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Mosquitoes

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  808 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Mosquitoes centers around a colorful assortment of passengers, out on a boating excursion from New Orleans. The rich and the aspiring, social butterflies and dissolute dilettantes are all easy game for Faulkner's barbed wit in this engaging high-spirited novel which offers a fascinating glimpse of Faulkner as a young artist."It approaches in the first half and reaches in ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 17th 1996 by Liveright (first published 1927)
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Average rating 3.12  · 
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Richard Derus
Rating: 3* of five

I was underwhelmed by Faulkner's second novel. Not that it's a *bad* book, it's just...well, I can't say it better than this:

"Joyce's masterwork ULYSSES (which I don't much like) "inspired" Uncle Bill to put in a lot of sex-talk, including *gasp* explicitly lesbian desires!! Maud Martha, bring the sal volatile and loosen my stays, the wimminfolk are runnin' amok!"

See the whole sorry mess at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
Stuart
May 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Even with a whiskey chaser this is not exactly a page turner. The characters seem like rejects from a Tennessee Williams play who've forgotten how to talk. Faulkner is so in love with the sound of his own voice that he can't seem to write character dialogue. He also repeats himself repeats himself in a fashion that I'm sure he meant to be Homeric, but which is simply annoying. And speaking of all things Homeric, has this guy got a crush on James Joyce or what? I understand that Ulysses was all ...more
Tyler Crumrine
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unpopular opinion: Mosquitoes is actually my favorite Faulkner novel. It may not have the same "gravity of human experience" as his other works, but in it we find Faulkner as comedian attempting to explore and express his views on "serious art." And he does a fantastic job. Hugely entertaining and genuinely insightful, it's repeatedly the Faulkner novel I most look forward to reading again and again.
Mallory
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mallory by: Ian Phillips
I'm giving this book a five star rating because at first and superficial glance it will make me look smart because I liked a book by Falkner finally. I'm supposed to because I live in New Orleans, right?

I don't know if it was a bad book because it took me five months to read as all the characters were so hateful and unbearable to be around for long periods of time or if it was a good book because Faulkner got me engaged enough to want to torture and kill all of the sniveling pieces on that boat.
...more
J.M. Hushour
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Analyzing Faulkner is a bloated, rubbery thing, and when it gets to the point where the study of an artist becomes an industry (only slightly worse than an author becoming an industry) it's time to step back and just read their goddamn books. I know little about Faulkner and don't really need to to enjoy his works. I've been reading them spottily and out-of-time but decided to hunker down after reading the biggies and read all of them in order. Pleasantly surprised at both "Soldier's Pay" and ...more
Adrian Alvarez
As a disconnected and individual book, this one wasn't very good. However, in the context of Faulkner's artistic development (particularly juxtaposed with Soldiers' Pay), Mosquitoes is a very interesting read. Here, the young writer maintained his social interest in the characters inhabiting his world but compounded them with a much more elaborate and ambitious intellectual project. At times, sure, this came off as overly engineered and trying to hard, but the fact that he was even interested in ...more
Mat
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
A largely overlooked semi-masterpiece

This was one of the easiest and most pleasant books by William Faulkner that I have ever read. It contains the typically unforgettable, i.e. singular Faulknerian characters, is influenced heavily by Joyce's emphasis on sexual themes, and features some of the most devastatingly sardonic humour in it I have ever come across. In parts, it is also rather blatantly misogynistic.

The storyline of Mosquitoes centres around a yacht expedition of various artists, cads
...more
Sean Thomas Sullivan
This is my first five star review and I have read some really amazing books! Faulkner sets himself apart via his mastery of language, story telling, dialog, and character development.He never misses a step. About a chapter and a half into the read i thought, "This is why my mother thinks I can't write!" And I am OK with needing to work to aspire to Faulkner.
Illiterate
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Artists are sterile windbags and blood-sucking parasites. Ah, but true art is...
Katharine Yvonne
Jul 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
To be honest, it has been awhile since I've read this book. But I felt the need to put up on my list with the other amazing works of fiction I've read lately. I am a pretty big Faulkner fan, but I grew tired with the similarities between most of his better known books.

Mosquitoes is a breath of fresh air after reading Faulkner's other works--not because he isn't an incredible writer, but because it is more Fitzgerald-like than it is Faulkner-like. I vividly recall the characters eating
...more
DaveB
There are a few really beautiful parts to this book. But mostly I was bored. Because perhaps the only thing more boring than people talking about art is reading about people talking about art. And maybe thats the point. Because the only real artist in the book doesn't talk about it. He just does.
Chip
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a good book. Not Faulkner's best book by a mile. But a good book nonetheless.

Some glimpses at the brilliance to come are littered throughout a Felliniesque tale of Bohemians and the idle rich aboard a boat in New Orleans. Characters aside from the two young girls, the old biddy, the older perv, and the sculptor are a bit interchangeable. For the life of me I will not ever remember the difference between Ayers, Fairchild, and "the Semitic Man", but no worries. What you're getting here is
...more
Ann Santori
Aug 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
This novel has so much . . . potential. There are beautiful images abounding, and fascinating insights into artistic philosophy. That being said, without much of a plot to hold it together and with a fair dash of prose experiments on Faulkner's part, Mosquitoes is a supremely difficult read. It's almost as if the reader is alternately drowning and then coming up for air each time Faulkner offers a reprieve in the form of one of his more skillful passages (the foray into New Orleans' swamps is ...more
Christopher Sutch
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it
A definite step backwards from his first novel. This one still contains some beautiful images and prose, but far too much pedantic talk about art and aesthetics (which is part of the point: "mosquitoes" being parasites, and none of the artists portrayed in the book producing a bit of art during the course of the book [with one exception], instead using their reputations to sponge off the rich and TALK about art...endlessly). This is notable for what is perhaps one of the first modern novels to ...more
Steve Gordon
Though slagged as Faulkner's worse novel by the all knowing academia, I actually found it to be a good read. It was far, far superior to Faulkner's first, Soldier's Pay. This reads much more like Faulkner in his prime. More a novel of ideas than anything else, it introduces us to some of his future favorite words like... "fecund." Sadly, "ratiocination" and "apotheosis" have yet to surface. As Faulkner himself references, this may perhaps be his ode to Balzac. And as another Facebook review ...more
Robert Schwab
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is Faulkner's second novel, and like most of his early writing, it is more accessible than some of his later, more experimental and modernist work. The writing here is much more nuanced than in his first novel, Soldier's Pay, and there are strong hints of what is to come in terms of style, but it is an entertaining narrative that reveals incredible talent for characterization and especially description. The story of a boat excursion is also a meditation on the role of art in society and in ...more
Adam
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa
Not the easiest book that I have ever read, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Mrs Maurier invites a number of artistic New Orleans folk to join her and some others on a cruise on her private yacht. Thus confined, numerous conversations, many of an elevated nature, occur along with much flirtation. Serious conversations in which the author explores the meaning of art are interspersed with sensuous descriptions of frustrated amorous adventures.

Though not an easy read, it made me want to read more of
...more
Jeff
Dec 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Drags in places. Not just because of Faulkner's long passages of stream of consciousness...though that is here too. But just because there's not really a story here. Faulkner is working out a lot of how he sees art and its purpose. And how he sees women...less than flatteringly. An interesting early novel. Better than the first one, but it's a big jump from this to The Sound and the Fury, two books later.
Tommy
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Was pretty scathing towards the rich, artists and what would today be called hipsters. Calling out the frivolity of their lives and prescribed roles they are called to fulfill.

Ultimately though it just felt uninspired. It plodded along, which after having lived in New Orleans, definitely gave a sense of the hot heavy summers, which sap everything out of you.

Not one of his best known works for a reason. Pass on this.
Bryan
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It's been a while since I've read it, but I thought it was just wonderful.

I suspect that this was near autobiographical to a young Faulkner, as most early works are, and therefore giving the reader personal insight into the man; much like Portrait was to Joyce.

The relationship between benefactor and artist, from the perspective of the artist, is laid out perfectly by all those blood sucking mosquitoes.

OK, it's no Absalom Absalom, but it's pretty damn good.
Crystal
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the only book I've read by William Faulkner, and to my understanding it is quite different from his other works, but I enjoyed it as a story. The characters serving as caricatures were consistently entertaining and the feelings evoked by the writing itself helped me to understand why Faulkner is considered such a quintessential Southern writer.
John Everett
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot better than it gets credit for. Reminiscent of Waugh and early Huxley. There are some brief Joycean moments that don't really work, but that prefigure more successful experimentation in later Faulkner novels. Not as good or ambitious as Sartoris, but far more accomplished and coherent than Soldiers' Pay.
Joe Davis
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Definite improvement over his first novel. The book contained the most humor of any Faulkner novel, which made it strange due to my past experiences with his writing. He starts to dabble with a bit more adventurous writing techniques that would become his halmark later on. All and all a pretty enjoyable read.
Materreads
Faulkner cracks me up with this wry light social commentary of southern gentility and how the spirit of beauty and life survives despite the characters accepting their stations in society. Loved the buzzing thread.
GS
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
MOSQUITOES represents the stagnation of an artist in the chase of Classical beauty due to the follies and freedoms of modern society. Faulkner uses a tedious yacht trip as a fermentation place for drawling, dragging, and even deluded dialogues about art, society, and gender that occasionally yield nuggets of wisdom. This talk of chauvinists and poseurs reveals their own failings, as well as those of art. More intriguing is the parallel development of flirtations on the ship which arise out of ...more
Chad
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The title of William Faulkner’s second novel refers to “a certain type of people: buzzing nonentities, boring idiots, stinging parasites.” Most of Mosquitoes takes place aboard the Nausikaa, a ship owned by Mrs. Maurier, a wealthy, insecure woman whose face conveys “dead, familiar astonishment.” Mrs. Maurier invites a few relatives and several acquaintances—none can be called friends—for a four-day excursion from New Orleans. The passengers include several artists and writers, and the male ...more
Johann Tabua
This is the first William Faulkner novel I have read, and I wish to read many more. "Mosquitoes" was slow to start (in my opinion), but as I struggled on - wrapping my brains around the euphemisms the writer employs - I became captivated with the party of characters on this yacht trip he describes.

Mrs. Patricia Maurier starts out being this haughty old lady who is overconfident in her observations of art and artists, and she transforms into this crushed old lady who is only just realizing that
...more
Laurie
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
“Mosquitoes” was the second novel Faulkner wrote. It’s a satire set in New Orleans, and while it’s amusing it’s not really laugh out loud funny. It’s a sort of “Ship of Fools” but with a smaller boat and possibly more foolish people.

A woman of means, Mrs. Maurier, who wields power in the art buying world, arranges a boat party for a few artists and writers. Her niece and nephew are also included, and they snag a couple of other people they’ve never even met before, right off the dock. This
...more
Jim
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
There is something inherently exciting about reading the early work of great writers, and I believe William Faulkner to be the greatest American writer of prose fiction for at least the last hundred years. Mosquitoes is considered by some to be his worst book. Yet it contains numerous signs of something better to come.

A number of New Orleans artistic types and others are invited on a yacht cruise on Lake Pontchartrain by the widow Mrs Maurier. All the males pursue Pat, the niece of the hostess,
...more
Danny Daley
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm not entirely sure how to feel about Mosquitoes. I absolutely love Faulkner's first novel, "Soldier's Pay," a more ideally structured melodrama with fascinating characters and beautiful images. This book is much more experimental, delving into the nature of art and human relationships, and like every other interesting experiment of the era, was modeled on the work of Eliot and Joyce, two of my favorite writers of all time. But, there is a lot missing in this novel. It has little heart and ...more
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The Bookhouse Boys: Mosquitoes Discussion 51 18 Nov 27, 2012 07:17PM  

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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 set in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as early
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“Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words.” 659 likes
“Forget grief. Only an idiot has no grief, and only a fool would forget it. What else is there in this world sharp enough to stick to your guts?” 2 likes
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