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As I Lay Dying

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  83,961 ratings  ·  4,143 reviews

“I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall.” —William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother

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Mass Market Paperback, 250 pages
Published February 1964 by Vintage (first published 1930)
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Edward Darl's perceptions of his family and the world are one of Faulkner's primary focuses in AILD. As you get further in, you'll realize that he is the…moreDarl's perceptions of his family and the world are one of Faulkner's primary focuses in AILD. As you get further in, you'll realize that he is the primary narrator and the development of his character is crucial to what the book is trying to say, thematically speaking. It's my opinion that Faulkner wanted his readers to see how Darl would have imagined his mother's death, rather than the actual event, because it is more revealing of Darl's character. Other readers and critics believe that Darl's acute sensitivity to others and his surroundings borders on omniscience: that it is merely part of his character. Also, Darl may be a sort-of stand-in character for Faulkner himself, and, thus, is burdened with the actual truth of the narrative. No answer is definitive, and all are probably correct. Obscuring narrative certainty was a hallmark characteristic of Faulkner's writing, as well as many other Modernists, and is usually a reflection of the time's philosophy that truth lays beyond man's limited, individual perspective.(less)
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Community Reviews

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AmyAmy
I know you're "supposed to" love this book because it's Faulker, but I HATED IT! I know you're "cool" and "intelligent" if you read Faulkner, but I can't stand him. Sorry, I don't know what he's talking about (and at the risk of sounding immodest, I am bright). I DON'T think it's cool and "hip" to write in a confusing manner, and I don't try to impress others by liking ambiguity. I had my fill in college with snobs who pretended to like this stuff. Sorry I sound harsh here (I'm really a nice per ...more
Bram
Without straying from his inimitable voice, Faulkner delivers a more professional, calculated effort here than with his novel of the year prior, The Sound and the Fury. There are more novel-y aspects to As I Lay Dying, and Faulkner emerges as the master of the slow- or late-reveal, which might be described as reverse-foreshadowing. As an example, Faulkner will provide a character scene that’s fraught with emotion and history and meaning, but he won't explain the context. There’s dramatic electri ...more
Nicholas Armstrong
"And since sleep is is-not and rain and wind are was, it is not. Yet the wagon is, because when the wagon is was, Addie Bundren will not be. And Jewel is, so Addie Bundren must be. And then I must be, or I could not empty myself for sleep in a strange room. And so if I am not emptied yet, I am is."
............ There are people who actually like this?

Seriously though, I'm pretty sure I get it, I just don't like it. There is a family and each one is a reflection of a way of living, or in some case
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Matt
I'm no copyright lawyer, but it seems like Faulkner's estate could have sued the hell out of the makers of National Lampoon's Vacation. There is the obvious corpse-carting similarity, but I can almost hear the familiar refrain of Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road" bleed into the scene of the Bundren's fateful river crossing. (Pre)DMCA violations were definitely afoot, at least in spirit.

This is the book for those who find Faulkner's other well known works to be intimidating. As I Lay Dying deli
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
I was more or less bullied into reading this, and I still ended up loving it (after I got over the pharmacy scene, which made me want to punch-punch, though I acknowledge that was the point). My admittance of this book's awesome should stand for something considering I's tubborn as a *ahem* mule, and had for no particularly sound (or honestly even remotely thought out) reason been somewhat avoiding Faulkner for years. Okay, not really avoiding, just ehhhhh. That said, it turned out to be exactly ...more
Ademption
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT HICKS THEY GO TO TOWN
Alisha
Jun 11, 2008 Alisha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like linguistics
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Aside from the fact that the title is taken from a line in "Agamemnon" (which makes it already unbearably cool) this is a breathtaking book. It took me about four chapters to get used to Faulker's style of writing- the dialects, the chapters each being from another character's perspective, his way of having no narration so you have to figure out what is going on from the half-conversations the characters have themselves... but god, once I adjusted, I was completely floored. This is a beautiful, ...more
RandomAnthony
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt
I've noticed that, in the past couple years (and maybe this has to do with workshop in some oblique psychological way?), the books that move me and linger in me the most are ones that I have a rather contentious relationship with at first. And that's definitely what happened here. For the first half of the book, I just wanted old Billy F to write something that MADE SENSE and was UNDERSTANDABLE. The language obscured the characters, and so I found myself unable to distinguish one from another, t ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is the second book I've read by William Faulkner. My first, Intruder in the Dust, was assigned me in high school and was my introduction both to Faulkner and to the stream-of-consciouness technique. It wasn't a happy experience in either respect. Now, soon after tackling Joyce's Ulysses, considered the epitome of stream-of-consciousness literature, I finally read As You Lay Dying, which had been sitting on my bookshelf for who knows how long. It's a much easier read than Ulysses, but I'm af ...more
Barry Pierce
Faulkner has chewed me up and spat me out with absolutely no remorse. Reading this is like being chastised by the big scary teacher when you were six for accidentally having fun.

I personally had no problem with Faulkner's prose but I can see where people have problems. I really enjoyed the constant changing perspective. It's a really interesting narrative device that I haven't seen employed in any other book that I've read. It makes the novel really unique and memorable.

This isn't really a plo
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Fahad
بينما أرقد محتضرة

حصلت على أول راوية لفوكنر وأنا في المرحلة الثانوية، كانت من سلسلة نوبل التي تصدرها المدى، ومن ترجمة جبرا إبراهيم جبرا وبعنوان (الصخب والعنف)، لم أكن أعرف فوكنر حينها، ولكن جائزة نوبل جعلته مثيراً في عيني.

قلبت كياني (الصخب والعنف)، كانت شيئاً لم اقرأه من قبل، رواية كتبت بذكاء، وبروح حقيقية، وكانت ولازالت تتصدر قائمة الروايات التي أرغب في إعادة قراءتها مراراً مستمتعاً ومتعلماً.

ورغم شهرة فوكنر، وأستاذيته على جيل من الروائيين الأمريكيين والأمريكيين الجنوبيين إلا أنه مظلوم في التر
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Joel
I respect Faulkner, but I can't say I love him. Still, this book was something. What that something was, I'm still figuring out.

The novel tells the story of the Bundren family in their quest to bury their recently deceased (well, she's alive but on her death bed when the story opens) mother, Addie. And if you thought your family was dysfunctional, you haven't read enough Faulkner yet. Think turn of the century white trash and you're getting close. The Bundrens are a muddled mass of secrets, lies
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Kim

I'm glad I decided to approach Faulkner through audiobooks. Had I not done so, it's possible that I would have abandoned his writing early on, defeated by its inherent difficulty. As it is, in each of the novels I've tackled so far - this one, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury - I've been able to first engage with the narrative through the voices of the characters and the rhythm of their speech. Hearing their voices led me into their lives.

One of the things that stru
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Mike Puma
As I Lay Dying is one of those titles that all readers of literary fiction get to sooner or later—for good reasons. Not only is it one of Faulkner’s most accessible titles, it is also very quickly read and less dark than some of his other work; some of the novel’s developments are, however, told with black comedy/gallows humor.

As there are plenty of title summaries available here, I’m not going to bore readers with another one. I would, however, like to speak to some of the negative criticism t
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Rosana
I did love this book. Love may be the wrong word, as I was enthralled by it as much as I was sickened by the madness and destitution of those characters’ lives.

What are the bones of our humanity? I am talking about the frame of emotions and feelings of our being, and that if we had to bare all that was not the most essential in ourselves, what would be left in that skeleton of humanity? I think that what is left is very hard and ugly: hate, disdain, disgust, incest, isolation, avarice, betrayal
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Paul
This was the first novel I read in college, and I've taught it three times since then, probably read it at least 7-8 times by now. The characters are so implacably strange, and their journey so painful and ridiculous at the same time. It's actually a very blackly humorous book, and the humor comes out more and more with each reading. Faulkner at his best.
Jason
i'm re-reading a lot of this for my thesis...Vardaman and the extended metaphor of the mother/fish are sort of the jumping off point for what i'm doing...
the more i look into this text the more i realize how carefully Faulkner was when he wrote it...almost every word is packed with significance...
it's very concentrated...
i read once that he wrote it in a very short time, with very few re-writes...i wonder of that's accurate...it seems far too artful to have been conceived off the cuff...but i'm
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Ginny_1807
Ancora una volta
Una storia impervia e dissacrante, tragica e al tempo stesso grottesca, che sconcerta per la spietata lucidità con la quale disseziona i sentimenti e traccia il percorso di esistenze senza scelta e senza speranza, irrimediabilmente votate alla solitudine più cupa.
L’epico viaggio della famiglia Bundren alla volta di Jefferson, con la bara di Addie precariamente trasportata su un vecchio carro sgangherato, più che un atto d’amore o di dedizione volto a esaudire le ultime volontà d
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Ahmad Sharabiani
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
عنوان: گور به گور؛ نویسنده: ویلیام فاکنر؛ مترجم: نجف دریابندری؛
نجف دریابندری؛ در یادداشتی مینویسد: «گور به گور» عنوانیست که من روی این رمان گذاشتهام، زیرا نتوانستهام عنوان اصلی آن را به عبارتی که خود بپسندم به فارسی درآورم. «همچون که دراز کشیده بودم و داشتم میمُردم» کوتاهترین عبارتی است که به نظر من معنای عنوان اصلی را دقیقاً بیان میکند. پایان نقل، این که از ترجمه عنوان کتاب، لابد برگرداندن متن اصلی به متن فارسی هم، چنین دشوار بوده، گویا، باید متن انگلیسی و فارسی
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Chrissie
A one star means you don't like the book. This book is not just bad; it is terrible.

It is confusing. Sure you will understand what happens, but is that why you read a book, to know step by step what happens? You are lucky if you understand how all the characters are related. You will need this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_I_Lay...

The characters - white trash. Even if you initially try to understand each character's personality, by the end you realize understanding these people is not w
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Mary
There were a couple of things that I think hindered me from enjoying this as much as I could have, or should have.

The gazillion character point of views frustrated the hell out of me. Especially since most of the characters were indistinguishable from each other. Multiple character point of views can be interesting and strengthen a story, here I found that since most of them sounded the same and said the same things it was redundant. So what if Faulkner was the first, or one of the first, to wr
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colleen
Nov 18, 2007 colleen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Contains what is quite possibly my favorite passage in all of literature. Darl musing:
"In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you were filled with sleep, you never were. I dont know what I am. I dont know if I am or not. Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he doesnt not know whether he is or not. He cannot empty himself for sleep because he is not what he is a
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Agnieszka
It's my "first" Faulkner.Of course I've heard about him earlier ,a Nobel prizewinner ,Pulitzer , one of the most recognizable american authors . Of course I was trying read him before but he always seemed to me too difficult.But now I'm suprised how this book was a good read. Maybe because of narration ? The story is told in stream of consciousness . We get to know the story of death and burial Addie Bundren from several diffrent persons: her children ,husband ,doctor , neighbours and even altho ...more
Momina Masood
I really don't know what to say. This book might easily be one of the most insane things I have ever read. The dysfunctional family in this novel even outmatches the one in The Sound and the Fury, though there are many parallels between the two, especially the similarities between Anse and Mrs. Compson. Where Caddy remains completely or partially hidden and remains elusive in The Sound and the Fury, we have an almost similar role played by Addie Bundren. Though she still gets one POV chapter to ...more
Duffy Pratt
I absolutely loved this book when I read it as a college freshman, so much that I was a little anxious before rereading it. Sometimes books don't hold up under rereading. Other times, we change so much that the book itself seems to have changed as a result. So I was pleasantly surprised that this book, one of my favorites back then, has actually improved on rereading.

Faulkner rolls horror, comedy and tragedy all into one and crams almost the full range of human experience into this small group o
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Chris
Jun 06, 2008 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sue
Feb 25, 2013 Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of American fiction
Well Faulkner has done it again, left me wondering what to say, actually what to think, about theis book, about the Bundren family and their "quest"---a most unromantic quest at that, to bury their mother Addie. There are some comic moments but they are so overwhelmed for me by pathos, ignorance and near tragedy, that I rarely smiled and then only ruefully.

Anse the father with no capacity beyond his desire for new teeth. Darl the disturbed. Cash the damaged. Jewel the different. Vardaman the chi
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Carolyn Gerk
Faulkner described this book, very pretentiously, I might add, as his 'tour de force', by which he would either 'stand or fall'. Can we cue up the cartoon whistling sound when someone falls from the edge of a cliff? And maybe follow it up with a dramatic 'splat!'.
It is awfully hard to identify with a book whose characters seem to be unforgivably ridiculous. There are many references to the character Anse's constant 'misfortune'. Seems to me that he and his children deserve everything they get. T
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Michael
As I Lay Dying is a classic American novel that was written by William Faulkner. This book follows the journey of fifteen different characters as they set out to fulfil the wishes of the recently deceased Addie Bundren; which is to be buried in Jefferson. Faulkner shifts between the fifteen narrators throughout book; one of them is even the deceased; who is expressing her thoughts from the coffin. As the book continues you can see the characters develop with each narrator’s perceptions and opini ...more
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William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.
The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as earl
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More about William Faulkner...
The Sound and the Fury Light in August Absalom, Absalom! A Rose for Emily Go Down, Moses

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“I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.” 453 likes
“He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn't need a word for that any more than for pride or fear....One day I was talking to Cora. She prayed for me because she believed I was blind to sin, wanting me to kneel and pray too, because people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.” 266 likes
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