Literary Free Store

“When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight o’clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch.

It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said, Quentin, I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reductio ad absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father’s.

I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it.

Because no battle is ever won he said.  They are not even fought.  The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.”

What about woman?  What does the field reveal for her?  The same?  No time for that right now.

William Faulkner 1897 – 1962.  The Sound and the Fury.  One of the books that ruined my life.   Everybody’s back and we hope you had a fabulous vacation.  That smoke, though.

Not exactly ruined.  More like started me down that road.  A slow, spiralling descent through madness and ennui ending, sadly, in jobs in bookstores.  Gnn…

The problem was nothing else was that interesting.  Those golden moments in literature. It still left room for interest in other things, but not that kind of interest.  Thanks, though.

Who started that stupid expression?  “Thanks, though.”

Would you like an ice pick in the forehead?  How about a free bag?

“No.  Thanks, though.

It’s like when some ponus-sporting fat-gut you’ve never seen before in your life asks how you are and you say “okay” and he says, “Just okay?”

Just okay?

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

Gabriel García Márquez  1927 – 2014.  Cien años de soledad.

Also known as One Hundred Years of Solitude.  A great book.

With Faulkner anything else I read or tried to read just seemed boring after “The Sound and the Fury.”  The book, or novel, is in four parts.

The first part is a day in April 1928, the second part is eighteen years earlier on a day in June, the third part is the day before the day of the first part, part four is the day after the day of the first part.

Why are three of the four parts set in 1928?  Who knows?  Why is part one narrated by somebody who sounds like he’s really messed up?  I mean the guy is deranged.  He’s a retard, as the expression used to have it.  “Mentally challenged” is the expression now, but let’s face it.  He’s an idiot.

Why did Faulkner do that?  I mean, besides to irritate people?  Which would include anybody who thought they knew the kind of novel “Count no-account”, as people called him in his youth, was going to write.

Why the book all scrambled up like that, boss?

The book is complex but that’s okay.  Art mimics life.  Life is complex even when there are those trying to make it look simple for you.  Faulkner got that and you should too.  I did.

I loved Marquez but it was the same feeling.  Years later, as I faced the prospect on our honeymoon of a long and happy life with mi esposa, I read his Love In the Time of Cholera.

El amor en los tiempos del cólera.  

I read all of it all the way through but it just wasn’t the same, okay?  Something about “a wagon driver’s fart” somewhere near the end is all I can remember of the entire big novel. It had nowhere near the impact of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

And chopping wood and living on the beach for a week in our little 1930s cabin.  I remember that too.  It was from the 1930s and we were in our 30s so that worked out okay.

Author: Steven Brown


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