Umm, What?

by Charlotte Reads Classics

I’ve just been reading As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner for a book group: I don’t get it, or particularly like it. This book appears on countless reading lists and William Faulkner is a much admired author and so on but I don’t understand why.

Calling all Faulkner fans! Tell me what I am missing!

I thought I had managed to come to appreciate stream of consciousness novels, but in this one I didn’t really like anyone and I wasn’t ever entirely sure what was happening. Without question, Faulkner dives completely into one character – they all have very distinct and separate voices – I just didn’t manage to catch up.

Things I did like:

  • The atmosphere: the hot days in the fields
  • Images like the buzzards circling over the coffin
  • Vardaman’s mother/fish narration
  • The descriptions of the divide between town and country

Perhaps I needed to read this paying it much more attention, to be honest I have been rushing because I want to get on with re-reading Wolf Hall before Bring Up the Bodies is released on the 10th. When it comes to reading ‘classics’ I have a tendency to think I should enjoy them, or at least be able to appreciate why other people enjoy them. They are classics for a reason, after all.

So if you’ve read this or any other Faulkner novels I want to be corrected! Tips for reading, what you love best about his writing, what you think I should pay more attention to… It will be very welcome.

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