As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner

English: William Faulkner, Nobel laureate in L...

English: William Faulkner, Nobel laureate in Literature 1949 

I was not quite sure what to expect from this novel. Although I have read books from this period and if I remember correctly a short story by Faulkner, I was completely unbiased when I started reading this book. The blurb on the book’s back made it sound interesting so I was looking forward to seeing what I new world I would find in this book.

Despite being an interesting story I found it difficult narrative to follow. Personally I think that the vernacular, as portrayed by Faulkner, was part of it. Since it took me at least 50 pages to get used to it and it kept throwing me off during the rest of the story. The general story was fascinating, especially to witness the tensions between the respective family members. This tension is so intense and palpable at given moments that it fuels your interest and you want to continue reading. I could sympathise with more or less every character besides Anse, the father of the family. I think it is indecisiveness and complete disregard for his children that made my blood boil which was quite a novel experience as I usually get not that quickly or easily infuriated by characters. Yet at times I wish that I was able to give Anse a good smack around his head as he kept getting more and more annoying. He is such a selfish and odd character in his own right that I did not know how to perceive him unless with utter disgust and contempt. I rarely experience such a strong feeling of disdain for a fictional character so I was quite surprised by the feelings Anse stirred up in me.

Although I was (and still am) disdainful about Anse’s actions and explanations, I could sympathize with the children and the relation between them. Despite their often strained and broken communication and complex feelings towards each other they do seem to care for each other to some degree, whether they admit it or not. Yet Vardaman with his comments as “My mother is a fish” completely threw me off at times, which made it difficult to follow the narrative.

Overall, I enjoyed the book to some degree, but I still retain the feeling that I did not understand it completely which I find a shame, because it seems to be an  interesting story. The difficulty I had with following the vernacular and Anse’s action which continuously irked me made the overall story less enjoyable.

 

 

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