Light in August will live forever in my mind as the only novel we were assigned in the spring of 1994 in AP English that I actually finished and enjoyed. The rest were, well, I’m just hoping when we get to Lord Jim that I don’t give up on the whole blogging thing rather than finish it. Unfortunately, that’s basically all I remember about Light in August—I finished it. And it takes place in the South. And there are race-relation issues.
In college I took a Faulkner class, primarily so I would finally be forced to read The Sound and the Fury, and secondarily so I would have help deciphering it. I was terrified at the thought of reading Faulkner on my own, but especially The Sound and the Fury.
I am certain I’m not alone in my fear of Faulkner. But why is he so frightening, really? I can’t remember. Is it the language? The symbolism? The stream-of-consciousness narration? The multiple points of view? For heaven’s sake! None of those things are deal breakers. Ultimately, Faulkner tells amazing stories. His novels aren’t easy reads, but shouldn’t figuring it all out be part of the fun? At least that’s the attitude I’m taking as I embark on my first reading of Faulkner without an expert to help me through. But then, my co-blogger is not unfamiliar with the interpretation of great works of literature, so probably I’ll be able to muddle through.
I was shocked in grad school when I LOVED The Sound and the Fury. I still think that as long as you know what the italics are for and how to decipher the switches between the four narrators it is his most accessibly novel. Absalom, Absalom! on the other hand is impossible!
I just looked in my Faulkner syllabus from college. We read The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, and Go Down, Moses. Also some short stories. Seems like we should have read more novels. It was only a ten week quarter and all, but when I took the Toni Morrison class we read The Bluest Eye, Tar Baby, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and Sula.
I don’t remember my feelings about Absalom, Absalom! at all. I looked at my papers from that class and I know I opted to not write about it, which means that there’s a distinct possibility I didn’t get it.
It’s totally impossible. I just stared at it for a while and then and went and sat in my professor’s office for a couple of hours while he summarized it. I don’t think he even really expected me to get it.
On the other hand, I am loving Light in August so far and feeling like a dumbass for sort of dreading it. What about you?
I was liking it a lot (again), but then I got home and had to start working on posts. Haven’t read in a couple days. So annoying. About to post one review though. Hooray!