This one makes it to The top 100 books of the century by the Guardian (It’s #55 BTW!). To quote from the Guardian:
“Faulkner claimed he wrote As I Lay Dying from midnight to first light in six weeks while working at a power plant to make ends meet, and moreover that he did not change a word of it.”
But lot of things in the book didn’t work for me at all:
- Too many narrators: I have read and liked books with multiple narratives, maybe two or three! But 17??? For such a short book! Each chapter was only 3-4 pages long! Too much of context switching just put me off. Till half of the book, I was struggling to figure out who is who.
- The subject itself: It’s about Addie Brunden who knows she is dying and then everyone else around her is talking/preparing for her death. Too morbid for a read.
- Chapters like “My mother is a fish”… Yes! that’s one chapter! And there is a chapter which is just a list!
- Lines like this:
“In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not. Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or not. He cannot empty himself for sleep because he is not what he is and he is what he is not. Beyond the unlamped wall I can hear the rain shaping the wagon that is ours, the load that is no longer theirs that felled and sawed it nor yet theirs that bought it and which is not ours either, lie on our wagon though it does, since only the wind and the rain shape it only to Jewel and me, that are not asleep. 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.”
Seriously??? I could not make any sense and there are more of such! And that got too much for me for a short novel.
This ended up more like a frustration instead of a review, but I don’t think I could do any better. People have given it five-star reviews but it was a pain for me to read and TBH, I just googled the summary and the end when there were 10 or so pages left! If prize-winning novels turn up into a perplexing muddle of characters like this, I might stay away for a while. And NO to Faulkner novels forever maybe! This is not the first time I have hated a novel which the whole world seem to be praising heaps. No regrets!
No quotes from the books this time!