Category Archives: william faulkner

Faulkneresque

To paraphrase something that I have just read recently, few authors who walk under Faulkner's shadow ever actually climb back out of it, but here's one who might have pulled off the trick. From a review of Lark and Termite in The Guardian:

In the epigraph to her new novel, Jayne Anne Phillips acknowledges a debt to Faulkner's complex multi-voiced The Sound and the Fury. Phillips's decision to document the mental processes of the character Termite, who, like Faulkner's Benjy Compson, is unable to speak, as well as her non-chronological plot, which includes quasi-incestuous relationships and a suicide, suggest a species of homage. But Faulkner is dark and Gothic and his characters and all their works are doomed, whereas the triumph of virtue and innocence that concludes the adventures of the eponymous Lark and Termite has a very different effect. That said, this is not a cheerful book. . . .

The plot, unspooled through the musings of these characters, is complex, but since the novel is not in any important sense about the plot, it doesn't matter if you don't catch every frame. What comes through in a densely gathering cloud of images is the revelation that these characters are more than just related. Images in the mind of one reappear in the mind of another. They are emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and cosmically connected

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