Books: Faulkner Passion Play

A FABLE (437 pp.)—William Faulkner —Random House ($4.75).

In his 1950 Nobel Prize speech, Novelist William Faulkner made much of the "agony and sweat" that went into his writing. He might, with equal pertinence, have dwelt on the agony and sweat that he requires of his readers. To his admirers, a new Faulkner novel is the event of the year. To the plain reader it is a tortuous chore which pays off only in random flashes of greatness, some of it so illuminating as to make the ill-lighted drudgery seem worthwhile. This week, after...

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