Sunday, February 15, 2004

Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner

I think this is Faulkner’s first book and there were parts I actually liked. I know, I know, Faulkner is supposed to be everyone’s favorite American author, but I always have a hard time getting into his books. The way he writes, it’s like nothing sinks in, it just kind of skims across the surface. I’m not sure I liked this book so much as I like the book it could have been. Donald Mahon comes back wounded, scarred, and dying from World War I and the buzz of small town life goes on its merry way around him, oblivious to the fact that the war has changed him. Small town life even tries to ensnare him in its petty machinations and does not notice in its self-absorption that he has become something outside of it and has grown beyond its influence. That’s the book I wanted this to be. There was some of that in there, but not enough for my tastes.

And that is already the curse of our civilization—Things, Possessions, to which we are slaves, which require us to either labor honestly as least eight hours a day or do something illegal so as to keep them painted or dressed in the latest mode or filled with whisky or gasoline.

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