Here is a piano transcription of Jean-Pillippe Rameau's Nouvelle Suites performed by Alexandre Tharaud.
We have had some rain, which I like, but what I don't like is the small moat that develops on our walkway between the mailbox and the house.
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don't know if I'm just getting the hang of William Faulkner's style of expression, but so far I have enjoyed this novel the best of all of the ones I have read so far (which only includes As I Lay Dying and The Sound and The Fury).
Even so, this novel is written far differently than the others. As I Lay Dying was written from inside of each character's mind, thinking as they would think to themselves without explaining anything to a third party. Each chapter is narrated by a different character and putting all the narrators' thoughts together, the reader is able to come to a conclusion as to what is happening.
The same is true for The Sound and The Fury. The entire book has four chapters which take place over two consecutive days, interrupted by an incident that happened twenty years prior in a chapter in between. Each chapter is narrated by a different person. The first chapter by a mentally retarded thirty year old man. Faulkner enjoys toying with his reader; two characters have the same nickname. They are siblings but different genders. We only gather clues as to what the heck is happening by reading the narrators thoughts and they don't try to clear anything up, since naturally they are only thinking to themselves.
Absalom, Absalom! is different from the previous two in that, while there are different narrators (about four, I think) they are telling their stories, or rather they are telling the same story, to other people in the book which makes for a clearer rendition of the telling for the reader.
Faulkner still likes to hint and suggest and one has to read the entire story to put the pieces together and discover what has happened. I do not want to spoil the story for other people because the ending is rather startling (to me, anyway) but here is a bit of what is going on.
A stranger, Thomas Sutpen comes to Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. This is the fictitious place that Faulkner created that bares no small resemblance to his own home town area in and around Oxford, Mississippi. Like many writers- me, for instance- he wrote characters based on people he knew. Which is why I hope only strangers read my books.
Although God help anyone who actually resembles Faulkner's characters because some of them are formidable.
Thomas Sutpen arrives much to the consternation of the old families. This is before the Civil War when a well-defined Southern Aristocracy existed. He buys up property and calls it Sutpen's Hundred. He marries a local girl from a wealthy family. Everyone is shocked and refuses to come to the wedding.
Sutpen and his wife have a couple of children and pretty much stay hidden on Sutpen's hundred. As various narrators describe life there, we also get a slow but eventually complete picture of Sutpen and the sort of person he is. Without revealing anything, he is a dark, complicated person and so is his progeny.
In the meantime, we get a look at the South before, during and after the Civil War. We see what honor means to a Southern person and how it can become twisted and dark. We see how important it was for a poor, white man to achieve his own family dynasty and how he succeeded and also how he failed.
We see the relations between white and black people and the wheels within wheels that formed those relationships. Nothing is simple in life and neither is it in a Faulkner novel.
One interesting aspect about this book is that every narrator, male or female has the same ponderous, Gothic voice. It doesn't matter who is talking.
Reading Faulkner in some way reminds me of the chanting of a Greek chorus. It is without emotion while it describes highly emotional situations. As a reader I found myself compelled to enter and be swallowed.
I will be interested in seeing how future Faulkner novels compare to the ones I've read so far.
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