Friday, March 12, 2010

The Year of Reading Faulker: As I Lay Dying

Did you think I forgot? That I would let this pass quietly into the night? That the overwhelming, convoluted, winding passages about Mississippi's rural quirks would frustrate me to no end?

After being thoroughly confused by
The Sound and The Fury, I came to As I Lay Dying with some trepidation. The path before me had been carved by my good friend HCD who attempted the book a few years ago, but came back with little to show for it. Here's what he had to say:

I had always hated fiction. But as a college sophomore seeking to shun mainstream society, I discovered a hardcore band called As I Lay Dying. When I learned that the name was from Faulkner, I made a revolutionary decision: I would voluntarily read this novel. You can guess how my mind was transformed…

It wasn’t. I checked AILD out of the library, read 20 pages, remembered why I didn’t like novels, and returned it to the library three weeks later.

I did eventually gain an appreciation of fiction. Not high brow fiction, but John Grisham and paperbacks with embossed titles that you can buy at Wal-Mart—completely not hip, I know.

Will I give Faulkner another chance? Will his lost spy novel manuscript ever be discovered? (ed. he's joking...I think...)
I get this book or I think I get this book. I'm enjoying it actually. About 60 pages in, I think I understand Jewel, Darl, Tull, the girl named Dewey. Jewel and Tull left even though their mom was dying. I'm intrigued. It's still convoluted, it still winds around, there is no sense of chronology, but Faulkner obviously had it in mind--he tears bits off the puzzle, makes his own pieces and glues them back together in his own design.

I'm hyper aware of Faulkner's rhythm after reader The Sound and The Fury, whcih has disciplined me for this one. Maybe the only way to read Faulkner is to read them all back to back.

Anybody else read this? What are your thoughts?

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