As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

As I Lay Dyin
“I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.”

It’s been a week since I’ve read this book, but trying to catch up on lagging behind. As I may have mentioned before I am also catching up on some of the great American writers. Who’s up? William Faulkner, and his well known and beloved classic, As I Lay Dying.

As I Lay Dying follows the Bundren family and their neighbours in the days just before and after family matriarch Addie Bunden’s death. The family, husband, four sons and a daughter, use everything they can to get her body to her hometown of Jefferson to be interred.

I have been trying to pick a wide range of novels, not only in subject, but also differing in their structure or technique. As I Lay Dying was written by Faulkner using stream-of-consciousness writing, and apparently only written between the hours of 12 A.M and 4 A.M. in a six week period. Apparently not a single word was changed. Have you ever tried writing stream of consciousness before? It isn’t easy, and for someone like myself who loves to retune and play with words constantly after the first draft, it isn’t a lot of fun. I can barely believe that Faulkner could write a novel through stream of consciousness without changing a word, let alone telling the story through 15 different characters, all with their unique voices and perspectives. That seems nearly impossible.

I really loved the macabre themes of this novel; dark themes that lap up through the poetics of the murmuring speeches of the characters. I’ve been so lucky to read so many great novels in this year of Bookstravaganza. I add this as another.

I have the perfect reader for As I Lay Dying too. Daniel is a longtime resident of ISH. He’s New England, born and bred, studied law at NYU, and is the most patriotic person I have ever met. We first bonded over my love for the history of the Civil War. Fun fact! The banner at the beginning of the video is Faulkner’s actual manuscript.

Books Read: 10


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