LITERATURE: The Reivers – Connections

Fifty pages in, yet I do not feel the Faulkner magic, the connection with the characters and the place. It makes me wonder if mood is relative, if perhaps reality must be left behind to become totally absorbed with his stories–it's been a while.

There is one trick that Faulkner uses here that I hadn't seen in other novels (of his) I've read: the story starts with "Grandfather said" in bold subtitle and from there the story unwinds as told by the Grandfather to the narrator (odd, but true if you take the subtitle at face value). Faulkner then uses parenthesis to clarify some statements that would qualify as "asides." These bring the reader into a more intimate situation whereby he, together with the narrator, are fed details in a one-to-one basis.

Unfortunately, I have been finding this parenthesized "asides" rather annoying. The story is loaded with characters, of which Boon, the child who is the narrator's grandfather, and the grandfather are paramount to the story so far, but which seem to clutter the action. The action being a simple setup of place and situation and the focus an automobile and the status of the hierarchy of the family, the business, and the employees. These "asides" are halting; as if to remind me that not only is a tidbit being offered, but that it is the grandfather who is telling the story.  I can read no more than a page or two at a time.

So, will Faulkner redeem himself in my literary opinion or shall I merely plod through a classic story told by a master storyteller for the homage due him?

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4 Responses to LITERATURE: The Reivers – Connections

  1. Pete says:

    You’ve officially crossed the barrier of what’s known as “The 50 Page Rule” – if a book hasn’t engaged or otherwise won you over within the first 50 pages, you may abandon it in good conscience. I don’t invoke the rule very often, but it’s always nice to have it handy.

  2. susan says:

    I’m going to give it one more day before I give up. I hate not finishing–and particularly a Faulkner whom I love–but when I find myself avoiding a book it’s necessary to realize that I could better spend the time reading something else.

  3. Lisa Kenney says:

    Bah. Faulkner taunts me with an accent from his grave. I made it through AS I LAY DYING a few years ago and I kind of, sort of enjoyed it. THE SOUND AND THE FURY I threw across the room, maybe another one too. Why do I feel bad about myself because I can’t get into him the way I see other people doing it? I’m so glad he’s a drag to you right now too. 🙂

  4. susan says:

    AILD was great, and I too threw TSATF across the room a few times before I finished it! And then I did indeed fall hard for Faulkner.

    This one, though, just doesn’t have the depth that attracts me to the characters and it just goes on about what could have been depicted in a few pages, but I’ll stick with it so it doesn’t glare at me from the shelf.

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