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About Binker

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    Dallas, Texas

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    Dallas, Texas
  • Current Book
    Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
  1. William Faulkner

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it Luna. Dan didn't at all, I liked it better than Dan did, but you liked it best. Thanks for reading with us.
  2. Vivek Shanghag

    It's also quite an amazing little read. Mr. HG and I don't always agree on our interpretations of the "truth" of a story, but I'm going to plunge in anyway. I agree with Mr. HG that this is worth reading. It's very short. I read it in an afternoon.
  3. William Faulkner

    I finished the book last night, through to the final resolutions. I think the last 2 paragraphs sum up Faulkner's attitude toward the South and its myths better than almost anything. And the last line is very telling about Quentin. Poor Quentin is unable to reconcile his highly conflicting emotions about the South as embodied in this book and I think that leads him to where we saw him in The Sound and the Fury. I think Absalom, Absalom takes place only a short time before the events of the Sound and the Fury just because they both concern Quentin's time at Harvard and his roommate appears in both. I've just re-visited the story of Absalom from the Bible. I knew he was David's son who began a revolt against David and who was killed while putting down that revolt. Despite his treachery, David is heartbroken and cries for "Absalom, my son, my son." But what I forgot was that Absalom had a sister Tamar who was raped by their older half-brother, Amnon and that Absalom killed Amnon 2 years later in revenge. Faulkner is known as an author of Southern Gothics and some of his books fall into that category more than others. This is one of the ones that does and it felt a bit much to me. I don't think The Sound and the Fury feels quite that much that way, which is probably why I prefer it. Still, a great read.
  4. William Faulkner

    Sometimes his prose feels overdone and then all of a sudden, I realize that it's NOT and that every word is important. Very interesting. Glad you are enjoying it. I've made very slow progress and am still in chapter 8. Of course there are only 9 chapters, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm near the end with any author, but particularly with Faulkner.
  5. Stefan Zweig

    I've ordered this on my tablet. I will let you know when I read it. Based on the almost 2 years that it took me to read Ghost River, that may not be right away. But it sounds great.
  6. Tony Birch

    That image of the rising water was very powerful, I agree. And I liked that the homeless men were not demonized. Kids that age would have been fascinated. I did not know that about Birch and have a very imperfect understanding of the issues of Aboriginals in Australia, but I have to assume that they are as bad as everywhere else. I once heard Stephen Jay Gould speak about what would have happened if Neanderthals had survived into the modern day so that you had 2 species of humans, one significantly less intelligent. He said (paraphrasing), "I like to think there would have been love and care, but the history of the human race tells me that differences result in concentration camps and mass sterilizations." Not saying Aboriginals are less intelligent, just that those kinds of differences never work in the favor of the people who are viewed as "lesser." At the time that Gould was speaking, the accepted scientific consensus was that the Neanderthals did not interbreed with our ancestors and so "Natural History" magazine had an article by some dimwit who started out saying, "I know that no part of my DNA comes from Neanderthals,..." and I thought, "I'm positive that's going to turn out to be false." And it has. Which means, had Neanderthals survived into the modern world as a separate species that there would have certainly been 1-drop rules. People are just awful.
  7. William Faulkner

    I'm in Chapter 8 and we have learned a LOT. My assumption about New Orleans was on the right track, but there was so much more than that. Faulkner does a great job of exploring class and race and where they intersect. And yet, he "kept clear of the sheets and hoods and night-galloping horses with which men who once his acquaintances even if not his friends discharged the canker suppuration of defeat." There are some themes the Faulkner explored in The Sound and the Fury that show up here as well. Brothers being obsessed with their sister's virginity, which Faulkner calls "a false quantity." The South having wasted everything that was great about it in defense of something as sinful as slavery, with Biblical language: "the South would realise that it was now paying the price for having erected its economic edifice not on the rock of stern morality but on the sifting sands of opportunism and moral brigandage." Side note: the Battle of Pittsburg Landing was the Yankee name for what is much more commonly called the Battle of Shiloh. Usually, Southern partisans made a point of calling the battles by the name of the nearest city or town whereas the Yankees called it by the nearest natural feature. It's...interesting...that Faulkner used the Yankee name, especially when the Confederate name is the one used widely. At the time, the Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest battle in American history, although there were 2 even bloodier battles to come.
  8. William Faulkner

    It wasn't so much rescinded as modified in a way Rosa considers unacceptable (with good reason). I'm sorry I've checked out on the discussion so far, but I'm still ahead of you. I think the longest sentence in the English language is in the next chapter.
  9. William Faulkner

    I think there is. I'm farther than this, but I've been out of town and work is swallowing me right now.
  10. William Faulkner

    I finished chapter 3 last night. We get a bit more detail about Rosa Coldfield's life and quite a lot of foreshadowing and unexplained occurrences that I think will ultimately be explained. Again, Quentin's father narrates. There's an excellent image of the coming catastrophe of the Civil War in a long sentence that I won't quote, but which begins, "Because the time now approached (it was 1860, even Mr. Coldfield probably admitted that war was unavoidable)." Which it was--it began in 1861. Sutpen raises a regiment with Colonel Sartoris and I must mention that the Sartoris family are also key players in Faulkner's fiction, as I am sure Luna knows from Flags in the Dust and I know from reading The Unvanquished in high school (the book we read to gird our loins for The Sound and the Fury). I think they appear in other books, too. This book is nowhere near as hard to follow as The Sound and the Fury, so I don't recommend that anyone read any spoilers until they've read the chapter themselves. You don't need my comments to understand what's going on.
  11. William Faulkner

    I've finished the second chapter and launched into the third. The second chapter is narrated by Quentin's father (as is the third) and tells the story of Sutpen's arrival, his construction of his house, and his attempts to marry into legitimacy. The town has decided they don't like him because they don't know where he comes from, which leads, inevitably, to assuming he's a bank robber or other criminal of some sort. That's certainly my response when I meet someone new for the first time. But I do think that it was the first response during that time in that place. And I'm still not sure from the book whether or not it was the correct response.
  12. Tony Birch

    Not quite 2 years later and I finally read it. It was, indeed, excellent. Thank you so much, Mr. HG because I would never have heard of this book, I'm sure, without your review. I grew up in an area that was not very affluent and on the very edge of development in Miami. We grew up with the nature that was casually polluted, but with pristine areas nearby, just as Ren and Sonny do. It was very common to find indigo snakes, which are very large, very docile, snakes, and pose with one across the shoulders of every child in the neighborhood. Since I was one of the little kids, my place was always near the tail. I hear from those that still live there that no one sees them anymore, which is a sad loss. I remember watching the big highway come through and being similarly outraged by the loss of wild areas for us to play in and indigos to live in. My older brother and I still reminisce about those days. So this book, despite being set very far away from where I grew up and in a place I've never visited and probably will never visit, felt like a little piece of my childhood.
  13. I finished this last night. What fun! Also, I think it's set around the time when I lived in the Bay Area (1982-1985). The description of certain areas, like North Beach, are exactly as I remember them and I think they have changed in the interim. The AIDS epidemic was just starting to be identified by people living in the area--the rest of the country seemed oblivious. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series, but have taken a page from CP's book and no longer read books in a series back-to-back..
  14. William Faulkner

    I have just finished the first chapter, which was neither as long nor as confusing as the first chapter of The Sound and the Fury. Really, how could it be? In any event, Quentin Compton (whom we remember from the second chapter of The Sound and the Fury) is telling someone about an invitation (but actually, a summons) he received from an older neighbor lady right before he returned to Harvard. He sat in her hot, closed-up house all afternoon and listened to her soliloquy about her family history. He can't figure out why she picked him and his father says that it's because she thinks their two families are intertwined in some way that Quentin's father doesn't fully understand. Quentin is, for now, much more coherent than he was in The Sound and the Fury. His relationship with his father, which I thought was his only healthy one in The Sound and the Fury, continues to be a good one. I am looking forward to continuing the book. According to Wikipedia: The 1983 Guinness Book of World Records says the "Longest Sentence in Literature" is a sentence from Absalom, Absalom! containing 1,288 words. The sentence can be found in Chapter 6; it begins with the words "Just exactly like father", and ends with "the eye could not see from any point". The passage is entirely italicized and incomplete.