On the Night Stand

Thoughts on what I'm currently reading: Light in August by William Faulkner

As I drive, listening to William Faulkner's masterpiece, Light in August, I tell myself this is poetry, he's written a long prose poem here. Faulkner is in my mind a master of the written word.  He shapes our perception with his poetic array of them on the page; repeating phrases and words; inventing compound words; creating ambient space, molding tangible moods, in which the reader can immerse their reading self. He boldly creates characters with names so similar- Burch, Burden, Bunch, two main characters named Joe- as to confound the reader. His sentences are vast, using myriad commas. Faulkner uses stream of consciousness to exhume memory, emotion, truth from his creations. He is unique as a novelist.

This book is a reread for me even though it is an audio experience this time, with the actor Will Patton performing the reading, weighty and expertly inflected, to near perfection. I realize now that I've gone too long without re-experiencing the complexity of William Faulkner. He manages to weave elements of crime, mystery, and the monstrous implicitness of racism and misogyny into what I think he hopes will amount to a kind of shroud for the pale-male-dominant American south-land.


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