

"So many pronouns, not enough brains cells to process it."

"Just gave up after 140 pages, read the chronology at the end, which confirmed that nothing really happened in the book."

"I dare you to make a syntactic phrase structure tree out of any of Faulkner's sentences. I firmly believe they are not comprehensible by either man or machine."

"I just can't get past his pretentious style...and it is pretentious, he writes in the thirties! he doesn't need to extend his sentences like some romantic's sophomoric."

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