Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner My rating: 4 of 5 stars Go Down, Moses (1942), though not always grouped with Faulkner's indisputable masterpieces, is nevertheless one of his most significant and influential books. On strictly formalist or literary-historical grounds, it is a beautiful example of the short story collection as novel, an idea that … Continue reading William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses
Sanctuary by William Faulkner My rating: 5 of 5 stars As everyone knows, Faulkner claimed he wrote this brutal 1931 novel as a potboiler. Superficially, this is plausible: a lurid and violent criminal melodrama free of the overt modernist experimentation of the author's other works of the period, The Sound and the Fury (1929) and … Continue reading William Faulkner, Sanctuary
Clickbait title, I know, but please bear with me. I think I'm onto something; call it— An Essay on Fiction and Reality, Eternity and Time In the mid-1970s, Hugh Kenner wrote an essay on William Faulkner entitled "The Last Novelist" (you can find it both in Kenner's book on American modernism, A Homemade World, where it forms … Continue reading Is David Mitchell the William Faulkner of the Twenty-First Century?
Light in August by William Faulkner My rating: 5 of 5 stars Light in August, published in 1932, is Faulkner's seventh novel and generally considered one of the major works of his best period—roughly the 1930s—alongside The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). Light in August is … Continue reading William Faulkner, Light in August
Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware My rating: 2 of 5 stars In lieu of an essay, some notes (with spoilers): 1. I both intellectually acknowledge the brilliance of this book and viscerally dislike it. 2. I bought it and began reading it in late 2000; I set it aside after … Continue reading Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner My rating: 5 of 5 stars The formal idea animating As I Lay Dying is more audacious than it may at first appear. It's not just that the viewpoint alternates among the characters, who narrate in stream-of-consciousness prose derived from Joyce's experiments in that mode. Joyce, at least … Continue reading William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
Harold Bloom has a new book coming out—rather like my grandmother, he's been falsely prophesying his imminent demise for almost my entire lifetime. Since the end will come for us all eventually, I'm always glad to see old Bloom fighting the good fight.* Now he lists his 12 authors who best exemplify "the American Sublime" (see the … Continue reading Sublimity Listed: Bloom’s 12 American Writers