“As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner

AsILayDyingWikipedia says that this is William Faulkner’s fifth novel and one which is ranked among the best novels of 20th-century literature. Trivia fans might be interested to hear that the author claimed to have written the book from midnight to 4:00 AM over the course of six weeks and without changing a word of it. Lovers of the Classics may recognise the title as deriving from Homer’s The Odyssey, when Agamemnon speaks to Odysseus: “As I lay dying, the woman with the dog’s eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.”

The story concerns the death of Addie Bundren and her poor, rural family’s quest and motivations – noble or selfish – to honour her wish to be buried in her hometown of Jefferson, Mississippi. So far so simple, but the novel utilizes stream of consciousness writing technique and 15 different narrators.

We read this in May 2015, when four people attended the meeting. Three readers really enjoyed the book and thought it showed high literary skill and observation. The one exception thought that reading the book was like watching an episode of Jeremy Kyle!

A couple of extra readers who couldn’t make the meeting, nonetheless sent in their scores. This resulted in an average score of 6.2, based on 6 readers.

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