The opening pages of Absalom, Absalom! are great pages. I was trying today to figure out what I could compare them to: they are sort of like a really long shot in film of a scene with very little action or dialogue, with the camera panning and tracking its subjects, taking in every detail of an elaborate set. But what this scenario really brings to mind is the reaction I am always hoping to have (and only rarely actually experiencing) to seeing a great painting. Faulkner is narrating the experience of looking hard, for minutes on end, at a painting of the scene he is describing.
(Also: my memory of this book doesn't have much to say about Quentin Compson; but rereading these opening pages, I am thinking he's a really important element to understanding what's being told. I wonder if after the beginning of the book, Faulkner moves more completely into the world of Miss Coldfield's story. Or alternately if I just missed out on the point of the story, when I read it last.)