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The Bear, Old Man, and Spotted Horses: Three Famous Short Novels
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The Bear, Old Man, and Spotted Horses: Three Famous Short Novels

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,510 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Three different ways to approach Faulkner, each of them representative of his work as a whole. Includes " Spotted Horses, " " Old Man, " and his famous " The Bear."
Library, 316 pages
Published February 1st 1958 by Perfection Learning (first published 1958)
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Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
"Courage and honor and pride, and pity and love of justice and of liberty. They all touch the heart, and what the heart holds to become truth, as far as we know truth."
The story of a boy, Isaac, who joins a hunting party for several summers, trying to kill Old Ben, an almost immortal and huge bear, a kind of a legend and a symbol of the power and the balance of nature. Seven times Isaac sees it, and once he forgives its life, forming a kind of unspoken tie with each other. Sam Fathers, a
Alec Sieber
Spotted Horses felt a little padded and boring, but had some amusing parts. Old Man was much more interesting, although admittedly a little rambling.

The Bear, however, is a goddam masterpiece, rightfully praised. It surely belongs in an elevated position along with the rest of Faulkner's great works. For the most part, Faulkner is working in familiar territory, evoking the death of his beloved South. However, I'm not sure if he ever hit this issue in such a direct or emotionally engaging manner
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think hunters are assholes
Recommended to smetchie by: Newsweek
I only read "The Bear"(and only half of that) but goodreads doesn't have just "The Bear" alone, without "Spotted Horses" and "Old Man" and neither did the library so what can I do?

I adored the first half of "The Bear", which gave me a whole new perspective on hunting, but then it got all philosophical about the environment and I lost interest. Ironic since I picked this up based on it's inclusion on Newsweek's list of 50 books for our time and it made that list because of it's importance as an
Matthew Towles
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I envy few author's vocabularies more than I do Faulkner's.
Fyza Jazra
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Bear' was my fourth Faulkner novel in eight weeks! It contains many passages that highlight Faulkner's sheer brilliance as a prose writer. The story starts with a simplistic plot of a boy (Ike McCaslin) participating in a ritual to reach manhood; but then divulges into many other critical American themes such as race, slavery, investigating the past, exploring the wilderness, etc.

The novella's five sections were formerly published separately in different journals and were finally combined
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read The Bear - the first time I've read any Faulkner since my 20s (when I read him extensively). I was too young to appreciate his writing properly then, I think - too literal and too uptight in my reading. I used to love the atmosphere and the dynamism of much of the writing, but I don't think it really came properly alive for me.

Now, 20-plus years later, reading The Bear, I can see all the pluses and pitfalls of my Faulkner reading compressed into 100 or so pages, but I can sit back from
Three Famous Short Novels by William Faulkner did not let me down. Old Man made my eyes water but, The Bear turned the faucet on (if that makes sense?). Faulkner has not let me down yet.
Katie R. Herring
19 October | I've just finished The Bear. I liked it-- I was reminded of Gary Paulsen and Godforbid-- Why Are We In Vietnam. And then part 4 happened and I was lost and there were no periods and no capitalization and I'm sorry but I like format and I just didn't get it that was not simple-- why do people say Faulkner is simple?

This was my first introduction to Faulkner and I can't say it was very good-- I'm planning on finishing this little anthology-- but I doubt I'll like those better.

28 Octob
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Blimey! That was an adult's portion. I loved it but boy are you made to work for it? The first story had me chuckling in a way I can't remember doing to Faulkner. "Hey!" I thought, "I've got used to his style". The second story made me do a little more work. It also made me laugh from time to time on this odyssey. I got a sense that both Cormac McCarthy and the Coen Brothers had read this one. So much humanity. So much feeling. Such magnificent use of prose. The Bear is a monster. The rules of g ...more
Jade Lopert
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
So, clearly this is actually three separate novellas in one volume. So to break it down:

Spotted Horses is a comedic tale. Honestly, it fell a little flat for me. It dragged quite a bit, but as "slice of life" it wasn't entirely bad. 2/5

Old Man is at heart an adventure tale and a tale of struggling to survive when everything has been provided for you. There's a cautionary tale of how the prison system from time immemorial has only prepared prisoners to be prisoners. 3/5

The Bear is the real gem in
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading these three novels was an interesting experience; there were times when I felt compelled to throw the book against the wall, and other times when I felt close to appreciating what it was that granted Faulkner the status his name enjoys. This was the first book of his I have read, and it took discipline to read the entire thing. He bends the rules of punctuation and seems to enjoy writing paragraphs that last 2-3 pages without break. At times it's beautiful; at other times it's infuriatin ...more
It was interesting yet confusing, the way it jumped from past to middle to present. I did not know if or when he talking at age 10yrs or 16yrs or 80yrs old. I liked it very much and would mostly read it again.
Meredith Cenzer
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, these are great excerpts, but it is patently false to call these "Famous short novels"; these are chunks taken out of famous novels. This should really be advertised more prominently on this collection.

That said, they are all excellent and do stand alone successfully.
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I still read this guy for pleasure, how could you not. Not many people write the way this man did, and though it is not easy writing to get through, the rewards are more than worth it... The Bear is my new favorite work of his
Prasad GR
In my first reading of Faulkner, found him quite turgid. The narrative is absolutely intense. Now for his longer works..
Michelle Ogburn
Jan 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Does the man understand the use of periods and paragraphs?
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-the-south
My favorite Faulkner story. "A Rose for Emily" is unforgettable, too.
John Lucy
As far as my reading challenge for this year goes, I wish I could count each one of these as one book. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of Faulkner to begin with and none of these stories did much for me. Spotted Horses has some funny bits but in the end, as far as I see it, is just a tragic recital of society's mistreatment of women; The Bear could have been good but Faulkner goes experimental on us (yes, I know, just as the young man is learning who he is and that makes sense but I don't lik
Spotted Horses... a Texan has a bunch of wild horses and he sells two and gives away the rest. Then they escape while the purchasers are trying to catch them and all hell breaks loose. Then there's a lawsuit for damages and the woman gets ownership of the wild horse, if she can catch him I guess.

Old's about convicts and a flood. And of course, one naturally gets away in the commotion and is presumed dead. But he actually ends up in a boat with a pregnant woman who labors in the boat. T
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Faulkner can be difficult to get through. The language, cadence, punctuation ( and lack of ) all created a path of knee-deep mud that gave little purchase and only occasionally provided enough dry land to establish some forward mobility. Enough at times to keep me reading to the end of each of these three novellas. I wish I could say I enjoyed the journey; I wish I could say I knew exactly the path we took to arrive. I had read Faulkner's major works years ago so wasn't unprepared but I struggle ...more
Daniel Klawitter
"All life consists of having to get up sooner or later and then having to lie down again sooner or later after a while."

"A mule will work for you ten years for the privilege of kicking you once."

Both the quotes above come from the story/novella "Old Man", my favorite of this collection.

I tend to agree with Ernest Hemingway, who said of Faulkner in a letter in 1952: "I enjoy reading him when he is good but always feel like hell that he is not better."
T.E. Antonino
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
William Faulkner is one of Americas most celebrated authors. I believe everyone should read something by this author. I personally had some disconnect with Faulkner's writing style, but I do honor him for his accomplishments as an author. I enjoy reading books from literary masters like Faulkner. Happy reading.
Edwin Martin
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To break up the three stories, Spotted would rate only 2*, Old Man 4* and The Bear also 4*. The Bear might warrant a 5 star if I could read Cliff Notes to explain and then read through the confusing section again where "he" as an adult is talking with his cousin McCaslin about their ancestors.
Peter Metcalfe
Interesting Stories but not the best
Gary Baughn
There were many moments of pleasure reading this collection, but Faulkner's style makes you work for those moments. His descriptions, his compaction of a person's or a place's history into one very long sentence, his changing of nouns into adjectives and vice versa, all that you expect of Faulkner are here, but also the maddening inability to let one read without making one guess constantly who the subject of this long sentence is and when and where are we in time and space.
I have given up on se
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection (particularly The Bear) initiated me into the wonderful world of William Faulkner back in high school. At the time I was not sure what drew me to this thick description of a bear hunt in Yoknapatawpha county, but as I've aged and read (and re-read) Faulkner, I realize that it is the stark beauty of his prose and his ability to delve deeply into characterization and the mysteries of coming of age. Not much happens in the story, as it turns out, but the characters are forever burne ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spotted horses
my impression: stunning prose, increadible observation, the spectrum of mankind

The Bear
for Ike, represents both the primal force of nature as well as the unbridled freedom, the indomitable independence, of the human spirit. Hunting, therefore, is analogous to man's attempt to control nature. His decision not to kill the bear is a moral choice rooted in his veneration of nature, as well as his desire to break free from the heritage that haunts
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
My dad told me this story about when he was in the Navy, before he was married to mother, when he a few of his ship-mates were on leave somewhere in Europe. Naturally, they ended up in a bar, drinking and hitting on women and what-not. One of his buddies in particular scored big by attracting the attention of a tall, beautiful, blond girl. They hit it off pretty quick, and as one thing leads to another, they eventually find their way to a more secluded area of the bar. At this point, my dad says ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough to rate as it's a collection of three stories.

"Spotted Horses" feels very embryonic, with Faulkner spending the bulk of the story establishing characters and elaborating on the wild and untameable nature of the titular horses, as if in preparation for a larger story. However, after all of that set-up, he rushes through the brief second (and final) chapter with an uncharacteristically ham-handed bit of preaching on the vulnerability of poor, ignorant and uneducated folk in the rural South.

Anthony Meaney
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one as part of my "goal" to read some Faulkner since he is so widely regarded. But at the same time his writing style is somewhat challenging so I was looking for a book that was fairly straightforward to "ease into him".

This was a good choice. There are three novels contained here and they have all appeared in other works - Old Man for instance was published in the book "Wild Palms" and The Bear is from "Go Down Moses" so if you've read those books you've read these already.

I was
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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 about William Faulkner...