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As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text by…
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As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text (original 1930; edition 1991)

by William Faulkner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,092113329 (3.9)422
Member:debavp
Title:As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text
Authors:William Faulkner
Info:Vintage (1991), Paperback, 267 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Fiction, GW, Used, TB, Read, Donated, Review Pending

Work details

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930)

  1. 51
    The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (2below)
    2below: Both involve complicated characters (some might say messed up), crazy mishaps, and fascinating unstable and unreliable narratives. Also excellent examples of Modernist fiction.
  2. 30
    Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor (joririchardson)
  3. 20
    A Death in the Family by James Agee (goodwinter)
  4. 10
    Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Getting Mother's Body is a reimagining of As I Lay Dying through a different culture's point of view.
  5. 10
    The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy (SanctiSpiritus)
  6. 11
    Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (LottaBerling)
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» See also 422 mentions

English (108)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Rich, descriptive, gritty, harsh prose worth 5 stars for individual chapters, but ultimately fails for trying too hard and is a case study in why to edit sober.

I really wanted to like this more than I did. The prose is, at moments, stunning. The opening narrations draw in the reader with rich description. You can almost taste the sweat, the dirt, the cool water from a cedar bucket.

Ultimately, however, the multi-voiced approach lacks cohesion and narrative direction. The number of voices is at moments overwhelming and at most times simply confusing. Coupled with the pseudo-stream of consciousness, it just seemed like too much.

I think the approach and style could have worked well if just told through the voice's of Addie's five children. However, even that is probably a bit much. Jewel has a natural distance/difference from his siblings that causes his voice to add little to the story. Further, the attempt at Vardaman's voice as a young child makes him seem more mentally handicapped than merely young, and is perhaps the biggest failure of the novel. Thus, I feel like an approach just through the eyes of Darl, Cash, and Dewey Dell would have kept to the spirit and style of the novel while providing a much more cohesive and comprehensible narrative. Any decent editor would have told Faulkner this, yet the novel was published "without changing a word" (not really, but still).

In the end, I can't get myself to give it even 4 stars, let alone the 5 that are warranted by snippets of Faulkner's prose.
( )
  scott.bradley | Jul 24, 2014 |
One of the great American writers. He drips of the Ol' South. He's so good, you'll feel the humidity and smell the sweat. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
This is my first Faulkner and I have to say - boy, what a book! I don't think I'll go as far to say that it's one of my favorite novels, or that he's my new favorite author, but it's definitely a book that I'm going to be thinking about for the next couple of weeks.

It is a strange book, and what makes it unforgettable is how psychological it is. The youngest character gave me the creeps because it wasn't until late in the book when I understood why he says his mother is a fish. Nevertheless, the metaphor still creeps me out a bit. The entire family to me seems a bit off their rockers, and a bit insincere as to why they are complying with the mother's wish to be buried in a town miles and storms away from where they reside. I wanted to believe at first that it was love or respect but towards the end it becomes hinted at that that wasn't the case.

What I wasn't quite able to like (though I do appreciate the work it requires) is that there is sort of a backwards foreshadowing, where something happens but isn't explained or hinted at why it happened til later in the book. Some points were a tad too ambiguous for my liking and left unclear, though other points were well-balanced between ambiguity and clear hints.

But overall, an interesting book, I'm glad I finally got around to it. ( )
  est-lm | May 3, 2014 |
This story features the Bundren family. Addie, the mother, passes away in her home, & the remainder of the story is the saga of the 9 DAYS it took her husband & children to cart her from their home in the mountains to the fictional town of Jefferson, where she wanted to be buried with "her people". Remember, back in these times, there was no such thing as embalming for the poor class of families.....we hear in turn from family friends Vernon & Clara Tull, as well as from Addie's children, one of whom goes crazy on the trip & is himself in turn carted off to a mental institution. There are horrendous mishaps, from the overturning of the family wagon & the drowning of the 2 mule team in floodwaters where they tried to ford the river, to the none too smart father who tries to steady his son's broken leg by using quick set cement!!!! Like the other works by Faulkner I've read, this is a page turner, only in this case, as the litany of woe goes on, it's more like the scene of a train wreck or a bad crash on the highway. You don't WANT to look, but you can't help yourself ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 10, 2014 |
I was pleasantly surprised by [b:As I Lay Dying|77013|As I Lay Dying|William Faulkner|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1330831182s/77013.jpg|481854]. I've always thought I was a firm believer in the Hemingway school of "less is more" and "rambling is bad," so when I began the stream-of-consciousness, flowing, sprawling, time paradox that is As I Lay Dying, I was a bit daunted. However, I quickly realized that the interiority generated by the writing style really makes the book great. We're so invested and entangled in the narrators' words that when we finally pull back and see the Bundren family through the eyes of an outsider, we're not only disgusted with the family, but with ourselves. I wasn't expecting to be disturbed by this novel, but I was, and I loved every minute of it. ( )
  stephaniesanders | Mar 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (57 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Faulknerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raver, LornaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Hal Smith
First words
Jewel and I come up from the field, following the path in single file.
Quotations
"She's a-going," he says. "Her mind is set on it."
Sometimes I aint so sho who's got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It's like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it's the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it.
My mother is a fish.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067973225X, Paperback)

Faulkner's distinctive narrative structures--the uses of multiple points of view and the inner psychological voices of the characters--in one of its most successful incarnations here in As I Lay Dying. In the story, the members of the Bundren family must take the body of Addie, matriarch of the family, to the town where Addie wanted to be buried. Along the way, we listen to each of the members on the macabre pilgrimage, while Faulkner heaps upon them various flavors of disaster. Contains the famous chapter completing the equation about mothers and fish--you'll see.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

At the heart of this 1930 novel is the Bundren family's bizarre journey to Jefferson to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Faulkner lets each family member--including Addie--and others along the way tell their private responses to Addie's life. As I Lay Dying is the harrowing, darkly comic tale of the Bundren family's trek across Mississippi to bury Addie, their wife and mother, as told by each of the family members--including Addie herself.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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