Go Down Moses by William Faulkner
Although originally published as a series of short stories, Go Down Moses is, in fact, a novel. Like much of Faulkner’s work, it deals with issues of slavery and race, the relationship between man and his environment, stewardship and ownership of land, the vanishing wilderness, and property and inheritance.
The novel plays with the concept of time. Feeding us information in delayed sequences, Faulkner forces us to move back and forth between stories. Vaguely at first, almost intuitively, we begin to discern connections between generations, sharing the experiences of child and adult while nature is subjected to the alienating forces of civilization. In this way, as readers, we begin to create logical and systematic patterns of meaning.
Perhaps the abiding image in this novel, at least for me, is its depiction of the expansiveness of our species and the way we have pushed the limits of wilderness, in such a short period of time, into the margins of consciousness. And the subtext is almost wholly concerned with the pain of a place (perhaps a moment?) which is slowly receding and ultimately disappearing.