I’m reading (and greatly enjoying) Faulkner’s famous novel Pylon at the moment. Perhaps you’ve got the impression, from the last two Faulkner novels I’ve given bad scores to, that I don’t rate Faulkner; but I think you’ll find with Pylon that I don’t merely rate him, I absurdly overrate him.
But how could you not like a book with a paragraph like this in it – he’s here describing the entrance lobby of a hotel (I’m pretty sure):
And here also the cryptic shield caught (i n r i) loops of bunting giving an appearance temporary and tentlike to interminable long corridors of machine plush and gilded synthetic plaster running between anonymous and rentable spaces or alcoves from sunrise to sunset across America, between the nameless faience woman-face behind the phallic ranks of cigars and the stuffed chairs sentinelled each by its spittoon and potted palm; – the congruous stripe of Turkey red beneath the recent-gleamed and homeless shoes running on into an interval of implacable circumspection: a silent and discreet inference of lysol and a bath – billboard stage and vehicle for what in the old lusty days called themselves drummers: among the brass spittoons of elegance and the potted plants of decorum, legion homeless and symbolic: the immemorial flying buttresses of ten million American Saturday nights, with shrewd heads filled with to-morrow’s cosmic alterations in the form of price lists and the telephone numbers of discontented wives and high-schools girls.
This is why, when people say Faulkner’s greatest novel is The Sound and the Fury, I tend to think they don’t understand Faulkner at all, since it’s about his most unrepresentative novel and demonstrates almost everything to my mind that isn’t in fact great about Faulkner (though possibly others are of the opposite opinion, since it isn’t a man these days who enjoys the verbose).
Anyway, I came across this (now defunct) Faux Faulkner competition, in the archived pages of the internet, where people are invited to write a (loving) parody of the Faulknerian style. Again, there are too many Sounds and Furies, but the best I think is the Goldilocks and the Three Bears one (2003 winner) [actually, I take that back: The Rabbit from 2002 is better], which really does happen to capture Faulkner.