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by William Faulkner
Do literary prizes reward greatness or works that, like a fine wine, gain stature over time? Do they simply reflect the taste of the jury at a particular moment in history? Or is it a little of both?
Young God is a strong entry in the tradition of the Southern Gothic Novel (redneck noir subcategory), but, while reading it and after watching True Detective, I began to wonder if the genre still has any explanatory power for contemporary America.
I’d place it above every American novel except Moby-Dick, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!
The world most people live in has more in common with The Office than, say, Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!. But think of how uncommon it is to read a book about someone’s office job. Then count how often a debut author gets compared to Faulkner.