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Sixteen Short NovelsOld Man: 06/17/07

I picked up Sixteen Short Novels at the September BookCrossing meeting last year. Yes; I went a week postpartum and Harriet went too. My goal is to read and review each of these short novels but if I do it all at once I'll only get this one massive book read for quite some time. Instead, I'll concentrate on each novel separately and count each one as its own book just as I did for the four novellas in Four Past Midnight. At that rate I figure I can read about three of these short novels a month and I should have the book ready for release by Harriet's first birthday.

"Old Man" I've now read twice and neither time have I read it in its full context. The first time I read it, it was part of The Famous Short Novels which I read and released through BookCrossing but didn't review on this blog. I've since done some research on "Old Man" and have learned that it is actually part of a longer and more typical Faulkner novel, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, consisting of two different but complimentary narratives: "The Wild Palms" and "Old Man". Some reviews say these two narratives are separate novellas and an equal number says that the two are one novel and can't be separated out as unique stories (even though a variety of book editors would disagree).

From my BookCrossing review I can see that last time I didn't like the book. I know that when I read it I was rushed and also suffering from the early stages of morning sickness (although I didn't know it at the time). With both readings I picked up on a O Brother Where Art Thou? vibe, the only difference being that this time I found the story humorous and entertaining.

I don't know if I've matured as a reader in 18 months or I was just in the right mind set but this second reading of "Old Man" was the first time that I really felt like I understood what all the fuss was about William Faulkner as a writer.

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