The Art of the Sentence: “As I Lay Dying.”

The always-wonderful Tin House blog recently featured a nice post by Shane Jones on a single haunting sentence from Faulker’s As I Lay Dying:

Few single lines have haunted me more than this one, first read during a snow storm when I was twenty years old and living in Buffalo. I remember lying on my dorm room bed and the exact position of my body. Great sentences do this to a person – they stop time and freeze everything around you.

The sentence from the novel, if you already curious: “Her eyes are like two candles when you watch them gutter down into the sockets of iron candle-sticks.”

Jones makes a particularly astute observation about this novel, I think: “What makes As I Lay Dying such a powerful book isn’t the structure and voice that many put front and center when discussing the novel, but the song-like electricity and agile brilliance of each sentence.” Such beauty even struck my otherwise aesthetically-challenged high school sensibilities when I read As I Lay Dying in AP Lit. Maybe it’s past time for a re-read.