Sighted in Pat Conroy's My Losing Season
by Robert Hamblin, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, October 17, 2002

 Pat Conroy’s new book, My Losing Season, has numerous references to Faulkner scattered throughout the text.  Conroy describes his first reading of The Sound and the Fury in a high school English class, his writing of his senior paper at The Citadel on Faulkner and Sinclair Lewis, his search for Faulkner’s home in New Orleans, and his autographing a copy of The Prince of Tides while seated at the desk Faulkner used when working on Absalom, Absalom!  Here are a couple of excerpts:

 “In November Mr. Monte suggested I read The Sound and the Fury.  I took the book home and began reading it with enormous anticipation because I could sense Mr. Monte’s reverence when he spoke about the pleasures of Faulkner, and he considered this his masterpiece.  When I read the first ninety-two pages, I fretted, then despaired because it felt like I was reading the book underwater or weightless in outer space.  I was not sure I understood a single line or had the slightest clue about where the book was tending or drifting.  Shaken, I reread the same ninety-two pages that begin with the sentence of the curling flower spaces and ends with Benjy in Caddy’s arms.  The second reading left me even more panic-stricken and perplexed.”  (page 61, Advanced Reading Copy) 

 Conroy goes on to explain how, following his teacher’s advice, he read the speech in Macbeth that is the source of Faulkner’s title. 

“Word for word, I wrote that speech down in the spiral notebook Mr. Monte made us keep in his class.  As I copied the last line of that speech, I felt like one of those forty-niners who pan for gold in rushing western streams for years, until they reach the summary and defining moment of their gambled-out lives and lift a pan from the ungenerous stream brimming with a king’s ransom of gold.  I thought about the first section of The Sound and the Fury and I thought about Macbeth’s speech when he hears the news of his queen’s death.  I put them together.  I unlocked the mystery.”  (page 62)

 Of his impressions of Absalom, Absalom!, Conroy writes:  “. . . William Faulkner tamed and mesmerized me.  I loved the way he could pack the whole world into a single sentence.  Faulkner could inhabit a line the way God loomed over the universe.”  (page 342)