I think a lot of people end up reading a little bit of Faulkner (a novel or three) and I feel like most people end up reading “A Rose for Emily” in college (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs-bVMs1LKU&ab_channel=TheZombiesMusic) but there’s a lot of hidden gems in this 900 page collection of his short fiction (there’s also a volume of uncollected fiction that I might end up looking through at some point).
He was one of those writers, who for about 35 years or so was just writing constantly. Not only does his have his more than a dozen novels, but 2000 pages worth of short fiction, a play, and some very not good poems and nonfiction. The stories do shine I have to say, and while the other classics like “That Evening Sun” “Barn Burning” and “Red Leaves” still stand out, there’s a lot of smaller stories too that quite good.
The collection is structured geographically around the world of Faulkner’s fiction and doesn’t include the stories that comprise Go Down Moses and The Unvanquished, both function as very good novels, and so you end up with stories moving from rural parts to the town to wilderness and the world beyond. His various literary fascinations show up of course, but so too do his other hobbies. There’s more than one story about pilots and flying, for example. So there’s both a consistency and a range that is impressive. Though to be fair, if winning the Nobel Prize and the resultant 1950s were his downfall, the collection’s publication in 1948, saves us from some of that degradation in writing and thinking as he spiralled.