As I Lay Dying- Book Review

as-i-lay-dyingThere is no beating around the bush with this one. It is the most frustrating, awful book I have ever read. If you want to read something confusing as hell and utterly pointless, then this is the perfect book for you. Otherwise steer clear!

I had to read this for uni- otherwise I never would have bothered trawling through the whole thing. It’s the typical poncey garbage they always put on a university syllabus. It’s the kind of book that up-themselves professors swear is “revolutionary” and “ground-breaking”, but that anyone with half a brain just calls boring. It’s the kind of book that no one else in their right mind would want to endure. Obviously, this book is perfect for academic tossers who have forgotten what great literature can make you feel, instead obsessing over circular, redundant questions and irrelevant, minute details. I swear it’s people like that who are keeping this book alive. Otherwise I can imagine it would have died a quick death.

Unfortunately reading this felt like being tortured, very, very slowly, to death. It felt like being flogged over and over with the same dreadfully dull musings. If it was Faulkner’s intention to make you feel like you were part of the funeral procession, then he did a great job, because I certainly felt like I was trudging along, hoping that death would take me before I reached the end. And then- lo and behold- the destination is about as random as you’d expect in a book as pretentious this. (Spoilers- one of the characters is mad, or maybe not, I don’t know- I’d lost the will to care by the end).

Not that I’d understood half of what went on in the book. Faulkner seems to delight in keeping his readers in the dark. I’m sure that is supposed to represent something deep and meaningful- like “how can we ever be certain what is going on in real life?” or “how can we ever know where we stand?”- but honestly, that is not why I read. I read because I am hoping the author will convey something to me- not dance around going “nah nah nah nah nah- you don’t know what’s happening!” It’s just infuriating.

Anyway, if you do have such an issue with words and meaning, why write a book? No seriously, if you don’t believe words successfully convey meaning, then why bother? Why not just play the flute or paint a picture? Or bake a cake? Why torment us with this arduous nonsense?

I actually looked up to see if Faulkner was alive or dead after finishing this- because I desperately wanted to know why he had bothered writing this drivel. I doubt he’d have given a straight answer anyway. In the meantime, since, according to Faulkner, words are not a good enough way to express oneself, I shall show my disdain for his book “symbolically”, by chucking it in the bin.

Rating: 0/5 bananas (one hungry orang-utan)

8 thoughts on “As I Lay Dying- Book Review

    1. hahaha yeah that goes for most pretentious books- that’s a wonderful way to put it 🙂 Gosh haven’t thought of this book in a while- but every time I think about it I just go “whyyy, why faulkner, whyy did you write this??????” I mean, why would anyone write a book about how words are inadequate? It’s paradoxical and ridiculous- it kind of makes me want to cry how pretentious that is as a concept


        1. ah well they were still great- well quoted 🙂 sure the synopsis is really short. A lady called addie dies. She asked her husband to bury her where she was born. Her whole (disfunctional) family makes the journey. That’s the jist of it- nothing else happens (except things that don’t make sense). Even the professor that taught me this (and loved it) agreed there was no plot.


  1. Well, speaking on behalf of all the less-than-half-brained others out there such as myself, I love the book and regard it as the masterpiece that it is. And I’m quite surprised, based on other reviews of yours I’ve read, that you despise it like you do.

    Human nature I guess… we tend to look unfavorably on that which we do not understand.


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