Generally I like quite much Kaari Utrio's books. She's quite well known in Finland writing historical fiction.
The twists and turns of a large extended family that revolves around one character in one way or another while showing the change of life in Mississippi over the course of 80 years. Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner is a novel constructed around seven interconnected short stories revolving around the McCaslin family and relations.
The novel begins with “Was” relating how one night’s search for an escaped slave ultimately leads to the birth of the book’s central character, Isaac “Uncle Ike” McCaslin, and his Beauchamp relations who are descended from McCaslin’s grandfather with a black slave. “The Fire and the Hearth” follows Lucas Beauchamp, a black sharecropper who is farming his McCaslin’s ancestor’s land and getting away with treating the white landowner Roth Edmonds with bare contempt. “Pantaloon in Black” follows Rider who lives on Roth Edmond’s plantation who buries his wife then after seeing her ghost essentially goes suicidal as he kills a white man who’s been cheating blacks at dice for years and gets lynched. “The Old People” follows a ten-year old Isaac McCaslin killing his first deer on his first hunt with help from Sam Feathers, a son of a Chickasaw chief and a black slave-girl, who then leads him to an old tribal ritual to mark him becoming a hunter. “The Bear” follows Isaac over the next several years as he and the hunting group attempt to kill Old Ben, which only succeeds after they get a feral terrier named Lion that brings the bear to bay to allow to kill. Afterwards Isaac goes over his family’s history and decides to sign over his plantation to his cousin McCaslin Edmonds, Roth’s grandfather. “Delta Autumn” sees a nearly 80-year Isaac go on another hunting trip but with the sons and grandsons of the first hunting group seen in “The Old People”, he learns that Roth has had an affair and child with a black woman who turns out to be a distant Beauchamp cousin. The titular “Go Down, Moses” follows Gavin Stevens as he arranges the return and burial of Lucas Beauchamp’s executed grandson at the instigation of Lucas’ wife.
The quality of each story is up and down with “The Old People” read like the best followed by “Was”. Every other story really wasn’t that good, and some were just frustrating, especially “The Bear”. “The Bear” was compelling until the final third when Faulkner changed writing styles as Isaac explores his family history before giving away his land to his cousin while still taking care of his Beauchamp relations. Faulkner’s writing style decisions either made the stories good or frustrating, but I must admit that all of them did have some compelling things.
Go Down, Moses is not considered one of William Faulkner’s best works by many of his fans. While I can’t speak to that, I know I was not a fan of this book. This is many second Faulkner book and both have not been to my liking, I may read another Faulkner book several years in a future but nothing soon.
Author/Narrator: Roxane Gay
Time: 02:46 (166 mins)
Powerful. Haunting. Amazing. Haitian-American is not my experience, but I feel through the author's words--hearing them in her own voice figuratively and literally--I got a taste of what it is to live the Haitian-American experience. While I'll never truly know, this collection of short stories makes me wish I could. I wish we could all just immerse ourselves into other cultures so that we could learn from them and appreciate them and our own more.
I loved every minute of these stories and only wish there were more.
Excellent Books for Early and Eager Readers by Kathleen T. Isaacs is more or less a giant bibliography of books for children. It's organized into different categories such as transitional books (between picture books, easy readers, or short chapter books), quests, talking animal stories, and books about magic. I ended up taking down so many titles to add to my TRL that I had a stack that was nigh on teetering to the ceiling (18 books before I stopped counting). Needless to say, this is an excellent resource for anyone who is either a professional working with children or a parent trying to encourage their child to reach their maximum potential. (It doesn't beat the Read-Aloud Handbook though.) This isn't a book one would generally read cover-to-cover (although that's exactly what I did) but rather one you'd dip in and out of for ideas on books you and the children in your life could read. 8/10
What's Up Next: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
What I'm Currently Reading: The Lumberjanes Vol. 4: Out of Time by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, & Brooke Allen
One of the greatest novels of the 20th-century follows the disintegration of former Southern aristocrats looked at in four different ways. The Sound and the Fury is considered William Faulkner’s greatest novel, following members of the Compson family over roughly 30 years in which the once great aristocratic Southern family breaks down from within and influence socially.
The book begins with man-child Benjamin “Benjy” Compson remembering various incidents over the previous 30 years from his first memory of his sister Caddy climbing a tree, his name being changed after his family learned he was mentally handicapped, the marriage and divorce of Caddy, and his castration all while going around his family’s property in April 1928. The second section was of Quentin Compson, skipping classes during a day of his freshman year at Harvard in 1910 and wandering Cambridge, Massachusetts thinking about death and his family’s estrangement from his sister Caddy before committing suicide. The third section followed a day in the life of Jason Compson who must take care of his hypochondriac mother and Benjy along with his niece, Caddy’s daughter Quentin. Working at a hardware store to make ends meet while stealing the money his sister sends to Quentin, Jason has to deal with people who used to lookup to his family and with black people who irritate the very racist head of the Compson family. The four section follows several people on Easter Sunday 1928 as the black servants take care of Benjy and gets for the Compsons while Jason finds out that Quentin as runaway with all the money in the house, which includes the money he stole from her and his life savings. After failing to find Quentin, Jason returns to town to calm down Benjy who is having a fit due to his routine being changed.
In constructing this book, Faulkner employed four different narrative styles for each section. Benjy’s section was highly disjointed narrative with numerous time leaps as he goes about his day. Quentin’s section was of an unreliable stream of consciousness narrator with a deteriorating state of mind, which after Benjy’s section makes the reader want to give up the book. Jason’s section is a straightforward first-person narrative style with the fourth and final section being a third person omniscient point-of-view. While one appreciates Faulkner’s amazing work in producing this novel, the first two sections are so all over the place that one wonders why this book was even written and only during the last two sections do readers understand about how the Compson family’s fortunes have fallen collectively and individually.
The Sound and the Fury is overall a nice novel, however the first two sections of William Faulkner’s great literally derails interest and only those that stick with the book learn in the later half what is going on with any clarity. I would suggest reading another Faulkner work before this if you are a first-time reader of his work like I was because unless you’re dedicated you might just quit.