William Faulkner: Requiem for a Nun.
"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
Faulkner's sequel to his bestselling novel, Sanctuary, is definitely a minor-work compared to his pre-World War II fiction. The book is problematic in its experimental study of how the past affects the present. Faulkner uses prose and play-form; the prose sections are much like his earlier work - full of long-winded (yet beautifully written) stream-of-consciousness passages that chronicle the history of Jefferson, the county seat of his fictional Yoknapatawpha. The play, which practically stands completely separate from the prose sections, concerns Temple Drake eight years after her kidnapping by the gangster Popeye in Sanctuary.
Temple is now married to Gowan Stevens, a featured character from the book's prequel, and the mother of two children. When the play begins, we learn that the children's African-American nanny, Nancy, has been sentenced to death for the murder of Temple's six-month-old daughter. Nancy's defense attorney and Gowan's uncle, Gavin Stevens (a central character in Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust) comes to Temple the night before Nancy's execution and convinces her (through guilt) to accompany him to the governor of Mississippi to plead clemency for Nancy.
I found Faulkner's use of the play-form to tell Temple's story very interesting. Since the plot relied on her confessions, it seemed appropriate that Faulkner would limit his study of one of his most conflicted characters to dialogue. I'm not familiar with the play's history on the stage, and given its frequent three-page monologues and awkward framing, I can't imagine it would be very entertaining to watch, especially since so much of it focuses on Temple's experiences in Sanctuary.
Overall, it was an interesting read, although it cannot be compared to Faulkner's earlier work. I would recommend it to Faulkner fans or anyone who enjoyed Sanctuary and found Temple Drake to be as an intriguing and complicated character as I did.