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Review: As I Lay Dying

Editorial Review - Bookreporter.com

AS I LAY DYING is Faulkner's harrowing account of the Bundren family's odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn by each of the family members including Addie herself as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style and drama, AS I LAY DYING is a true 20thcentury classic. Read full review

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Horrible

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Not to say that Faulkner was a bad author--Picasso was a good painter, whether you liked cubism or not--but As I Laying was a bad book. Reliably incongruous dialog, deliberately confusing structure, overtly misdirecting pronoun use, ricocheting sequence, and wandering point of view all stuffed in an immensely self-conscious package: these are annoyances in a work designed to be a classic that is far too exhausting to endure for the sake of such superficial characters in such a trivial tale. Its gravitas resides in the unique (and ambitious, if unrealized) style--dialog minced with stream of consciousness from a manageable set of intriguing characters that brackets a novel storyline of woes in the rural thirties of an absurd family. His descriptions of the common environment were perhaps the strongest feature of this narrative: while we come to know the people entangled in this drama--although not always distinguishably without the chapter headings--Faulkner evokes their sights and sounds (and smells) as a right-able wordsmith. These, aided by my own determination, kept me going to the end this short novel--and ultimately back to the introduction for some justification, then to these pages--in spite of its off-putting contrivances. As listening to music that is intentionally dissonant and nonrhythmic, while interesting, is unpleasant to hear, Faulkner's attempt to write a classic by distorting the classical story elements, while interesting for a time, is unpleasant to read altogether. This not a worthless book, but it is probably worth less than the time and effort it will take to penetrate it. If it were written today, and managed to get published, it might not see a second printing.  

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Great if you actually understand it
Most people don't like this book because they don't follow what's going on but everything clicks together and turns great and the way he describes things is just amazing.

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bad.

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While its stream of consciousness, multiple view-point narrative structure might prove frustrating to some, for those with the patience to put together the plight of the Bundren family as relayed by Faulkner, As I lay Dying is a rewarding and profound piece of literature.
As I lay Dying features the Bundren clan, whose mother has recently passed away and whom the family must bury in neighboring Jefferson county for varying, at first unexplained reasons. Each chapter takes the persona of a different character, each with their own style of telling things. Perhaps the first thing you'll notice is Faulkner's diction, which is beautiful in itself but at the same time long-winded and requires much more attention than the average read. However, it is that extra energy that Faulkner requires of the reader that makes As I lay Dying such a memorable experience. The actual narrative is unknown and unclear at first, but as you continue to read the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place, this pretty much describing how all of As I lay Dying unfolds to the reader. There is an adage that this book deserves a second or third reading, each perusal revealing more than the one before, and that makes complete sense as you discover many details that may have floated over your head the first time around.
Like I said, things might be blurry at first, but it gets better. The weakest portion of the book lies in the series of chapters describing the wagon getting stuck in the river; at least as far as I can tell there wasn't much point in spending so much energy on the event. The best part of the book is the last 50 pages or so, after Addie tells her story....
 

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BAD BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Had to read it for English. I stayed confused half the time, even reading Sparknotes. I am convinced his parents paid someone to publish this awful book.

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I enjoyed this book very much. The stream of consciousness style of writing worked well here.

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Greatest Faulkner book out there.

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All reviews - 79
5 stars - 29
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All reviews - 79

All reviews - 79