Absalom, Absalom! is probably Faulkner’s greatest and most difficult novel covering the rise and fall of the Sutpen dynasty and a great allegory of the rise and fall of the Old South.
The book told through three interconnected narratives tells the life story of Thomas Sutpen. The story simultaneously covers the rise of the Old South. The narratives are not straight forward and present a constant disturbing challenge to the reader (Dyslexics beware!). But if the one does not close the book in despair the rewards are great indeed.
The mood of the storytelling alone is worth the price of admission here. The long flowing sentences are marvels and testaments to Faulker’s skill as a writer. The narrative drive makes reading the book almost like reading an epic Greek tragedy. We get multidimensional views of Sutpens life from several townspeople and also across generations.
Complete this and you would have certainly accomplished something. You don’t so much read this novel as you become lost in it. Jump in get your feet wet and prepare for some of the most intense Southern gothic that you are ever likely to read.
First time readers of Faulkner would probably want to test the water by dipping your toes into As I Lay Dying or The Sound and the Fury first.