Re: The World's Most Difficult Books?
I've had similar reading experiences with The Sound and the Fury....
... and although it seems that there's now a viewpoint around that we are able somehow to more easily assimilate it nowadays because we are used to the fractured narratives approach found in cinema etc... I disagree.
I had to read and reread Faulkner's masterpiece, and in the end in a way just let go, by that I simply mean, because the writing mirrors the movement of the human mind, memory, experience, I feel a reading where you let it flow over you, or even into you, is as good an approach as any... and it may still .... wait.... will confuse.
But repeat reads reward! (please forgive the alliteration!))
The "cultural content" aspect of Flint's list above is a big stumbling block, it was for me at least and is with Faulkner generally I feel? It's not just the whole southern gothic thing, it's the times and struggles (now quite distant and localised), the attitudes in the south during that era and this is especially pertinent with sectiojns of The Sound and the Fury . A bit of b.g. on Faulkner's south, the politics and plight of the old southern families, etc, was very useful for me. Without that - the motives and writing can be a obscure.
As I Lay Dying is another structural masterpiece. I read it pretty much in one sitting, and what I love about Faulkner is the endless experimentation, something that I was initially put off by with Joyce, whom I still struggle with, but wasn't there with Faulkner whom I also struggle with of course.
Nb, I have read some Chinese literature, and although it's in translation, "The Story of the Stone" for example, and some shorter anthol pieces, I think that supported by some small effort at assimilation of a little history and Chinese culture *WE* are easily able to appreciate it, and I can't be bothered to explain why, we just do this well as human beings, frighteningly well at times.
Last edited by Hamlet; 18-Aug-2012 at 11:22.
Reason: some pruning
"Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard"
Myth of Sysyphus ~ by Albert Camus