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“I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall.” —William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying
 
As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn  by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic.

This edition reproduces the corrected text of As I Lay Dying as established in 1985 by Noel Polk.

Published: VintageAnchor an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on May 18, 2011
ISBN: 9780307792167
List price: $9.99
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this is william fawkners 5th book, for a rather thin book with simple language, i have never been able to completely read this book from cover to cover. I like the storyline and the general idea, but because its written in 15 different points of view, its very confusing. i hope one day i will finish itread more
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Faulkner, why do you make my brain spin in such a disorienting way? This novel, like many of Faulkner’s books, has multiple narrators telling a story that is centered around one major event. In this case, Addie Bundren is dying and she has asked her husband and adult children to travel to another county in Mississippi with her body to bury her in her hometown when she dies. The thing about Faulkner is that you often don’t know where you stand with his books. His work seems intentionally obtuse, almost like he doesn’t want you to understand what’s going on; he’s famous for this. His narrators are often unreliable, sometimes because they are lying to the reader and distorting the truth until it’s unrecognizable (Absalom, Absalom). Other times it’s because the narrators themselves are confused (The Sound and the Fury). In this book you have a bit of both. Everyone has their own agenda and they tell their story while hiding their secrets from each other and sometimes the reader. I’ll admit, usually I’d prefer to know where I stand when I’m reading. There are certainly exceptions to this, but I tend to prefer narrators that I can trust. I really struggled to follow the flow of this book. I knew what was going on, but keeping everyone (and their back stories and motivations) straight is difficult. There are so many characters and as we progress across the state with Addie’s coffin in tow, we learn how each character has reached this point in their lives. None of them seem happy with their lot in life and it’s not hard to understand why. The thing that always redeems Faulkner’s work for me is the descriptions. The writing is just so beautiful and that far outweighs the disjointed plot. His writing is poetic and since I struggle with poetry to begin with, it’s no hard to see why Faulkner is a stretch for me. BOTTOM LINE: Absolutely worth reading, it’s an American classic, but go into it knowing Faulkner is going to take you for a ride. Sit back and enjoy the words that will take you there and don’t get too stressed about the details along the way. “I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind -- and that of the minds who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.” read more
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On the surface, this is simple Faulkner, what with its short chapters and paragraphs, although it can still be just as confusing at times as Benji's opening section of The Sound and the Fury. For a student or anyone else who has just struggled through a first reading of The Sound and the Fury or Absalom Absalom, it would be easy to miss some of the nuance and deeper meaning in the narrative. Definitely worth a re-read.read more
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this is william fawkners 5th book, for a rather thin book with simple language, i have never been able to completely read this book from cover to cover. I like the storyline and the general idea, but because its written in 15 different points of view, its very confusing. i hope one day i will finish it
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Faulkner, why do you make my brain spin in such a disorienting way? This novel, like many of Faulkner’s books, has multiple narrators telling a story that is centered around one major event. In this case, Addie Bundren is dying and she has asked her husband and adult children to travel to another county in Mississippi with her body to bury her in her hometown when she dies. The thing about Faulkner is that you often don’t know where you stand with his books. His work seems intentionally obtuse, almost like he doesn’t want you to understand what’s going on; he’s famous for this. His narrators are often unreliable, sometimes because they are lying to the reader and distorting the truth until it’s unrecognizable (Absalom, Absalom). Other times it’s because the narrators themselves are confused (The Sound and the Fury). In this book you have a bit of both. Everyone has their own agenda and they tell their story while hiding their secrets from each other and sometimes the reader. I’ll admit, usually I’d prefer to know where I stand when I’m reading. There are certainly exceptions to this, but I tend to prefer narrators that I can trust. I really struggled to follow the flow of this book. I knew what was going on, but keeping everyone (and their back stories and motivations) straight is difficult. There are so many characters and as we progress across the state with Addie’s coffin in tow, we learn how each character has reached this point in their lives. None of them seem happy with their lot in life and it’s not hard to understand why. The thing that always redeems Faulkner’s work for me is the descriptions. The writing is just so beautiful and that far outweighs the disjointed plot. His writing is poetic and since I struggle with poetry to begin with, it’s no hard to see why Faulkner is a stretch for me. BOTTOM LINE: Absolutely worth reading, it’s an American classic, but go into it knowing Faulkner is going to take you for a ride. Sit back and enjoy the words that will take you there and don’t get too stressed about the details along the way. “I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind -- and that of the minds who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.” 
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
On the surface, this is simple Faulkner, what with its short chapters and paragraphs, although it can still be just as confusing at times as Benji's opening section of The Sound and the Fury. For a student or anyone else who has just struggled through a first reading of The Sound and the Fury or Absalom Absalom, it would be easy to miss some of the nuance and deeper meaning in the narrative. Definitely worth a re-read.
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I never thought a story about dying and death could be grimly amusing. It sounds macabre, but macabre this story was, and brilliantly, too. Addie Bundren takes awhile dying, and in the opening scene, we find her watching through her bedroom window Cash, her eldest, building a coffin for her. Finally she is dead and there the family's luckless adventure begins as they have to bring her body to Jefferson, where she came from. Anse, the husband, swears it was a promise he made her, and that he will fulfill at all costs. That the body was placed reversed on the coffin, to start, could not have boded well for the entire endeavor. Against all common sense, Anse insists on crossing the ford instead as the bridge had collapsed. A ludicrous scene follows with horse, mules, people and coffin being carried away by the waters. The coffin is intact, and surviving waters, fire, and the petty hostilities between the siblings and the sly manipulations of the lazy Anse throughout the transport, it finally entered Jefferson in a procession accompanied by vultures overhead, for now it had been the 9th day and the smell was horrible. While we learn of things that happened in the course of bringing Addie's body to Jefferson, we also learn of her life and the family's, skeletons and all, before this took place, spread in the novel's 59 chapters and from the point of view of 15 narrators. Written in a stream of consciousness style, some effort is necessary when switching from one point of view to another, as narrators can be articulate, confusing, vague or abstruse. I found this fun, though, as all these were like dots I had to connect and work out by myself. Also, by getting into each character's mind, we experience and perceive rather than "told" of what he or she goes through, and so as a reader, have to sometimes consciously detach ourselves from the narrator to "see" what is happening. For example in the case of the boy, Verdaman who thinks his mother is a fish. I had to pull back and reflect -- why did he think his mother is a fish? So there, go find out why he thinks his mother is a fish. Read the book and find out why Faulkner is a giant of literature.
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This is the only book I have ever truly hated, and I hated this book more than anything else I've ever read. I was forced to read through it for an English class, but I had to break up my reading sessions into shorter increments to maintain my own sanity. The stream of consciousness wouldn't be so bad if the characters themselves were right in the head. I couldn't make sense of most of what they said simply because there was no sense to be found. However, days after finishing the novel, I had a moment of profound insight into the quote "My mother is a fish." I think that goes to show just what the novel did to my mind. And for the record, critics of Faulkner's day agreed with me that it's horrid.
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A family's journey to bury the matriarch of the family. This is a stream-of-consciousness novel, and was hard to get into...however, Faulkner has nothing on James Joyce or Virginia Woolf (the king and queen of SOC). I did enjoy the book once I figured out all the characters, but I declined to read the other two Faulkner books that are part of Oprah's Summer Reading list
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