Tuesday, October 20, 2009

book review -- the Sound and the Fury

Goddern Fuckner

I bought tS&tF in 1999, after it was recommended by my Tennessee Community College English I&II prof--to broaden my horizons (so to speak). This was the same professor who got mad at me and kicked everyone out of class whenever I became narcoleptic during Hamlet. Aside from that, the guy was cool. The kids in his class called him Jerry. He'd taught my Psychologist step-dad poetry too, like two decades before me. Before my step-dad passed from a botched gastric bypass operation.

So, back to tS&tF, admittedly from the onset, getting through the slush pile of dialogue between the children disenchanted me into abandoning the book to my shelf often, where I'd occasionally pluck it back out, sip some dialogue, then lose interest again, to something with an easier narrative to follow.

(This was when I was more about stepping into vicarious experiences as a reader than say, learning and testing tricks as a writer. But even now, a little goes a long way when it comes to gleaning heavy hitters like Faulkner.)

In 2007 I finally made it to the highly stylized dense paragraph watch business. It took me eight years. But once I got there--I was in such awe that I never got past the first paragraph; it stuck me like quicksand! I was mesmerized, begoggled, humbled into mush and terrified. Basically, after that it came to me that tS&tF was simply unreadable. I gave up--realizing that a damn book had kicked my ass!

A person asked me just today in discussing literature, "Did you like the Sound and the Fury when you read it?" Slightly ashamed, I had to say, "No, it's absolutely awful and beautiful. A clusterfuck." I explained how I couldn't get through books that complicated without taking part every technicality that the author had to administer in the rendering of the style in the first place, layer by tedious layer. "The process induces a sense of schizophrenia that whirls me," I said, though his short stories have often been good to me amongst others in the scholastic curriculum.

Faulkner is definitely a grand master of stylish, innovative prose, whose pinches of flavor are distinct and extremely succulent when mimicked or added to any word casserole--and for that he is a big daddy that can't be denied. I hope to try the book again someday when I'm less frustrated with what growing up in Tennessee has done to me and more patient with the world in general.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in reading a story regarding what growing up in Tennessee has done to you and how you're coping with it.

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