To this day, I still read Faulkner with a pen and paper in hand, diagramming character relationships and the chronology of events as if I were a trying to an answer a question on the LSAT. More times that not, I find that I actually enjoy the second reading of his stories because Im not so busy trying to figure such basic elements as who is speaking to whom. Before you read his novels or Collected Stories, I recommend that you become familiar, if you arent already, with the words anathema, apotheosis, sibilant, and effluvium. But he held us stationary at the pile, his glazed hat lifted, spouting his fine and cadenced folly as though the lock, the Thames, time and all, belonged to him, while Sabrina (or Hebe or Chloe or whatever name he happened to be calling Corinthia at the time) with her dairy-maids complexion and her hair like mead poured in sunlight stood above us in one endless succession of neat print dresses, her hand on the lever and one eye on George and the other on the yawl, saying Yes, milord dutifully whenever George paused for a breath. It goes without saying, then, that enjoying Faulkner isnt a passive activity, at least not on the first reading (or diagramming). Before tackling his Collected Stories (a nine-hundred-page volume of veritable code) you should be forewarned that all of his novels, except one, were out of print until he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. Such irony underscores the premise that most people dont read Faulkner so much as they study and appreciate him. Others, quite simply, are poorly crafted with unrealistic dialogue (in the sense that it replicates Fraulkners southern gothic narrative style and not how people speak) and too many characters, nameless and otherwise, for the medium of a short story, if not a novel. And while I dont think any modern reader with a cable and internet subscription would attempt this entire volume without either 1) Having a gun at his head, or 2) an English paper due, I suspect that many of these stories, if anthologized or reduced to a compendium, might win Faulkner a few converts. I can safely recommend eleven of these stories: 1) A Rose for Emily, 2) Dry September, 3) Victory, 4) The Evening Sun 5) Dr. Martino 6) Artist at Home, 7) The Brooch 8) Golden Land 9) Crevasse, 10) Two Soldiers, and 11) Barn Burning. Secondly, Faulkners a damn good story-teller when he doesnt let his writing get in the way. I certainly enjoy his novels more than his short stories.
When I think of it, the reason these stories work so much better than his novels is that his style, with the cadence and razor sharp imagery of poetry, creates a dramatic tension that is probably impossible to sustain in a longer work.
I think the writing is different to Faulkner's novels, which are more demanding and have a cinematic structure which I like.
I've been told Fitzgerald is the epitome of a short story writer. Stories I liked: "Hair" "Dry September": Reminded me so much of a twisted version of To Kill a Mockingbird I wondered if Harper Lee was in anyway influenced by this short story.
Both wrote strong short stories, some of which are among the very best short stories written in the past century.
For many years I read the novels of William Faulkner and both lamented and loved his deliberately obfuscatory prose. Faulkner once said that he was a "failed poet" and although I have yet to ready his poetry I somewhat understood what he meant through reading this book. Due to lack of shelf space, I decided to just go with the Kindle version but realized that reading Faulkner properly requires a proper traditional book in front of you or at least a better Kindle version. And even if you are like me, finding that you sometimes like Faulkner but other times don't, you will inevitable come across at least one or two amazing sentences in EACH story in this book, ones that will leave you breathless or having you go back and reread them to catch a glimpse of their beauty before they fade before your eyes.
William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer.