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As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text by…

As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text (original 1930; edition 2000)

by William Faulkner

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9,669123299 (3.9)468
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
Tags:fiction, novel(la), the best 500

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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 (117)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
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 |
This was my first Faulkner book; I'd expected it to be fairly arduous, but once I got into the swing of the language and his style of prose I really enjoyed it.

Written in a modernist stream of consciousness style, the story is about the death and burial of Addie Bundren, as observed by her children, husband, and other characters from the surrounding area. It's one of those books where nothing much happens and yet everything happens. At the beginning of the book we learn about the perceived natures of each of the family members through different narrator perspectives, and as the journey to bury Addie progresses we see their true colours emerge, concluding with different opinions of them than was originally presented to us.

There were many moments of black humour throughout, often to do with poor deceased Mrs Bundren in her homemade coffin as the final journey to her hometown continually got derailed.

Faulkner's method of narration left a bit of work for the reader at times, so I read the online Sparknotes for the book as I went to make sure my understanding was staying on the right track.

4 stars for a very different and worthwhile read. ( )
1 vote AlisonY | Apr 25, 2015 |
I hated As I Lay Dying. Part of me worries about this, since it’s a classic and presumably there must be something great about it. But whatever it is that makes people like Faulkner completely skipped me by.

I think I should preface the rest of the review with the acknowledgement that I read this as a school assignment. I would not have picked it up otherwise, and I would certainly not have continued with it.

The writing was torturous to get through. Just take a gander at “his pale eyes like wood set into his wooden face”. Thank goodness it was only 260 pages. It was hard enough to get through the writing and the tedium of it, and there was no way I could do so for longer.

It was also difficult to figure out what was actually happening in the book. If I hadn’t checked SparkNotes, I would never have figured out that a character was pregnant.

Also, I didn’t care about any of the characters, not the slightest bit. They were all self obsessed and unlikable.

I would not recommend As I Lay Dying.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Mar 3, 2015 |
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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.
"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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