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As I Lay Dying Hardcover – Jan 1 1962


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (1962)
  • ASIN: B0000CI8OM
  • Shipping Weight: 789 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on April 13 2004
Format: Paperback
Among academics and literary connoisseurs at the moment, William Faulkner is generally the greatest American author to ever write. This novel, his quintessential work, is one of the main reasons why; it also epitomizes his work in many ways, collecting in one place many of his most pivotal techniques, themes, and concerns. The book's narrative complexity is widely-noted and highly-praised: the novel is composed of some 50-odd sections of narration by 15 different narrators. Each speaker has a distinctive personality, parlance, and way of viewing the world. The entire story is built around one central event: the death of the Bundren family matriarch, hence the title. As with The Sound and the Fury, the structure is not linear: it is told in bits and starts by each narrator, each revealing something that the others didn't reveal while also concealing something that the others did not. Different people often present the same event in totally different ways. The different sections of narration and the multiple narrators also provide insight into the psychology (and psychopathology) of each speaker. In the writing, Faulkner alternates between what the characters say, what they consciously think, and even what they unconsciously think. These latter two, especially the unconscious thoughts, are presented by Faulkner in a realistic and true-to-life manner: sometimes random, sometimes seemingly nonsensical, and sometimes incomplete. In so doing, Faulkner skillfully and successfully employs the often-cited but much-maligned and frequently-misunderstood technique of stream-of-consciousness. One might get the sense that Faulkner had a hard time running back and forth between the various plates that he had spinning, in order to keep any of them from falling down.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Anderson on Jan. 11 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the first Faulkner novel I have read, after grinding through a few of his shorts like "A Rose For Emily". I've become a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy, who is oft described as Faulknerian, so I decided to give his long prose a chance. AS I LAY DYING was one of the darkest, most soul crushing, and oddly humorous, books I have ever read. I don't think I've ever despised a character as much as Anse Bundren. I hate him from basically his introduction.

I've never been left as staggered as I was after reading AS I LAY DYING. I finished the book basically after my second year English class, having just studied Paradise Lost, sitting at a desk on the campus library's fourth floor, looking out the window as it snowed.

Hell of an experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kait Rankins on Nov. 28 2002
Format: Paperback
..this is the worst book I ever read. I hate to say it, because reviews that say "I don't like this book" are generally extremely unintelligent reviews. And generally I write extremely good reviews of books, and I can always find something good in almost any book.
Except perhaps this one, I'm sorry to say.
While Willliam Faulkner's stream-of-consciousness form was unprecendented and original, it does not mean he should be praised for his extremely poor use of it. The idea is good, but his execution makes the novel almost unintelligible. Sometimes it's best to sacrifice the realism of the stream of human thought for the sake of the reader's own mind and dramatic effect.
I disliked the book more when I took it seriously. In order to get the most out of it, you ought to take it as comical, a farcical attempt for a completely inept and dysfunctional hillbilly family to get the rotting corpse of their matriarch to the family burial grounds. And everything goes wrong along the way, with the corpse rotting away as they trek it through the countryside, try to get it over a river, and all the while argue with each other and go crazy and break bones, as the youngest child thinks his dead mother is now a fish. Let's face it - the book is -funny.-
But that doesn't mean it's well-written. Like I said before, it's good in theory, but the stream-of-consciousness is almost impossible to comprehend. And.. these are not people whose minds you want to get into and read every thought of.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 8 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm struggling my way through this darn thing, and I am really not certain if I have the mental strength to finish it. I am simply a person who likes to read for pleasure. Lately I have been feeling a little guilty for not trying some of the "classics" of literature, so I looked at a 100's Best Books list and this fantastic title, "As I Lay Dying", caught my attention. A few pages into it I was confused, but I struggled on. By page 51 (in the Random edition I'm reading) I had a vague idea what was going on, a vaguer idea of the relationship of the characters, and a solid feeling that I would not be able to tolerate much more of Faulkner's writing style. I was seriously considering the idea that he was either drunk or in some kind of a drug trance when he was writing this thing. For certain, I could not imagine having this as required reading in high school unless you really wanted to turn young people off to reading entirely. Here's a sample of "poetic" writing: "Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or not. He cannot empty himself for sleep because he is not what he is and he is what he is not. ... And since sleep is is-not and rain and wind are was, it is not." For certain, this thing has me very leery about trying other classics.
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