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Absalom, Absalom! (Modern Library) Hardcover – November 9, 1993
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“For range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterization, humor, and tragic intensity, [Faulkner’s works] are without equal in our time and country.” —Robert Penn Warren
“He is the greatest artist the South has produced. . . . Indeed, through his many novels and short stories, Faulkner fights out the moral problem which was repressed after the nineteenth century [yet] for all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must turn to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for greatness of our classics.” —Ralph Ellison
From the Inside Flap
The story of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who came to Jefferson in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness. He was a man, Faulkner said, "who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him."
"From the Trade Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The book told through three interconnected narratives tells the life story of Thomas Sutpen. The story parallels the rise of the Old South. The narratives are not straight forward and present a constant challenge to the reader. But if the reader does not close the book in despair the rewards are great indeed.
The mood of the storytelling alone is worth the price of admission here. The long flowing sentences are marvels and testaments to Faulker's skill as a writer. The narrative drive makes reading the book almost like reading Greek tragedy. We gets views of Sutpens life from several townspeople and also across generations.
This is the first book that I've read in a long time that made me feel like I had accomplished something when I finished it. You don't so much read this novel as you become lost in it. Jump in get your feet wet and prepare for some of the most intense Southern gothic that you are ever likely to read.
On the other hand, I have to say, by no means did I actually enjoy the process of reading Absalom, Absalom!. The Sound and the Fury, Light in August--those I actually got pleasure out of reading. Absalom, Absalom!, I did not. I won't deny that there is some brilliant writing on display here, the sort of thing that makes you pump your fist and shout "yeah! Go William!" (c'mon, I know I'm not the only one--'fess up), but more often than not, the prose just seems convoluted and tangled, for no other reason than that the man wanted to display his virtuosity. More often than not, this does not work, and sometimes it actively damages the novel. Regard, for instance, the following passage:
"...because I had learned nothing of love, not even parents' love--that fond dear constant violation of privacy, that stulification of the burgeoning and incorrigible I which is the meed and due of all mammalian meat, became not mistress, not beloved, but more than even love; I became all polymath love's androgynous advocate (117)
Yes indeed: polymath love's androgynous advocate. Faulkner would seem to be going for the 'bad prog rock lyrics' effect here. Even if you can figure out what this is supposed to mean, the fact remains: it looks damned silly, a clear case of complexity for complexity's sake. Sometimes less is more, Bill.
So no, slogging my way through three hundred pages of this stuff was not an enjoyable task. And yet, for some reason, it really does stick with you, as previously noted. I'm still not sure I'd recommend it, though.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found it a very difficult book to read with long sentences with brackets which made you get lost in the story, but...it's Faulkner and his deep prose is always worth reading.Published 1 month ago by Yngwie
It's been a long time. I really enjoyed this book,
not in a literary egg-head way, but in a regular
reader way. Read more
I know William Faulkner is one of our most celebrated writers, so disliking this book goes against the worshipful crowd. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susan
Faulkner is not meant to be read quickly so take your time and think.Published 3 months ago by faye holcombe
Great masterpiece, but hard to read. Takes about 2 or 3 times. But well worth it.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This novel met all of my expectations. William Faulkner was a masterful writer. It is not just the story he is telling, but how he is telling it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have been reading Mr. Faulkner's work in chronological order. There are times I really enjoy his work. However I seem to have struck an impasse with this work. Read morePublished 5 months ago by FCD117