Friday, November 4, 2016
As I Lay Dying
I am struggling with this classic novel, I guess mostly because I am suspicious of Faulkner, that perhaps he was just trying to show off when he wrote the book, trying to be "strange" and "different" and "mysterious" so he could gain a name for himself in the world of literature. Over the years, I have occasionally had this suspicion about authors, wondering if the bizarreness and eccentricity of their writing is simply an attempt to gain notoriety. It seems to me that the truly great writers are unique, yes, but also welcoming. They want to create a totally new kind of art, but they also want to invite the reader in to enjoy their art. It sometimes seems to me that Faulkner is purposely trying to keep the reader out of his book by making it often totally bewildering. There are whole pages in the book that seem to be closed, rather than, open doors. Books like Middlemarch and War and Peace invite the reader in, page after page, whereas As I Lay Dying seems to be saying "This book is too deep and artistic for ordinary readers to comprehend. Better just read SparkNotes and stand back and be mystified."