19 July 2012

Could this help with my Faulkner phobia?


I have not had success trying to read Faulkner's work. I read about 2/3rds of Absalom, Absalom in grad school. And then when Oprah read three of his, I bought the Oprah editions thinking if her viewers could do it, so could I. Except I didn't.

But now, the Folio Society has a version of The Sound and the Fury that uses colored ink to differentiate between the different time periods in the novel. I think I would find this quite helpful. But I don't think I am ready to pay $345 for one book from an author whose work has not proven successful for me.  I wonder if I could buy a cheap copy and get out the highlighters...

Apparently, this is the way Faulkner wanted to publish it but the technology of the time didn't allow.


  1. I can relate to your Faulkner phobia but mine was linked to The Great Gatsby. Tried 3 times to read that book and kept hearing about its brilliance but could not make it work for me. Then I listened to the unabridged audio book (no cheating here) and I just fell into it. It was wonderful. The whole book came alive. Maybe you need to visit Faulkner with a different sense not vision..or maybe it's just, Oh well, these things happen. Pam

  2. I've heard that it is helpful, but I haven't read that one (in any version) yet. For Faulknerphobes, though, I always recommend Light in August or The Reivers. Much more readable, and The Reivers is downright charming.

  3. At $345, apparently the technology of this time doesn't seem amenable either.

  4. Are there really four time periods on one double page??

    I've not even tried reading Faulkner...

  5. Well, I tried with Oprah back in the day. Read the first one, but couldn't make myself crack the other two. Obviously, I'm not much help. I'm not sure I would know how to highlight the pages without someone telling me. :o

    I still have my Oprah editions, but for now I have set them aside as not worth the effort with so many other good things to read.

  6. Wow! That's quite amazing. I have a copy of The Neverending Story that is in red and green for the different parts.
    I love Faulkner, but haven't read him in late years. I have a feeling the sad facts would be harder to take now. That said, I keep thinking I should. I have a whole shelf. I've read most of them.

  7. I forced myself thru "As I Lay Dying" and couldn't understand the attraction.

    That doesn't mean I won't try again, but there are so many things to read.

  8. A few years ago I read As I Lay Dying and was utterly confused by all the different narrators. I tried an audiobook with different actors for each part which really helped, and I broke down and went on Oprah's website. One of the vlogs was a professor who said it was "OK if we didn't get the book the first time reading it" -- implying that I'd be reading it a second time!!

    I did make it through that one finally and ended up rather enjoying it, but I got bored with Absalom and utterly confused by Sound & Fury, could not get through 20 pages without giving up in disgust. I have too many classics unread that I'll probably enjoy.

    I like your idea of highlighters but of course you'd need to know when all the narrators change. Good luck and keep us posted on that!

  9. And I thought I was the only one who harbored a fear of Faulkner. Even though I managed to read all of Absalom, I have no idea what it was I read. Even a multicolored book isn't going to make me read him anytime soon!

  10. I only read on and that was a tough going but I will try him again just hope a cheaper version of this one comes out in a year or two ,all the best stu

  11. Seeing all those colors on one page spread- no wonder I got confused trying to read this book! I have not had any success reading Faulkner, and this just reiterates why to me.

  12. Pam: The thing is with Gatsby is at least it is linear and easy to follow.

    Tiffany: I feel like if I read "easy" Faulkner, I don't really get to count it as reading Faulkner.

    Stefan: You have a very good point.

    Simon: I know, crazy isn't it.

    Susan: I got rid of my Oprah editions when I felt like they were mocking me.

    Nan: I am starting to feel up to the Faulkner challenge, with or without colored words.

    Glenn: I think I got some ways into AILD, but then set it aside when I got the chapter that began "My mother is a fish..."

    Karen: I am beginning to think I may give him a go at some point.

    Farheen: Based on what people have commented here, most people seem a little frightened of him.

    Stu: Hopefully a cheaper version will come out.

    Jeane: I feel energized to to give him another go, but I can't guarantee it will be anytime soon.

  13. I like the idea of the colored text. The Sound and Fury actually put me off Faulkner for a good many years. I read it in college and it proved to be the bane of my existence. I did much better with As I Lay Dying since it didn't have the stream of consciousness thing going on like in this one.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.