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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
9,303119322 (3.9)447
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, 1001 books to read

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. 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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» See also 447 mentions

English (114)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
Quando si legge F. bisognerebbe partire dall'assunto che siamo su un altro livello rispetto a qualsiasi altra cosa.
Una categoria a sé, poco a che vedere con la letteratura.

Questo testo è snello rispetto ad altri capolavori dell'autore, ma ugualmente profondo e a piani di lettura intersecantisi, belli.
Non trovo tuttavia il 'comico' e il 'ridicolo' citati da Giuliani nella 4^ di copertina: dopo la lettura del libro di Agee ed Evans di cui parlo altrove, qui vedo solo miseria, ignoranza, fatica, fatica, fatica, ingenuità, malizia, perversita', follia ottusa. Non c'e' niente da riderne.

Poi, come sempre con Faulkner, bisogna tenere aperte tutte le sinapsi nervose, i pori della pelle, il senso degli odori e dei suoni, per assumere lo scritto nella sua potenza, perchè è quella l'unica modalità di lettura che possa rendere giustizia alle sue parole. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
I haven't read much Faulkner, but I've read enough to know he's not my cup of tea. Written in the vernacular of the south, in an intense stream of consciousness style, usually with a degree of willful obfuscation. I don't think Faulkner is a bad writer, I just dislike his work, and As I Lay Dying hasn't made me reevaluate that opinion.

As I Lay Dying takes place in the strange ahistorical version of Mississippi where Faulkner sets almost all his stories, a place where it could just as easily be the 1880s as the 1920s. Besides a few references to things like telephones and cars in the final chapters of this book there is very little to give you a temporal anchor for when this trip occurs. This uncertainty extends not only to the setting, but to the events of the story and sometimes the characters as well. The character of Dewey Dell, for instance, is female, but this isn't firmly established until after her first point of view chapter has already occurred. She's mentioned on page 15 (in my edition) by name for the first time, but without any identifying pronouns. She isn't concretely identified as female until page 48, though it's possible to figure it out prior to this. The problem is that Dewey Dell's first point of view chapter makes very little sense if you think she's male as her name would suggest. It's obvious enough what's happening if you know she's female, but again that information is only concretely provided later. This is an example of Faulkner's willful obfuscation: all the other characters know Dewey Dell is female, and if the writer was actually present at the scene that information would be clear as well, but despite this Faulkner leaves the reader in the dark. This intentional denial of information also occurs when characters are speaking, for instance on page 96 and 97 in a Cash and Darl chapters it's not at all clear who is speaking, the book instead referring to an unidentified "he." You find out quickly enough who it is, but my complaint is that the text adds uncertainty where the characters have none. Faulkner is thus willfully complicating the book, and there doesn't seem to be sufficient justification for doing so.

Other things in this book also require that the reader put in more effort than normal to follow. The book drops the readers into the middle of the lives of these characters without any introductory explanation of who they are or why they are the way they are, and leaves the reader to figure out what is happening on their own. Note: I don't mind this. The story also skips around in time with little indication, leaving the reader to piece together the timeline. The chapters taking the point of view of Vardaman are especially hard to follow, as he is either especially young or has been unbalanced by his mother's death or both. There are also a few chapters that deal with Darl thinking about some half-baked "was is is-not" thoughts that have no substance to them. Much of this feels like Faulkner making the narrative more complicated primarily for the sake of making the narrative more complicated, not for a deeper purpose. It's easy enough to figure out everything that happens in this book by flipping back and forth a few times, but I don't see why Faulkner made it necessary to do this. Life is complicated and uncertain, and family relationships are complicated and uncertain, to be sure, but Faulkner isn't just obfuscating that stuff from us, he's also disguising the very actions of the characters and events of the book, which in my interpretation hurts the work more than it enhances Faulkner's themes.

So anyway, willful obfuscation and needless complication, with a few chapters that are particularly stupid or convoluted are my main complaints with this book. I imagine that if you're someone who loves Faulkner's writing these will be easy enough to overlook. For my part, though, much of Faulkner's prose doesn't hit home. There's a page where a character is "vomiting his crying," and it's clear that Faulkner thought that this was a very evocative turn of phrase, but I found it an utterly ineffective image. I also tend to very much dislike stream of consciousness prose, and while some books are strong enough to overcome that dislike (Under the Volcano), this one was not.

Credit where credit is due though, Faulkner does a great job of establishing characters and giving them real depth in a relatively short book. There is a ton of characterization, each character having a distinct personality and motivation and mostly distinctive ways of thinking in their point of view chapters. Dewey Dell's parallel quest made her the most compelling for me, though it also helps that she's the most "normal" of the characters. Darl is an interesting riddle of a character. I oftentimes don't find hotheaded characters sufficiently explained or compelling, but Jewel was an exception. Anse is a perfect portrayal of those pathetic people we all know that blame all their problems on anyone but themselves. Only Vardaman did I find relatively generic.

As I Lay Dying cranks up many of the aspects of Faulkner I dislike, and I think some of the intentional obfuscation is more of an annoyance than an effective literary choice, but its characters make me understand why someone would love this book. I, however, didn't. At least it was short, but in the future if I want to try more Faulkner I'll probably just read a few more stories out of Go Down, Moses. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
Addie Bundren is dying, and has requested to be buried amongst her family 40 miles away. Her impoverished family attempt to fulfil this wish, hampered by conditions and their own stupidity, greed, and distraction with their own problems.

A great, great book. A modernist novel where each chapter is told by a member of the family or the people who know them, yet it's still accessible and easy to read (Faulkner is often very tough), as well as a gripping story. All the characters are fascinating and the writing is often out of this world. I'm slightly irritated with myself that I've only read this twice. ( )
  roblong | Oct 8, 2014 |
Read it twice in a row. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said about the book, so I'll limit my review to an expression of regret that a book like this would NEVER be published today. Not by the big 5 anyway. Screw you, big 5. Just screw you. So it goes. ( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
The story follows a rural Southern family that deals with the practical and emotional concerns of waiting for the mother to die, then the burial. It tells the story through many eyes, with each character's first-person narrative in the mindset of how he or she thinks and acts, which usually contradicts a previous character's thoughts. The plot is straightforward, but the emotions are not. Who lies, who tells the truth, or even harder.. who lies to themselves? It is left to the reader to determine the true thoughts of each character.

I hated this book so much, and I loved it so much. I honestly hate these characters for their bull-headed stubbornness and inability to see beyond their on mindsets. And I love the writer for this, because ugh I did love these characters. Well most of them. Anse is just an ass.

I loved the intrigue, the mystery behind the back-story of each character until it is slowly revealed piece by piece, by things said and the things unsaid.

It was a slow read in some ways because there aren't crazy plot twists or explosions and fight scenes like in action novels. But oh, the mystery, the emotions of these characters. This book is a character study of people and it is worth reading.

3.5 stars because I really liked it, but not enough to read over and over again - so that bumped it down to 3 stars. Recommended for people who want to learn about characters and how to write emotion. Recommended for people who love understanding people and want to be drawn into a book. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
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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 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)

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