As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

First read: 5/2003
Reviewed on: 5/5/2003
Click here to buy it

I did not like it.
I liked it.
I thought it one of the Best Novels of All Time

I didn't hate this book, but I didn't like it. I can't even tell you why; it's clearly a good book. I went back over the books I've read so far, and the other ones that got a single were painful reading experiences. As I Lay Dying wasn't bad to read, and at times I was enjoying it. Can you tell I am conflicted? Had I read it another day I might have said that I liked it - this is the first time I wish I had a finer scale, a scale that would allow something like " " but that is the path to madness. Let's just say that I did not like this book on this day in this place, but you may very well love it.

One line made me laugh out loud. Well, it didn't, but internet-slang is rapidly making the phrase "laughing out loud" into an idiom meaning "laughing inwardly" which is odd in itself, isn't it? Well, the analytical Cash has fallen off a church, breaking his leg. And, when asked how far he fell, he answers "Twenty-eight foot, four and a half inches, about." Maybe you had to be there.

Obligatory pompous literary reference: At times this book strongly reminded me of Moby Dick, with Anse as Ahab, and the sons as the boat-captains.

Brilliantly written, depressing as hell. One would think that this is a tragedy. Then one would remember that for a tragedy to take place, the characters must start out high and fall, like a boy falling from the top of a church. But this was a tragedy - the family started out low, but managed to fall lower, and lower still, like a man in a deep valley falling down a well, then finding at the bottom someone dug a hole and falling into that, and then it starts to rain and the well is filling up with water and then a bunch of Young Republicans are walking home all drunk from a Morality Potluck and vomit into the well and one has dysentery and you get the idea.

In the Editor's note, it says that Faulkner wrote this book in two weeks. Allow me to hazard a conjecture - he wasn't in a very good mood during those two weeks.

Back to The whole list
Back to Main

5/6/03 Shit - The more I'm thinking about the book, the more I think that I liked it. But I am going back to not liking it as I type this sentence. I wish I were dead.
6/6/03 I should have given this one . In retrospect, I liked it. Damn this all to hell.


hits since May 5, 2003