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As I Lay Dying

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  105,505 Ratings  ·  5,166 Reviews
Alternate cover edition: here

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. Told in turns by each of the family members—including Addie herself—the novel ranges in mood from dark comedy to the deepest pathos.
Paperback, Book Club Edition, 267 pages
Published January 30th 1991 by Vintage Books / Random House (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)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Alexa Like Cash says towards the end of the novel, it is mostly other people's perceptions that determine whether someone is mad. It is also stated that…moreLike Cash says towards the end of the novel, it is mostly other people's perceptions that determine whether someone is mad. It is also stated that Darl is sent to Jackson because the Gillespies will sue the Bundren family if they do not do something about Darl, who they know is responsible for burning down their barn, which remember is a very serious crime in this time period & region.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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AmyAmy
Aug 27, 2008 AmyAmy rated it did not like it
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
Nicholas Armstrong
Mar 11, 2012 Nicholas Armstrong rated it did not like it
"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
...more
Bram
Feb 13, 2010 Bram rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
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
Paul Bryant
Nov 25, 2015 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Once you get past the ungainly oddness and wild strangeness which assails you from every direction, then you can see the weirdness which lies beyond.

The story, and there is a very strong clear linear narrative here, is wonderfully stupid. A back country family in Mississippi in the 20s has their dear mama Addie Bundren up and die on them and the lazy-ass sumbitch daddy thinks he then has to carry out her settled dying wish which, very unreasonably, was to get buried with her own kin 40 miles aw
...more
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it it was amazing
I am feeling totally inadequate to the task of reviewing this book. It's only the second Faulkner I've read, and while I enjoyed Absalom, Absalom, it didn't quite utterly astound me the way this one did.

I was expecting the run-on sentences and outright rejection of periods that I found in the first book. Instead, I found short little chapters, and voices that spoke in terse sentences that only hinted at what lay beneath.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes
...more
Ademption
Sep 10, 2010 Ademption rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, classics
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT HICKS THEY GO TO TOWN
Matt
Jul 17, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Duane
Unmistakingly Faulkner. A unique writing style combined with a sad and haunting story. You may read Faulkner and say when you are finished, "I didn't like that", but you will never forget what you read.

Reread Sept. 2016
Anne Collini
Sep 23, 2016 Anne Collini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, classic
“Before us the thick dark current runs.”
~ Darl*

“Life sucks, and then you die.”
~ Cerebral Fix**

We’re all dying.

So, do we meekly submit to the futility and suffering of this hard human lot or do we rise and rail with pride and vanity against the final hungry desolation with every spark of vitality coursing through our heated veins?

Or—quietly finagle to get what we’re wanting?

What makes one good?

“The reason for living is to get ready to be dead a long time.”***

Addie Bundren died. She lived
...more
Parthiban Sekar
“I can remember how when I was young I believed Death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind - and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.”


Death brings out the best and the worst in the families. The deceased doesn’t just escape our reality but changes the way we look at
...more
Fabian
Dec 13, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing
This thrilling, chilling tale is told through a schizm. The conglomeration of different consciousnesses is a bubbling soup mixed in with dark symbols and Southern Gothic elements, and it is indeed a delightful experience, an overly-delicious dish. The macabre is alive; this prose palpitates.

This is waayyy more accessible than, say, "The Sound and the Fury" and for those who have strayed away from this darling writer, this particular masterpiece will immediately put him or her in Faulkner's dire
...more
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
Alisha
Jun 11, 2008 Alisha rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 29, 2010 RandomAnthony rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
فرشاد
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Perry
Jun 08, 2016 Perry rated it it was amazing
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
By and By, Lord, by and by?
Is a better home awaiting
In the sky, Lord, in the sky?

... Habershon, 1907 (adapted/recorded by The Carter Family).
[4.5 stars]

This 1930 novel is truly unique in structure being narrated via the stream of consciousness of 15 characters over 59 chapters, each of which begins with the narrating character's name. The story follows the trials and tribulations of the Bundren family in Jefferson County, Mississippi, in taking their mom/wife Addie by
...more
Foad
May 04, 2016 Foad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
همه "خشم و هیاهو" رو به عنوان اثر اصلی ویلیام فاکنر حساب می کنن. ولی بشخصه، از این داستان خیلی بیشتر از خشم و هیاهو لذت بردم. شیوه ی روایت، با تکه پاره های ذهنی افراد مختلف که گاه باید تلاش می کردی تا بفهمی راوی کیه و چه اتفاقی داره میفته، خیلی بهتر از تک گویی طولانی و کمابیش حوصله سر بر بنجی عقب مانده و کوئنتین روان پریش بود. توی هر دو رمان، نویسنده آدم رو به یه بازی دعوت میکنه: "اگه گفتی چی دارم میگم؟" و توی این رمان، این بازی هیجان انگیزتره و آدم انگیزه ی بیشتری برای حلّ این پازل داره.
و ترجمه
...more
Matt
May 30, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing
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
Poncho
Mar 07, 2016 Poncho rated it it was amazing
About a year ago a friend of mine got me this job in which I had to work for some sociologists who made researches about Mexican immigrants in the US. Basically, my job was to transcribe their recorded interviews, which I personally found pretty enjoyable — it was like listening to all those life stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes a blend of both. So the task was entertaining and the pay was good. However, like any job, it had some difficulties at first. I got to rea ...more
Cheryl
May 19, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Deliciously, artfully strange...

When a book makes you ponder each page, the meander in narrative style and closeness (because this is not only stream of consciousness narration), the bend in style and language, the oddly berserk characters, yes - strangely beautiful.
Mike Puma
Sep 23, 2010 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Joel
Sep 14, 2008 Joel rated it liked it
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
...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
Lyn
Jan 16, 2017 Lyn rated it liked it
"My mother is a fish."

Faulkner's short novel about a rural family following the death of their matriarch. Funny, disturbing, maddening, thought provoking, and mysterious.

I have never been a big fan of stream of consciousness ( thus I have never finished The Sound and the Fury) and Faulkner does well to limit that technique here. He does employ multiple narrators, varying perspectives, themes and an eclectic narration.

I cannot help thinking this is a thin, minimalistic American version of War
...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
...more
فهد الفهد
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
...more
Kim
Feb 28, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
...more
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 گذاشته ام، زیرا نتوانسته ام 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 فار
...more
Chrissie
Feb 19, 2016 Chrissie rated it did not like it
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
...more
Mary
Apr 06, 2012 Mary rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2012
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
...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
...more
More about William Faulkner...

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“I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.” 503 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.” 341 likes
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