Length: 370 pages
About: Soldiers agree not to fight
Style: 3rd person
The book takes place in France during World War I and stretches throughout one week. It tells the stories of "Corporal Zsettslani", who is representative of Jesus. The Corporal orders 3,000 troops
to disobey orders to attack in the brutally repetitive trench warfare. In return, the Germans do not attack, and the war is simply stopped when the soldiers realize that it takes two sides to fight a
war. The Generalissimo has the corporal arrested and executed; he is representative of leaders who use war solely to make themselves stronger (he invites the German general over to discuss how to
start the war again). Before he has him shot, the generalissimo tries to convince the Corporal that war can never be stopped because it is the essence of humanity.
‘It wasn’t we who invented war.’ The group commander said harshly. ‘It was war which created us. From the loins of man’s furious ineradicable greed sprang the captains and the colonels to his
necessity. We are his responsibility; he shall not shirk it.’
Hi style, at times is very demanding on the reader, rises often to magnificence. His handling of the novel’s complex ideas is of necessity not simple and in many passages requires especially close
attention. But in spite of difficulties which seem formidable to the hammock reader, A Fable is rewarding. It is one of the important works of our major novelist.
New York Times, Carvel Collins, 1st August 1954
Not so good:
Mr Faulkner has given us the clue to his novel in its title. Yet it is a misleading one since the style and composition of a fable should essentially be simple enough to allow its meaning to show
clearly. Mr Faulkner however, has built up a design of such extreme complexity that the reader is primarily occupied with the unravelling of it and has little energy left to penetrate the inner
sanctuary of it meaning.
Times Literary Supplement 10th June 1955
About the author
Born New Albany Mississippi, September 25th 1897 died July 6th 1962. Enlisted Royal Air Force Canada, 1918. Attended University of Mississippi. Travelled in Europe 1925-26. resident of Oxford,
Misssissippi. First published novel in 1926. Awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1950.