As an English major, I had to take an entire class on William Faulkner. I hated him then and I still hate him now. Before taking this class I had read some of his short stories, which were halfway normal. Nothing to write home about but nothing to get all up in arms about either.
Then I was introduced to his novels. It wasn’t long before I started referring to him as the Dark Leader of Literature. I wore all black clothes and listened to the Darth Vader theme music on the way to class (I really did. It was like my own inside joke and helped me get through the misery).
I really really hated him.
If you’ve never read any of his books…you’re luckier than I am! Haha, I kid.
No I don’t. I wish I never heard of the guy… Anywho, in case you had nicer teachers than I did and you were never subjected to his work, Faulkner’s novels are written in some kind of wacky, stream-of-consciousness, incomprehensible way that lots of people think is brilliant but I think it just reads like old Willy was sniffing glue. Half the time you can’t figure out who the hell is talking and you can’t decipher what they are prattling on about.
Seriously, reading his books is like trying to solve a math problem. Not exactly fun to cozy up with a cup of tea. I was too busy throwing the book at the wall and shaking my fist at the sky (when I should have been shaking it at the ground. At least that’s where he should have ended up after putting me through a whole semester of torture.)
It just annoys me when people go on and on about how brilliant Faulkner is and about how his wonderful books are a superb commentary on the South and all that. I’m sure there’s some brilliance in there SOMEWHERE, but I’m too busy trying to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s hard to lose yourself in a story when you can’t even tell which character is talking and you find yourself fantasizing about setting the book on fire and slowly watching it burn….
I confess it’s been eighteen years since I took that class. I’m older, wiser, and have written five novels and ten screenplays (Fun Fact: William Faulkner was a failed screenwriter. Hahahahha! Sorry…back to the blog…) I’ve read a lot and written a lot since then. Perhaps I should go back and read some of his work as a mature adult to see if my opinion has changed.
Yeah. Not gonna happen.
If I’m not getting graded and I don’t have to write a paper on it, I’m not going near Faulkner’s books.
On the plus side, Faulkner’s dead so he can write any more books!
Sorry, that was mean. But I’m okay with it.
If you wanna talk classic literature, this guy is way more my speed.
“My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.” – Mark Twain
Suck it, Faulkner.
- Linda Fausnet
P.S. I wrote this article several years ago and I am happy to state that nothing has changed. I STILL hate William Faulkner, and have enjoyed my Faulkner-free years with much verve and gusto.
I was in Barnes and Noble a few years ago and, just for funsies, I took a look in the fiction section to see where my books might end up should I ever get traditionally published. Looking under the FAU fiction section, it dawned on me that my books would be smack dab right next to my good buddy Faulkner.
As a self-pubbed author, my work isn’t exactly on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. However, my debut novel *is* on the library shelves:
I get a huge kick out of the fact that my rainbow-colored novel about gay equality, QUEEN HENRY, is nestled snugly next to Faulkner’s “classic” novel, THE SOUND AND THE FURY.
I don’t know if Faulkner is chuckling or rolling in his grave, but this sure made me smile…