Quentin Compson and Shreve, his Harvard room-mate, are obsessed by the tragic rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen.
As a poor white boy, Sutpen was turned away from a plantation owner's mansion by a negro butler.
From then on, he was determined to force his way into the upper echelons of Southern society.
His relentless will ensures his ambitions are soon realised; land, marriage, children.
But in after the chaos of Civil War, secrets from his own past threaten to destroy everything he has worked for.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 384 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 19/01/1995
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099475118
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Review by ZacJohnston
I have read As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Light in August. However, Absalom, Absalom! is by far my favourite Faulkner. Indeed, without hesitation I would put it among the greatest books I have ever read. I feel Absalom is almost neglected behind As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury, the former of which I still consider a stunning piece of writing, but neither contain the towering, epic and biblical passages of which Absalom is entirely constructed. All the things I love about Faulkner come together most completely in this book and resonate so deeply and heavily: Mythical characters of the South that embody its underlying filth and decay; the scenery and landscape which you can feel sweltering and shimmering around you; the grand passages of such intense writing that builds up and up so confidently without faltering it shows no sign of collapsing under its own ambition. Most clearly in Absalom is the style Cormac McCarthy is so overtly influenced by, which through his career he worked and moulded into his own. The overall structure to Absalom's story also bears resemblance to One Hundred Years of Solitude (another of my all-time favourites), in that it details the rise and fall of an empire of sorts, told in the style of a legend. Utterly recommended to anyone serious about literature.