Re: RARA-AVIS: Faulkner's Style

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 15 Jul 2003

What I find most remarkable in Faulkner's style is his way of giving you information in bits, and the bits are not underlined but embedded in his telling. I remember one long sentence in a story, only at the end of which it said something like "And that's why he took an axe and chopped her head off". He knew how to prepare the ground and maintain tension.

I wish I could say the same about Henry James. Great plots, rock-solid stories, but the weight of the telling sinks them. Miraculously, Faulkner's stuff floats.(Not so miraculously, because he's using the storytelling authority of the Southern who tells, sets, sips and tells some more.)

If you want the golden mean between Hemingway and Faulkner, Steinbeck might be it.

Have you heard that East of Eden is the #1 paperback bestseller on the NY Times ranking? I found this fact very surprising and even thought there was a mistake somewhere. It's not a trivial book. It's a great book.



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