Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Jewel and I come up from the field, following the path in single file. Although I am fifteen feet ahead of him, anyone watching us from the cotton-house can see Jewel's frayed and broken straw hat above my own."

Yesterday I received my mystery copy of AS I LAY DYING from New Zealand and am making reaquaintance with William Faulkner in what I consider to be one of his more accessible novels. Others would disagree. A friend once read a review in which someone compared Faulkner to Joyce and that put him off ever picking up any Faulkner novel at all. Mention Bloomsday to him, and he bursts into hysterical laughter.

Sometimes I just feel like taking a chance and this book, as advertised, gave nothing much away. The seller did not mention a publisher, a date or even any thing specific about the condition. He only hinted that it would be - at least - a good reading copy and - at best - an extremely nice copy. It wasn't too expensive, so I ordered it. Sort of like in the days when your wife was expecting a baby and neither of you knew whether it was going to be a boy or a girl.

When it arrived, it turned out to be a sound Chatto & Windus 2nd printing from 1952 with only a little foxing on the page edges and no odors. Not bad, and I am quite happy with it. It's a good size, too, fitting into a pocket.

So now I will, once again, follow the Bundren family with all of their myriad agendas as they make their journey to bury their mother.

And if all goes well, perhaps I will give The Reivers another try.

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