Friday, April 27, 2012

First Line Viernes

Alas, it's time to look at a first line from a reputable novel once again.  And this novel is very reputable.  Of course, it's none other than Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying," which commences as follows:

"Jewel and I came up from the field, following the path in single file."

Now, I have the same sentiments toward this first line as I do the rest of the novel; indifference.  This first line does nothing for me, although I find it acceptable.  Simply acceptable.  Not stellar, not intriguing, not even interesting.  I struggle with ol Faulkner (perhaps because I am a self-proclaimed Hemingway-phile).  Perhaps I have lost my mind and am just now exposing my literary merit as weak, but Faulkner, to me, is simply bleh.

If you are a Faulkner connoisseur, PLEASE help me!

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I'm no expert, but this book may have been my favorite read of all of last year. (Remember this post?)

    Having said that, I originally tried to read it three years ago, and gave up. Maybe the timing just wasn't right.

    As for the first line, it's not great. If I remember correctly, the first few paragraphs could basically have been accomplished by one sentence, but Faulkner goes on and on about how Darl leads the way through the field and walks around the cottonhouse while Jewel steps straight through it, and blah, blah, blah.

    (But on second thought, maybe it shows just how different Jewel is from the rest of the family, since we learn later that he has a different father)

    Anyhow, the real hook is a few paragraphs in, when you get to the mystery of the sawing.