Monday, August 26, 2013

Five books that are like country and western songs

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Nicole Hill suggested five books that, like country and western songs, tell "stories of agony and ecstasy, soaring highs and mighty powerful lows, heartache and hard living," including:
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

Faulkner’s roundtable of misery hits all the same sour notes as the best singers to grace the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. In this saddest of road-trip stories, the Bundren family embarks on an odyssey to bury matriarch Addie. It’s darkly comic, with the trauma of his mother’s death confusing young Vardaman into uttering one of the book’s most memorable lines: “My mother is a fish.” It’s a defeatist kind of humor—there is irony in the bleakness—in the same vein as all of Nashville’s deprecating barroom bawls (“And as the door behind you closes, the only thing I know to say, it’s been a good year for the roses.”) You could try your hand at tackling Absalom, Absalom!, but wouldn’t you ruther have some bananas with the Bundrens?

Mama died, and Anse can’t stand it/Mama died, we think she planned it/Mama died, she ain’t here no more/Mama died, and Cash is a Jesus metaphor
Read about another novel on the list.

As I Lay Dying is on Laura Frost's list of the ten best modernist books (in English), Helen Humphreys's top ten list of books on grieving, John Mullan's list of ten of the best teeth in literature, Jon McGregor's list of the top ten dead bodies in literature, Roy Blount Jr.'s list of five favorite books of Southern humor, and James Franco's six best books list.

The “My mother is a fish.” chapter in As I Lay Dying is among the ten most notorious parts of famous books according to Gabe Habash.

--Marshal Zeringue