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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 2000)

by William Faulkner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,838125290 (3.9)479
Member:jgcorrea
Title:As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text
Authors:William Faulkner
Info:Modern Library (2000), Edition: Modern Library Edition, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, novel(la), the best 500

Work details

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930)

  1. 61
    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. 40
    Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O'Connor (joririchardson)
  3. 30
    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.
  4. 20
    A Death in the Family by James Agee (goodwinter)
  5. 21
    Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (LottaBerling)
  6. 10
    The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy (SanctiSpiritus)
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English (119)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (125)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
As I Lay Dying is told from a zillion points of view. (15 perspectives in 59 chapters) Pretty much anybody who crosses the path of this family has a bit of the story to tell from their perspective. Normally this sort of thing drives me mad, but in this case the multitude of storytellers added a lot of insight. The main characters, the Bundren family, are poor and extremely uneducated and the addition of a few narrators who are halfway well spoken kept things more balanced.

There is a lot of backwoods language along with a lot of babbling, especially from Vardaman, the youngest Bundren family member, whose perspective offers one of the most famous chapters, and the most ridiculous in my opinion. I got it, it's just that I am not into knowing anyone's random garbled thoughts. We all have them, but it doesn't make the most impressive writing. Hidden meanings in literature are can be thought provoking, but start to seem kind of pointless when it seems so intentional. Oh, and intentional it was. Don't believe the rumor that Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying in one go with no edits. It simply isn't true, although it would offer a reasonable explanation for the rambling.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner is a book with fascinating but miserably unlikable characters. Each has an interesting and mostly conflicting point of view. I am really getting into these undesirable characters who I can come to understand and Faulkner definitely has an interesting approach to bringing insight along with compassion for a family that is difficult to like or to relate to. Selfishness, stubbornness, horrid social skills, dishonesty, and false pride are just a few of the Bundren family traits.

The end is also makes me question my senses. There is not an ounce of redeeming quality and it did piss me off, but...There again goes another miserable reality for a family such as the Bundren's and the story would have felt like pointless trash had it ended in any other way. I loved almost every torturous moment. ( )
  StephLaymon | Jan 26, 2016 |
As I Lay Dying is about a poor, rural family whose mother dies. She requested that she be buried with her family in a cemetery a full day's journey away. Unfortunately, a heavy rainfall floods the rivers and destroys the bridges they have to cross, so the journey takes much longer, and the family has to endure many hardships on the way. Because of the stress of the journey, none of the family members really have time to deal with their mother's death, so by the end of the novel, they are each affected in different ways.

Although the dialect was a bit hard to understand at times, I thought this book was easier to read than some of Faulkner's other books. The chapters were very short, which made it easy to keep reading. Each chapter was told from the point of view of a different character, and often the same events were covered twice from different points of view. Faulkner does tell you who is talking in each chapter, so as long as you remember to adjust to each new narrator, the changing point of view adds to the story and to the family's sense of isolation from each other.

I haven't read a lot of Faulkner, but this is the book I like the best of his so far. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
I can see how this book has its place in literature, both for the way it offers psychological insights and the way people’s isolation from each other is reflected in the structure of the novel with each character taking what plot there is forwards in their first person perspective, but I found the book as a whole as depressing and alienating as its gloomy title.

Each member of the Bundren family is so unappealing that I found the book hard-going. Even the dying mother didn’t draw any sympathy because of her inertia and lack of communication and later in the book, in her own section, we find what an ugly person she has always been, from when she mistreated her students to when she disliked her children as a result, perhaps, of her infidelity. Then Anse is so lazy and self-righteous and delusional that I thoroughly disliked him – an absolutely despicable character, Darl (like Carl) hardly said anything for a long time, and Jewel just seemed pretty crazy and had a very strange relationship with his horse. All this is oversimplifying but their basic personalities did not make for pleasurable reading, but then perhaps Faulkner intended this to be a book more about ideas and structure than about drawing the reader in with at least one sympathetic character,

It’s difficult to understand parts of it too, not just where Faulkner has references to characters simply with a pronoun so we have to gradually work out who’s being talked about but also in the way he puts the thoughts of his characters, especially those of Vardaman and Darl as in ‘Since sleep is is-not and rain and wind are was, it is not. Yet the wagon is, because when the wagon is was, Addie Bundren will not be . . .’ No doubt Faulkner was aiming to reflect contemporary ideas about how humans think but usually writers go to the opposite extreme such as when Shakespeare used poetry to allow his characters to be far more articulate than people could otherwise be.

I guess the effectiveness of this novel is reflected in the way I imagine it’ll stay with me for a long time – a sort of ‘Grapes of Wrath’ longevity although Steinbeck, of course, had several characters with whom the reader could sympathise. Basically this book makes me very glad I was not living in the USA of the Depression with such righteous ideas about religion and, if this book is to be believed, such lack of regard for fellow human-beings. ( )
  evening | Nov 7, 2015 |
My first Faulkner. My hunch was that I'd find his oblique Joycean, stream-of-consciousness style a bit much, and generally I did. I came away from Mrs Dalloway by Woolf with a similar tilt. That said, he could carve out some turns of phrase that were worth lingering over (I much preferred his narrative voice to the hick dialogue). Also, his spare directness and alternating narration are clearly influential in literature today (I think of Cormac McCarthy and Jon Clinch for example). And, as to the Bundren clan of this story, think of the poorer and less redeemable Mississippi cousins of the Joads. ( )
  JamesMScott | Jul 20, 2015 |
By showing different view points from each character, the story was able to captivate me to the point where I could not put the book down. The use of different archetypes for each character made the plot more interesting. Addie's family and the mishaps that happen to them while they are on their way to bury Addie makes you question what really ties a family together and if this family was stable at all. ( )
  Potatoangel | Jun 25, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Faulknerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raver, LornaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:17 -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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