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As I Lay Dying (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) Hardcover – November 28, 2000
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--Robert Penn Warren
From the Back Cover
This edition reproduces the corrected text of As I Lay Dying as established in 1985 by Noel Polk.
- Publisher : Modern Library; 1st edition (November 28, 2000)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0375504524
- ISBN-13 : 978-0375504525
- Lexile measure : 870L
- Item Weight : 13.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #179,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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By Ishmael on June 22, 2019
If you haven't read the book, the Bundrens are a family (a dad, 4 brothers and a sister) taking their mom (alive for a small part of the book) to be buried about 20 miles away in Jefferson (her wish). Problem is, the river has just flooded (timely here in lower Alabama) and the bridges are out.
They must deal with flood (crossing a flooded river), fire, mental health and other bodily issues (to say more is to give a spoiler) on their way by wagon to bury Moma.
It is told from the perspectives of each member of the family and friends and a hypocritical preacherman. Parts of it are hilarious and parts are downright sad. The father reminds me of why it is so hard to break free of the interrelated chains of family and poverty and, to a certain degree, ignorance.
Warning: Do NOT watch James Franco's movie prior to reading the book. Watching the father for even part of that movie will likely disgust you to the point you cannot read further. Contrary to Franco, apparently, I never took from Faulkner's book that he intended dad to be viewed as mentally disabled.
Top reviews from other countries
Each chapter describes part of the story through the eyes of one of the characters (each chapter is titled with the character's name) and in this way the reader comes to understand the psychology of everyone in this rather harsh tale.
At times I'll admit to struggling with the writing as it conveys the story through the protagonists' Deep South American accents. Indeed I sometimes, albeit very infrequently, wasn't entirely sure what was happening. On the basis of this I've given the book a 4* review. Perhaps on a second reading I may end up giving this 5* (in the end the author won the Nobel prize so any difficulties are likely to be my problem).
Finally, to those who have given this book a really low rating on the grounds that the story is located in a time long gone, all I can say is that human family dynamics are universal and this is therefore a universal and still relevant story.