I meant to grab Faulkner’s novel for a while now. Any novel to be honest. He is one of the great American authors and getting to know his body of work seemed a a duty to me. So when I snatched a vintage copy of Pylon just for around 1 euro ( a price at which it is difficult to buy a bookmark) I considered myself lucky. In a hindsight it is obvious that I have chosen wrong book to start my expedition into the literary world of a new author. My Faulkner hype train did not even leave its station.
Usually I encourage reading books that are thematically outside of one’s comfort zone. A story about 1930’s group of stunt pilots in a fictionalized New Orleans is so far out there that you can’t see the passport controls on the border of my comfort zone. I feared it might be too foreign for me, but I was wrong. After all, the setting is just a pretext for a story to unfold. What story you might ask? A group of vagabond barnstormers, three men, a woman romantically involved with two of them and her son prepare to participate in a competition get involved with a creepy and enigmatic local reporter planning to write a story about them. Journalist’s stalking turns into an obsession as he seemingly falls in love with a woman.
Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Unfortunately, the story is not engaging at all. Characters are distant and unnatural, the reporter’s love is just my interpretation, because he is almost impossible to understand in his never-ending sewer of a speech.
It brings me to another problem I had with this book: the writing. This novel is a pile of unorganized volumes of text that constantly shift the narration from one character to another, exponentially confusing the reader. Many ideas and events of the story must be assumed or half-guessed; not because of any mystery, but because of the sloppy explanations. It is unnecessarily convoluted and pretentious. And what is going on with the penultimate chapter? It is named after a terrific T.S. Elliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, yet it has nothing to do with it, or at least I fail to see a connection.
The only saving grace of this book is its ending. It delivers a surprising emotional twist and FINALLY some consequential insight into the characters’ feelings. Too bad it was too late to save this pulp fiction of a novel.
Two out of five barrel rolls.