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Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr., 1924

A Holiday to Matheran

As we left our holiday cottage, to return home in the city, my wife said, "Look over your shoulder before you leave so that we come back again." Read about our recent trip to Matheran, the forest on the head, and the smallest hill station in India, at B+ve.

January 28, 2014

Blog on a break

Due to personal reasons I will not be posting anything for the rest of the week. However, I'll be visiting other blogs as and when I can. Before I sign off, for this brief period, here's something to chew over.

I'm currently reading American writer William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (1929) which is considered something of a literary masterwork. I have read thirty-odd pages and so far I have understood very little. Those pages are filled with dialogue, actually seemingly disconnected verbal exchanges that fly back and forth between a group of children including siblings of different ages, their father and ailing mother, and a black housekeeper. I have resisted the temptation to read what the book is about on the internet. I did, however, find out from Wikipedia that the novel "employs a number of narrative styles, including the technique known as stream of consciousness, pioneered by 20th-century European novelists such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf." 

Since I never give up on a book, I'll continue reading it until the end. Have you read it? If you have then what did you think of it?

16 comments:

  1. I've read many of Faulkner's novels including The Sound and the Fury. There are some novels that are so difficult and complex that the reader should investigate some critical reviews in order to figure out the best way to approach the novel. This novel is outstanding but it is one that you may want to read something on the internet about what Faulkner was trying to do, etc.

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    1. Walker, thanks for visiting and commenting. I'll follow your advice and read about the novel on the internet for a better understanding of what Faulkner is trying to say.

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  2. It's a greta book Prashant, but you have to work on the theory that if you don't read every page at least twice then it's not worth reading at all. The opening section is told from the point of view is of someone who has diminushed mental capacity and is by far the most challenging in terms fo trying to make sense of it. I think it is worth sticking with though, honest,

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    1. Sergio, I never realised that the nameless person in the opening pages is someone with a "diminished mental capacity." I do intend to stick with the novel right through.

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  3. Prashant - I haven't read this and probably won't based on your thoughts so far. Sanctuary sits waiting on the pile somewhere. Hopefully it is more comprehensible! I won't be reading it twice anyway.

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    1. Col, I like to experiment with my reading and this is one of those out-of-the-box novels I picked up. I'm not familiar with Faulkner's SANCTUARY but I'll keep it in mind.

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  4. Tried it years ago, couldn't deal with the stylistic eccentricity. I was an English Literature student in college and I enjoyed Faulkner's short stories. THE SOUND AND THE FURY was the only novel I tackled and failed. Never tried another of his novels.

    If I must read literary experimentation I much prefer it in poetry than in prose. There are several American poets I will read, absorb and linger over. Poetry cuts to the core with images, makes me think and it resonates with me. But experimental prose drives me to distraction. I'll never try ULYSSES for the same reason.

    Hope all is well with you and you will come back from your break refreshed and healthy and full of curiosity as ever.

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    1. John, you make an excellent point about reading poetry as a literary experiment over prose though I have never looked at both with the same eye. I read vintage poetry occasionally. I hope to eventually understand what appears to be a difficult book from Faulker. Thanks for your wishes. All is well at my end.

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  5. I read it many years ago and couldn't tell you the plot now if you put a gun to my head. Agree with John that I enjoy many of WF's shorter pieces.

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    1. David, there is a certain flow to Faulkner's prose and, as Sergio observes, it'd be a good idea to read every page twice. I haven't read any of his short stories yet.

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  6. I read it and thought it was awful. Incredibly boring. He's writing from the perspective of a mentally handicapped individual and I admire his attempt to do so, but it just didn't work for me. I've never since read another book by Faulkner. I've read and enjoyed some of his short stories.

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    1. Charles, the next Faulkner book I pick up will be his book of short stories. It'll take me a while to finish this complex novel.

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  7. Tried reading this many years ago, Prashant, but gave up after awhile. Never read any other Faulkner. I did however see the movie version of The Sound and the Fury starring, of all people, Yul Brynner and Joanne Woodward.

    Hope to see you on your return to blogging. Take it easy, my friend. We'll all be here when you get back. :)

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    1. Yvette, thank you for the best wishes. I'll be back early next week. Opinion on this book is mixed which is to be expected of any book or film. I'm now more than curious to go through with it and see what I can make of it. Perhaps, some background reading will help.

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  8. Faulkner is a challenge. As a writer from the Deep South, where the Civil War remains living history, he takes on the legacy of slavery and racism. That's a big agenda for a modern-day reader, let alone one from another culture. I'd stick with the short stories, some of which are very powerful. SANCTUARY is a potboiler and probably not worth your time.

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    1. Ron, thanks for your thoughts on Faulkner. I agree, he is not an easy author to read. This novel is set in the backdrop of slavery and racism and the word "nigger" is used frequently. I don't mind if Faulkner is a "challenge" so long as I'm able to understand what he has to say, which was a problem in the first 50-odd pages. He can be vague for an uninitiated reader like me. I intend to read his short stories, perhaps in a collection.

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