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As I Lay Dying - Book Club Edition Paperback – 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books / Random House (1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067973225X
  • ASIN: B002CKYN8G
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

This was my second book by Faulkner that I have read.
Mark
Vardaman’s voice is particularly believable as a young boy, though I honestly thought he was much younger than some sources online would indicate.
Marysia
Once the trip starts the book gets good with all kinds of problems, difficulties, and unforseen tension and conflict between characters.
Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark on May 22, 2011
I've just finished As I Lay Dying today and it was a pretty good book, not perfect but worth the time and effort. I've read some of the other reviewer's comments about how tough it is to understand the dialect, but it wasn't tough for me because I had grandparents who actually spoke how Faulkner wrote it. That obstacle was overcome. The story had to be pieced together to form the whole and it was way more fluid than say, Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. The characters were tragic country folk whose trials and tribulations were predictable with a father like Anse.

I'm not going to give the story away, but I will say that if you get confused to re-read because the book is not that big and quick to read once you get rolling. This was my second book by Faulkner that I have read. The previously mentioned The Sound and the Fury was much tougher and made As I Lay Dying much easier. Start here if you decide to read Faulkner; you will know soon if you want to read anymore of his works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Boulware on March 5, 2014
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If you have ever read Faulkner you know it is not easy. This book truly takes a different mindset. you have to wrap you head around the each chapter and really think about what ;you are reading. It is not a beach read!
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An author had this to say on point of view: “Always add a POV like it costs you a million dollars.” While I think this is a good rule of thumb to keep narrative in check and give enough depth to leading characters, I also see that it’s a matter of preference. Many authors I greatly admire write multiple points of view in very complex narratives, weaving the voices together in unexpected ways. It becomes like a puzzle that I have to solve, something I really enjoy. Books like Frank Herbert’s Dune and the works of Patricia A. McKillip come to mind. And really, it would be a sad world without The Martian Chronicles.

William Faulkner does a masterful job of writing this novel about a dying woman from the points of view of multiple characters. Each character has insight into the narrative and each is also grounded in his or her immediate reality, such as Cash’s list on building the coffin and Dewey Dells’ worries about her pregnancy. When mother Addie’s voice shows up for the first time, it is a startling moment but a welcome break from the family members, who are at this point focused on their own misery.

I wonder if perhaps there were too many points of view; I did get confused when names outside the family occasionally popped up and disappeared after the one chapter. The voices of neighbors offered oblique insight into the family, but the people the Bundren family meet along their journey don’t offer much except for judgment. I greatly admire Faulkner’s ability to change the syntax and diction with his characters. This reflects their personalities and ages. Cora for example speaks more lucidly and clearly than the younger sister, Dewey Dell, who does a fair amount of rambling to get her point across while still skirting the big issues.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on August 30, 2013
[Throughout the years, I have written a number of reviews that have never been published online on Amazon. These writings comprise two types of reviews: unfinished reviews, abandoned during various stages of composition, and completed reviews that for life reasons were never posted. Of the later type, I wrote an extended treatsie on William Faulkner modernist classic, "As I Lay Dying". Now for the first time ever, over a decade after it was initially written, I am publishing that review, written in July, 2000. Mike London 8-30-2013]

In "As I Lay Dying", William Faulkner paints a portrait of a very disturbed family set in his mythical country Yoknapatawpha County. The central character of the novel, Addie Bundren, demands the greatest scrutiny, because everything that happens to the family members is more or less a direct result of her. Each family member takes part in the journey to Jefferson to bury Addie's body, each for various reasons. Addie had a specific reason for this journey, making Anse promise he would bury her with her people, and we will see if her plans worked as she so desired. After she has been adequately examined, we will move onto the other family members. These include her sons Jewel, Vardaman, and Darl; her daughter Dewey Dell; her husband Anse.

Faulkner employed a stylistic instrument called `stream-of-consciousness' in this work. He is largely credited for its use in literature. There are fifty-nine sections, ranging from a single sentence (the infamous "My mother is a fish) to seven pages. Each section introduces a different narrator. Darl dominates the novel with nineteen of his own. Addie does not appear untill a little over halfway, acting as the center of a bicycle wheel that all the spokes flow into.
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This novel has some of the most interesting characters, and intricate, complicated relationships between said characters that I have ever read. Having tried to read The Sound and The Fury a year ago, and failing pretty miserably to grasp it, I didn't know how I would take to As I Lay Dying. I don't know if it's easier to read, or if I've just gotten better at reading, but I absolutely loved this book. When I had the time, I could not stop reading. It's somehow, despite it's jumbled, and sometimes chaotic way of giving you information, a real page turner. The story is memorable, but the characters, their unique perspectives, and their arcs are what make the novel one for the ages. Faulkner, in some notes in the back of the book, is quoted as saying something along the lines of how he wanted As I Lay Dying to make or break his legacy in writing forever, whether he ever chose to write another word again--and I think he accomplished what he set out. And luckily, he wrote more after. I'm excited about reading his other works, I'm excited about trying The Sound and The Fury again soon, and I'm excited about revisiting this one in the years to come.
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