As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This frightening indictment of human nature lays bare the sinister side of stupidity.
Each adult member of this miserable family brings his or her own private brand of malevolence to bear on the disastrous trail to their mother’s final resting place.
Poverty blunts their judgement and cripples their humanity, but it does not make me feel sorry for them. Hard lives have cut them into a dreadful, permanent spirit of the horror-struck, yet I felt no pity. Rather, it was as though I had been dropped into the middle of a long, disturbing scene from Deliverance. I hated the Bundrens. Five minutes into this book, I wanted out. But Faulkner gave me one thing to hold onto. Cash. This character is why I kept reading. Cash is the only Bundren with redeeming qualities. I guess he represents hope in a sea of squalor.
Some have described Faulkner’s writing as courageous but I think it is an act of reprehension – a long, prosecuting finger pointed at all of humanity.
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