As I Lay Dying As I Lay Dying discussion


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As I Lay Dying

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message 1: by Ellen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Ellen We read this book for our book club several years ago. I was not in the best frame of mind at the time so I could not concentrate on this book at all and was completely lost. It generated a great discussion and at the time I made a commitment to try and read it again but I still haven't attempted it. Stream of consciousness writing is difficult for me. I also struggled with Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce and Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote.


Coco To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf is a great book which is also written in a similar manner.


message 3: by Pam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pam Ellen wrote: "We read this book for our book club several years ago. I was not in the best frame of mind at the time so I could not concentrate on this book at all and was completely lost. It generated a great..."

I also found the Southern dialect off-putting, but found the Wikipedia summary helpful in deciphering some of the cryptic references. It's worth trying again, slowly enough to enjoy the language and images.


message 4: by Thomas (new) - added it

Thomas Christopher This is by far one of my favorite books. I love all the dark humor, the multiple perspectives, the macabre circumstances, and the very flawed characters. I wish the Coen brothers would make a movie out of it.


Geoffrey Wow!Hadn`t thought about the Coen bros. doing a movie. I wonder what Burton could do with it. His folksy manner in the BIG FISH would do it well.


Will IV Coen Bros. would be a much better choice.


Will IV Burton doesn't do realism well.


Phillip Cushman This was one of the books I forced myself to finish. I don't regret doing so but it seemed like time passed at a snail's pace through the reading. Stream of consciousness is not my favorite read. I am a psychiatrist. Perhaps it is too close to work.


Timothy K. I've never thought that drilling into a dead woman's face with an old fashion hand auger could in fact be funny, until I read this book.


message 10: by J.R. (new) - rated it 3 stars

J.R. McLemore Once I finished reading this book, I didn't like it. Mainly, I blame Valdaman (I think that was the boy's name) for that. I didn't care for his wild stream of consciousness. I'm southern and I've read plenty of SOC stories. However, the thoughts that went through Valdaman's head sounded more like a schizophrenic than a traumatized child. Who thinks MY MOTHER'S A FISH? I mean, really? However, I loved how each of the chapters were told from a different character's POV. After I had time to digest the story and reflect, I realized I enjoyed it despite the young boy's rants. But, that's just my interpretation.


Laurie Berry Darl, darl, darl. Darl is not my brother, but maybe I knew Darl somewhere, sometime in my life. Darl did not go crazy in the wagon. Darl was trapped. Trapped in his brilliant mind. Trapped by the ignorant Bundren's. Yes yes yes yes yes. Darl finally figured out how to escape. Darl laughed.


Thaisa Frank One of the great things about this book to my mind was the sense of being nearly drowned in the Bundren family's world and then the shock of seeing them through the eyes of other people. I first read this book at the impressionable age of 13 and taught it in a graduate course on character a few years ago. It read as well. It's rare that a writer can tell a story from the perspective of different characters and achieve unity. Okay. I'll get off my soapbox!


Karen Thomas.christopher1 wrote: "This is by far one of my favorite books. I love all the dark humor, the multiple perspectives, the macabre circumstances, and the very flawed characters. I wish the Coen brothers would make a movie..."

James Franco has acquired the rights to produce the film version but as far as I can tell is WAY behind the schedule of starting in .


Karen Faulkner's multi perspective, stream of consciousness has seared into my mind's eye certain of the scenes in the book. Witnessing the mules (was it mules) tumbling down the stream over and over was both a horrifying and unforgettable reader experience.


message 15: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam This is one of my favorite books, but then again, Faulkner is one of my favorite authors. I usually get frustrated and bored with slow, drawling styles, but with Faulkner, I find it to be so much more interesting and helpful -- the slow, methodical pace he sets allows you time to process what he's writing better, esp. since he loves those long, complex sentences.

I usually try to read this once a year, along with Absalom! Absalom!, which is my absolute favorite by Faulkner.


message 16: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Bruen Timothy K. wrote: "However, the thoughts that went through Valdaman's head sounded more like a schizophrenic than a traumatized child. Who thinks MY MOTHER'S A FISH? I mean, really?"


I thought it was beautifully and painfully raw, comparing his dead mother to a fish. Who thinks MY MOTHER'S A FISH?? A young boy whose only other intimate dealings with death was with a fish. And just as the fish he had caught was manhandled and cut up, his mother's corpse is now a lump of stinking meat to be dealt with


Beth I didn't like As I Lay Dying and thought it was another example of a stupid book being called a classic.


message 18: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam Beth -- what about it did you find "stupid"?


Laurie Berry Eric wrote: "Timothy K. wrote: "However, the thoughts that went through Valdaman's head sounded more like a schizophrenic than a traumatized child. Who thinks MY MOTHER'S A FISH? I mean, really?"


I thought it..."


Eric wrote: "Timothy K. wrote: "However, the thoughts that went through Valdaman's head sounded more like a schizophrenic than a traumatized child. Who thinks MY MOTHER'S A FISH? I mean, really?"


I thought it..."


Eric, Thank you for that insight. Although there were many other aspects of the book that I did grasp, I was still struggling with the analogy of a fish. It's now perfectly clear. Thanks!


Missy Ok, the dead fish analogy...gone fishing lately? The use of term - dead fish - is twofold for the reader's benefit. Giving the reader the concept of how death appears, because, not many of us have had the opportunity to witness a person in death - who's not made up for viewing - the skin coloration is that of the under belly of a fish. Remember your goldfish? Also, a person can die with his or her eyes and mouth open...thus the term. Very graphic, yes. In my opinion, Faulkner wanted his readers, long before the term became a pop-term, to view disfunction at a level that is incomprehensible. My dilemma was husband's "need" to haul her body, in middle of summer, back to her family plot! There is academic debate regarding opening dialetic the ethic group...some say they are African American couple other say they are White/sharecropers. I tend to view the opening as a southern African American dialetic, much like the openings of such books by Zore Neale Hurston, "Their Eyes were Watcing God" and Alice Walker, "Color Purple" in contrast to Lee Smith's "Fair and Tender Ladies" opening dialetic.


message 21: by Mel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mel Bossa I wrote this "review" for it. It's a terrible review but explains my first reaction to Faulkner.

People told me beware...You'll either hate Faulkner or you'll love him.

And when I started the book, I thought it was pretentious, full of literary stunts. Then gradually, I realized I felt that way because most of my life, I've read Faulkner wannabes--you know those "creative writing 101" type writers who claim Hemingway's iceberg theory but only hide 3/4 of their own story from the reader because they don't know what the f**k they're doing.

"Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words."

I think that would best describe William Faulkner's writing.
Forget the words. Forget what you want and need out of a story. There's so much kitchen sink realism mixed in with this never ending stream of consciousnesses, that it becomes a strange, gripping, sort of sad and pitiful, terrifying look at us.

Us, and our thoughts and ways and everything we do and say to make all this make sense.


Bachir Lagsal It's a really great great great book, is a master piece, and Faulkner is a genius.


Danielle As I Lay Dying was the first Faulkner that I read and I fell totally in love, I've read all of his that I can get my hands on. I agree with Bachir and really feel sorry for Beth!


Bachir Lagsal Is my first and only one book I've read of Falkner. I'm waiting to finish my exams to read more books of him. Ciao Danielle, I hope to talk with you soon.


Missy Bachir wrote: "Is my first and only one book I've read of Falkner. I'm waiting to finish my exams to read more books of him. Ciao Danielle, I hope to talk with you soon."

If you're looking for another book by Faulkner pick-up "Go Down Moses." It's a bit fragmented and sentences turn into paragraphs...so do keep this in mind and keep your mind open. Then comment. Hopefully people will shy away from comparing Falkner and Hemingway, they came from completely two different up brings, and it's not an ideal thing to do. Because as Faulkner once indicated, I'm paraphasing here, everything he wrote was based upon his surrounding and interaction with the people he grew-up and lived with. The only thing F & H had in common was their abuse of alcohol. If you need to compare F then try Nietzche. I have tried but failed to read a book by Hemingway...everytime I feel like I'm reading a book written by a grown-up Peter Pan. Ok, I can hear the moans and groans.


Danielle Missy wrote: "Bachir wrote: "Is my first and only one book I've read of Falkner. I'm waiting to finish my exams to read more books of him. Ciao Danielle, I hope to talk with you soon."

If you're looking for ano..."


No moans and groans Missy, you've hit the nail on the head.I love the Peter Pan comment! They are two totally different writers, how can a comparison be made at all.


Missy Daniella, Hemingway was the "in" author in my youth and if one poop-pooped him, you were considered to be a dolt. This option I attributed to the depression literary critics's hype, which was/and continues to be perpetuated. But, what do I know...anyway I stumbled into reading Faulkner and found him to be a of the greatest stoyteller. Some literary critics and teachers find his stream of consciousness a literary faux pas. I know my lit instructor did when I mentioned him as one of my favorite authors...the gasp was audible. Best.


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