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Faulkner: Help!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Charlie Bernstein, Jun 9, 2020.

  1. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    We used to have Cliff Notes. Now there's an endless supply of reviews, synopses, and analyses online.
     
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  2. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lewis always cut right to it.
     
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  3. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Some of his stuff is a lot easier to get through than others, but it all gets you into Faulkner land. Barn Burning is one of his most classic stories, and it's not hard to figure out what's going on, the perspectives and so on. There is a Collected Stories volume, maybe that's what you already have, which has plenty of great stuff in it.
    Light In August is a great novel and it's not complicated to figure out. I would probably avoid The Sound and the Fury for a little while.
     
  4. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    Faulkner's tough. I've read a handful of his short stories but struggled to get through even a third of The Sound and Fury. For me, J R by William Gaddis is right up there for difficulty. The entire book (at least until I gave up) is dialogue so it's often impossible to tell who is talking at any given time or what exactly is going on. Both have joined the long and illustrious list of great books I couldn't finish!

    I can truthfully say that I read all of Infinite Jest including the footnotes, so that's my difficult book brag.
     
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  5. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Three pages into the first chapter, I threw The Sound and the Fury across the room in high school.

    Love Barry Hannah.
     
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  6. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    my favorite writer for decades and decades.
    sadly he was a severe alcoholic.
     
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  7. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you're a footnote fan, check out Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker!
     
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  8. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dorothy Parker said it best: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
     
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  9. Thinline casket

    Thinline casket Tele-Meister

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    There's plenty of stuff online.

    The chapters are "written" by different characters. The timeline is not linear. And most of it is not really "writing" but thought. It requires a little effort and you have to read it more than once.

    If someone wanted to get into Faulkner, I wouldn't recommend Sound first, but maybe Light in August.
     
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  10. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    Lot's of scholarly work done on Faulker, so yeah. I remember being told to remember the original Shakespeare quote where he got the title: "it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
     
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  11. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks! I'll need to check that out. My personal favorite use of footnotes in a fictional work was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrwell by Susanna Clarke where the footnotes provided a lot of the heavy lifting for world building without distracting from the narrative.
     
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  12. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Strange and Norwell was a great little yarn.*

    -------------

    *But true footnote mavins should go directly to The Mezzanine!
     
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  13. Johnkir64

    Johnkir64 TDPRI Member

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    Pick up a copy of Sanctuary. That’s when Faulkner gets good.
     
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  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Having lived in the south since 1971, I didn't have too much difficulty with Faulkner, once I dove in, because I sort of knew where he was going - as he was all some people ever talked about in certain circles.

    I found James Joyce and Salman Rushdie, for example, to be reads requiring much more concentration.
     
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  15. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not crazy about Rushie, but he said something in an interview that I love. He was at work on a novel. The interviewer asked him if it was good.

    He said, "No. If it were good, it would be done."
     
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