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Absalom, Absalom! was Awesome, Awesome! Book Review

Uploaded by Quest4Glory on Jun 19, 2005

Book Report on Absalom, Absalom!

I'll admit straight off the bat that I'm not a huge fan of stream-of-consciousness narratives. In fact, I dislike such styles more often than I enjoy them. ABSALOM, ABSALOM! was also the first work by William Faulkner that I have ever read, which (judging by the reviews on this site) is apparently not the best place I could have started. Yet despite these potential problems, I quite enjoyed the overall book. There were several places where I found the narrative voice to be quite tedious, but the story was so captivating that these difficulties were well worth struggling through.

As I said, I don't usually like the stream-of-consciousness style of writing. When done incorrectly, it can lead to books full of hopelessly incoherent rambling that is neither insightful nor interesting. However, in the case of ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, I'll grudgingly admit that the style does help the story quite a bit. Some of the asides and passages were extremely effective at conveying the atmosphere of the South during the Civil War. The various misconceptions that several characters have (the reader can only gradually piece together the truth) are perfectly true to their personalities and reveal more about the people in this story than the actual events would have. That said, some of the more esoteric portions of the text had me nearly throwing the book across the room in angry confusion. Fortunately for the sake of my library, my walls and my sanity, those more obscure sections are not terribly numerous, and many of them can become penetrable, albeit after the second or third reading.

One of the aspects of the novel I most appreciated was Faulkner's ability to set my expectations in one direction, and then completely pull the rug out from under me. There were several major twists and turns that I genuinely did not anticipate. Characters' understandings are fallible, and yet whenever something that someone had said turned out to be false, I never felt cheated. While a lot of the narrative shocks stem from people misunderstanding events from long ago, the mistakes they make are perfectly valid, and I never once felt that Faulkner had deliberately caused people to misconstrue happenings merely to drive the plot.

Racism plays a major part in this story, so be prepared to see some language and activities that aren't politically correct. Faulkner is showing racism for exactly what it...

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Uploaded by:   Quest4Glory

Date:   06/19/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (601 words)

Views:   4795

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