Thursday, January 20, 2011

Paperback 383: Sartoris / William Faulkner (Signet Giant S 1032)

Paperback 383: Signet Giant S1032 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Sartoris
Author: William Faulkner
Cover artist: James Avati

Yours for: $6

Sig1032.Sartoris

Best things about this cover:
  • "God I hate this bomber jacket. Her and her stupid aviator fixation. I keep telling her these went out of style in the late '80s, but ... god if I even look at her I swear I'm going to Snap! And why are those flowers in that stupid round bowl? I distinctly remember putting them in that giant glass pitcher by the bowl of app- ... hey, where are my apples!? My Apples!?"
  • I can't believe it's taken over 380 books for me to hit an Avati cover. He's one of the most prolific cover artists of all time. Seems like for about 7 years in there, every Signet cover was his. They are often beautiful, but very stiff and staid. Not dynamic and trashy the way I generally like 'em.

Sig1032bc.Sartoris

Best things about this back cover:
  • His mustache — it's actually the subject of his novel "The Unvanquished." Bet you didn't know that.
  • I have read exactly one Faulkner novel in my life: As I Lay Dying. It contained the sentence "My mother is a fish." That is all I remember about that novel. And yet I read every "Simpsons" comic that comes out. Did I mention I have a Ph.D. in literature from a major university?! Erudition!

Page 123~

"Damn ham-handed Hun," he said. "He never could fly anyway. I kept trying to keep him from going up there on that goddam popgun," and he cursed his dead brother savagely. Then he raised his glass again, but halted it halfway to his mouth. "Where in hell did my drink go?"

This actually makes me want to read the book. That so rarely happens with a Page 123.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

5 comments:

DemetriosX said...

Faulkner's actually a pretty good read (as long as you don't mind really long sentences). Try The Sound and the Fury or Absalom, Absalom. But don't try to read too many in a row; they start to grow annoying after a while.

I'm really bothered by that comma after "Valiant" in the description of Aunt Jenny. It has no business being there and it is especially jarring on a book for such a literary writer.

Bertilak said...

"I'm really bothered by that comma after "Valiant" in the description of Aunt Jenny."

DemetriosX,

That got me, too. (or should I say "That, got me, too"?)

I had to glance ahead to get a feel for the general concept of what those paragraphs were doing and then read it two or three times to figure out that it only made sense if that extraneous comma was left out. The italics were the giveaway.

Also, how does Aunt Jenny go about reciting the family history? Does she recite it to us, the readers, or to the family at the dinner table? Maybe this crazy old aunt does her recitatrions while walking down the street, murmuring to herself, perhaps pushing a shopping cart loaded with all her possessions?

Deb said...

Rex--far be it from me to suggest what a Ph.D. should be reading, but I think you owe it to yourself to read a bit more Faulkner than you have read thus far. Actually, SARTORIS is not a bad place to begin, although (as noted above) THE SOUND AND THE FURY is the one you should definitely add to your queue. If you like pot-boilers (of a sort), THE OLD MAN & THE WILD PALMS (two novellas that were published together) is (are?) very readable.

/Not a Ph.D., merely a B.A.

//Have also seen every Simpsons episode ever.

nfgusedautoparts said...

Sartoris is one of Faulkner's first novels, and the first of his Mississippi novels. It was originally named _Flags in the Dust_ and was cut considerably by the editor before publication as _Sartoris_. This book is where he started to find his legs as a novelist; _The Sound and the Fury_ would soon follow.

Michael5000 said...

I don't really ~get~ Faulkner. Maybe I should try again now that I've been reeding moor thik buks.