Opening Passages to Greatness

The other day I stumbled upon The Heart, a wonderful series in the online version of The Atlantic in which authors discuss their favorite passages in literature. Browsing through the collection, I came upon John Rechy's discussion of his favorite, which is the opening sentence of William Faulkner's short story, "A Rose ...

Bringing Up the Rear: The Literary Mic Drop

Many years ago, my agent offered me the following advice: "The most important sentence of your novel is the first one. The second most important sentence is the last one." There certainly have been vivid, memorable first lines, many of which we can quote by heart--from "Call me Ishmael" in Herman Melville's Moby Dick to ...

Mystery #4 for Literary Snobs: Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner

Faulkner flirted with the mystery genre throughout his career — Knight's Gambit and Intruder in the Dust, for example, along with the screenplay for The Big Sleep,which he wrote. But his finest mystery also happens to be his finest novel.  Absalom  Absalom is, quite simply, a superior detective story and a great ...