Absalom, Absalom!

Absalom, Absalom! - William Faulkner I resisted this book strenuously for about the first two-thirds of it. It's the first full-length Faulkner I've read, and I couldn't see why my ear was being abused by those godawful long, breatless, endlessly parenthetical sentences. Nor could I see why I should have to go to the considerable trouble of reconstrucitng his story for him. But, to my astonishment, I found it began to grow on me. Even the fact that the narrators all speak in one voice ceased to irk me after a while, as the investment began to pay off in terms of subtleties of perception - about the story, but more especially about the telling - which needed this irritating form to work. The last scenes between Quentin and Shreve I found peculiarly compelling - I wouldn't have put it down even if I hadn't had to read it for class. That's a lie - I did put it down every ten pages or so just for a rest; it's exhausting reding. But then I had to pick it up and go on. I suspect that Faulner is like whiskey, not only in being an acquired taste, but probably also in being easier to swallow the more you have, and probably not a little addictive. I'm willing to give it a shot, anyway (said the reluctant convert). [These notes written in 1983:].