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Brilliant Language, Poor Plot
am 22. Juli 1998
While Faulkner admitted that this book, alone among the myriad of his writings, was written for money purposes only (and thus has some of his most lurid, sensationalistic, and reactionary prose), it has a very powerful attracting factor: its language. While the convoluted and unclear plotline (which Faulkner himself detested enough to heavily reconstruct, revise at a personal cost of $270 in a time when that was a small fortune) is an obvious detriment, the gorgeous word choice, word placement, and sentence construction nearly make up for it. For a short example, I will submit the final sentence: "She closed the compact and from beneath her smart new hat she seemed to follow with her eyes the waves of music, to dissolve into the dying brasses, across the pool and the opposite semicircle of trees where at sombre intervals the dead tranquil queens in stained marble mused, and on into the sky lying prone and vanquished in the embrace of the season of rain and death.&q! uot; Simply gorgeous; but the unconvincing story of rape, murder, lynching, a bumbling lawyer, a dangerous bootlegger from Memphis whose entire past history and motivation is described in 4 or 5 of the final pages, and many others can seem at times very outlandish and hard to follow, not from intrinsic, Faulknerian difficulty to read, but because of poor detail and a shallow style of writing. Characters have very little depth, and are afforded very short monologues when given one at all; Many characters, uncharacteristically, seem to simply not exist below the exterior, under the surface. However, if a reader can bypass this gruff outside layer of paint, Sanctuary has much to offer in way of the English Language.