K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
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's review
Aug 08, 2009

really liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Must Read Books Before You Die
Recommended for: Tata J
Read in November, 2009

This is my first book of William Faulkner - one of the greatest American novelist. I am not giving him a 5-star rating because this is one of the hardest-to-read novels since I started my reading obsession a year back. Normally, it takes me only up to 20 pages for me to adjust to the rhythm of the novelist for his characters to form life. However, I was already on page 40 and I could not understand what I was reading. I had to Google the book to know that the chapter titles are actually the names of the Bundren children narrating the stories.

Maybe I also had lots of distractions as I read this in my second (and final) week of stay here in Columbus, Ohio. I actually picked this book because I wanted to enjoy the being in the USA (reading an American author while in America). I mostly read this before going to bed and it took me four nights finishing just a 250+ not densely written book.

The story is about burying a mother whose last wish is for her corpse to be laid in her own hometown. The mother had 5 children. Cash, the eldest who is a carpenter and whose broken leg was cemented. Darl, the second who narrated most of the 49 chapters. Jewel, who is the result of the mother's illicit affair with a reverend. Dewey Dell, the only girl and who got pregnant out of wedlock and Vardamain, the youngest who refused to belive that his mother is dead ("My mother is a fish" he says).

The voices who narrated are distinct from each other. I read somewhere that it was a fad during that time in American literature but I found it interested (I had never seen anything like that before this). There were full of grammatical mistakes and vague statements. However, I also read that Faulkner's intention is not to directly inform the reader but to present the thoughts playing in the mind of its characters just like when you are alone in the elevator. Faulkner did this very effectively.

I was able to relate my own late father to that of Anse (the husband of the mother) who refused to work because he if perspire, he will will die. When I was growing up, my father most of the time did not work because he was asthmatic and he tired out easily. Despite that, Anse was a loving father and so was my dad.

This book is among the 1001 Must Read Books Before You Die and William Faulker is a Nobel Prize for Literature awardee just like my favorites John Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. However, I am ranking him lower than those two because I was able to enjoy The Grapes of Wrath and One Hundred Years of Solitude which are those two authors' magnum opuses. I read somewhere also that William Faulker calls this novel (his fifth, as his magnum opus but I am not yet convinced that he is in the same ranking as Steinbeck and G.G. Marquez. He is more of a Hemingway type (with those dream sequences) to me.
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Reading Progress

11/10/2009 page 145

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Sino ba itong Letendre na ito na katakottakot na panay to read ang pinapadala?

Mukha ngang mahirap intindihin itong libro na ito kasi kahit yung summary mo mahirap intindihin! Ang intention kamo nung author is to present ? Papano malalaman nung author kung ano yung nasa isip ng reader?

Hindi ako makabasang maigi ngayon, daming ka-chess, he,he. Trying to read Warped Passages: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions. Pero di ko maintindihan.

K.D. Absolutely William Faulkner's style is just to write what he thought was in the mind of the character. For example, kung nagiisa ka at naglalakad, madalas may iniisip ka di ba? Yan ang sinulat nya doon sa novel in most of its parts.

message 3: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah oh kd. It's really a difficult read. Quite a challenge.

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