Thursday, January 18, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family by William Faulkner, excerpt one)

from The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family by William Faulkner:

Varner sucked his teeth and spat into the road. “Name’s Snopes,” he said.

“Snopes?” a second man said. “Sho now. So that’s him.” Now not only Varner but all the others looked at the speaker—a gaunt man in absolutely clean though faded and patched overalls and even freshly shaven, with a gentle, almost sad face until you unravelled what were actually two separate expressions—a temporary one of static peace and quiet overlaying a constant one of definite even though faint harriedness, and a sensitive mouth which had a quality of adolescent freshness and bloom until you realised that this could just as well be the result of a lifelong abstinence from tobacco—the face of the breathing archetype and protagonist of all men who marry young and father only daughters and are themselves but the eldest daughter of their own wives. His name was Tull. “He’s the fellow that wintered his family in a old cottonhouse on Ike McCaslin’s place. The one that was mixed up in that burnt barn of a fellow named Harris over in Grenier County two years ago.”

“Huh?” Varner said. “What’s that? Burnt barn?”

“I never said he done it,” Tull said. “I just said he was kind of involved in it after a fashion you might say.”

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