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Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

Absalom, Absalom! (1936)

by William Faulkner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,272851,075 (4.13)351
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."
  1. 50
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (LKAYC)
  2. 10
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (ateolf)
  3. 10
    Lyric of the Circle Heart: The Bowman Family Trilogy (American Literature Series) by William Eastlake (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Set in Navajo country, Eastlake's western trilogy shares a lot with Faulkner's mythopoeic Yoknapatawpha. With a taste of Kesey's lunacy. It's good, real friggin'good.
  4. 02
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (WSB7)
    WSB7: Contrasting tragedies of brothers "bonding" with unknown half-brothers.
  5. 25
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (ateolf)

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» See also 351 mentions

English (73)  French (5)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Better then 'The Sound And The Fury': story wise it is a lot of chewing for so little nutrient value. Writer ability wise: Faulkner is in the upper echelon. ( )
  MccMichaelR | May 6, 2020 |
813.52 FAU
  alessandragg | Apr 16, 2020 |
Abandoned after 10%

This is the fourth Faulkner book that I have abandoned; I finished one collection of generally poor short stories. Each book has its own problems but his writing's one unifying factor is that it is poorly done, too many pronouns, too much tell for each show, nothing really to say, poorly if at all planned.

On the positive, sometimes his sentence craft is good. sometimes. I love Cormac McCarthy, I want to like Faulkner but it's just impossible.

( )
1 vote GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
Faulkner tells this story of a driven man and his family as of 1910 but the beginnings go back to the antebellum period and the main focus is around the Civil War years. There are several different narrative voices and the story does not follow a clear timeline. Rather, it seems to follow the story as told to or learned by the master narrator, Quentin Compson, the grandson of a Civil War general who was friendly to the main character, Thomas Sutpen, and to whom Sutpen shared his confidences. Sutpen achieves great success but is brought down by his tragic flaw-- racism.

As noted by commentators (Cleanth Brooks and Hyatt Waggoner), Quentin Compson and his roommate Shreve at Harvard work together to compose a plausible interpretation of the limited facts available to them. In trying to connect the dots, they engage in a detective/historical exercise. One of the reasons the book is hard to read is that the narrative, as ultimately envisioned by Compson and Shreve, must be teased out of the different perspectives and facts provided by the participants in the family history.

Avoid reviews and spoilers in reading this book to preserve the suspense. Don't worry about getting confused along the way. ( )
  drsabs | Jan 30, 2020 |
Memory. That is remembering the past, your family, the culture of family and place. That is in and of the essence of this memorable novel. We find it in the wisteria:

"Do you mark how the wistaria, sun-impacted on this wall here, distills and penetrates this room as though (light-unimpeded) by secret and attritive progress from mote to mote of obscurity's myriad components? That is the substance of remembering---sense, sight, and smell" (p 115)

This is a story of a man, Thomas Sutpen, and other men and women whose lives formed the history of a place and a time--a sometimes dynasty, as told by several narrators including Miss Rosa Coldfield and Quentin Compson (whom you may remember from The Sound and the Fury).
The memory of the events surrounding the ferociousness of Thomas Sutpen is told through fabulous stories, conjecture, discussions, and arguments. It encompasses the history of generations, the strength of women to survive, and the impact of slavery on their way of being.

Told with the poetic beauty of Faulkner's magnificent prose this is a novel to be read and reread; savored as you meditate on the meaning of these people and events and how they resemble those you may remember from Greek or Shakespearean tragedy. Above all it is about Faulkner's idea of the South and that of his characters, especially Quentin, the young Harvard student who proclaims:

"'I don't hate it,' he said. I don't hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark: I don't. I don't! I don't hate it! I don't hate it!" (p 303) ( )
  jwhenderson | Oct 8, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
A poll of well over a hundred writers and critics, taken a few years back by Oxford American magazine, named William Faulkner’s “Absalom, Absalom!” the “greatest Southern novel ever written,” by a decisive margin

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Faulkner, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kandinsky, WolframNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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From a little after two o'clock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that---
"Why do you hate the South?"
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