Sunday, October 25, 2009

Absolutely, Absolutely, Absalomy!

(In the midst of reading Absalom, Absalom, William Faulkner)

What was not expected in this novel adventure was the extreme longevity of rather rambling and sometimes incoherent thoughts and impressions of a person yet to be clearly identified, since the opus is written in first person, and the individual speaking often seems to change, depending on whether a new chapter is beginning; yet it all seems to flow one thought into another, till you've quite lost your way and are wondering where the beginning began, if there was one, and who was there and how they were feeling--whether it was the older woman urged on by the lateness of her life and the stirrings of her conscience to reveal dark and bitter past events, events that were unlawful to be spoken of, events that shamed perhaps or scandalized--that is yet to be revealed; or whether is is the young lad who comes as some sort of scribe to lay down on paper the troubled memories of an aging spinster, who may be wanting to clear her conscience or clear the names of long dead relations or clear the air of pollution from wickedness, treachery and deceit--it isn't clear. William Faulkner certainly possesses a vocabulary to be admired, an unlimited stream of thoughts, dreams, fears and anxieties, as well as revelations, ramblings and eccentric trivia that clutters memories and what really happened--if it can ever be known; and do we want it to be known, all the closed-door tragedies that have been sealed off so that wounds can heal, or just fester till death consumes what is left; do we want known even the tender intimacies that are no one's business but our own, the pointless mistakes that embarrass, the missed opportunities that we call regret; the lack of charity that if indulged in would have gotten us cannonized?

I struggle with Faulker. I am not nearly finished. I am not sure I understand what I have finished. I will keep you posted...


John Lynch said...

Nice try, but your sentences are too short and you don't have a thirty line parenthetical in the middle. ;)

Absalom, Absalom gets stronger as it goes on. I didn't think I was gonna make it until Chapter Six. From then on, it's simply amazing.

Lisa said...

I'm getting close to that point. And you're right--I was aware that my sentences were too short. I am no William Faulkner--at some point I need to come up for air.