HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Light in August by William Faulkner
Loading...

Light in August (1932)

by William Faulkner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,92554705 (4.02)1 / 402
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (52)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
Great writing, of course. The only thing that drags it down is the Gail Hightower sections. He is a boring, holier than thou character and easily the weakest part of the book. I readthat Faulkner had initially set out to write a novel about him but ended up focusing on Joe Christmas instead. Thank god he did. Hightower was overly symbolic and whiny---sure, he represented the mixing of races, the white man who accepts blacks, the stain of slavery and confederacy, and the sins of marriage and infidelity, but all of that is portrayed better by other characters.

Still, there are some amazing sections. ( )
1 vote blanderson | Mar 4, 2014 |
The sins of the father, the sins of the mother, the sins of the deep and the golden dark.

I've heard mentions of Light in August being one of Faulkner's most accessible works. Fitting, then, that it be the second of my readings, the first having been The Sound and the Fury. For I thought I found something in the first worth searching for in the rest, but as you and many an English Literature student know, TSatF isn't the place for certainty. Here, I found that Faulkner knew what he was doing.

I cannot throw terms like "Southern Gothic" around, for what do I know of the South or the Gothic? I've lived in the United States and visited a specified architecture and read a certain style of literature, but never have I visited the South. So I will stick to what I recognize, and let the larger shine through.

Race, war, and religion; man, woman, and child. Faulkner knew and loved them much as a deity might, I'd imagine. The Bible is a tract of violent imagery colluding with cries of peace, humanity's brutal instinct and divine idea, and it is no wonder that he drowns so often in its revelations while revealing his own. It takes a certain caliber of author to write with all the living beauty and horrific prejudice in place, the truth if you will for which words are less than useless, and come out with a message of power wrapped around a bleeding heart. Where better for an American author to start than at the origin, no matter how raw and flawed in scope?

A work in full knowledge of its terror. Writing with a conscience that it refuses to hide behind. That is what we have here, bound up in generations of creed and color, as complex a weft as life itself and as inexplicable, except not, for what is literature if not an explanation of the murky depths melded with brightest glow?

I'd speak of characters, but really, what more does one need to know beyond the result of the Civil War, the society of the white supremacist, and the viciousness of Old Testament patriarchy? This book, for one.

I'd speak more of Faulkner, but there is not much else to speak on beyond the reputation he holds in the hallowed halls of namedropping. It's a shame as well as a pleasure, the weight his name carries, for as with every giant of experience there comes in his wake the gift to humanity as well as the pecking order. I will say, though, he will be afforded much more leniency in my future readings than other authors. For it is not so much a matter of personal preference as of recognized importance.

If you wish to know both the US and the broader scope of humanity, here is Faulkner at his most accessible. I can't think of a better place to start.The organ strains come rich and resonant through the summer night, blended, sonorous, with that quality of abjectness and sublimation, as if the freed voices themselves were assuming the shapes and attitudes of crucifixions, ecstatic, solemn, and profound in gathering volume. Yet even then the music has still a quality stern and implacable, deliberate and without passion so much as immolation, pleading, asking, for not love, not life, forbidding it to others, demanding in sonorous tones death as though death were the boon, like all Protestant music. It was as though they who accepted it and raised voices to praise it within praise, having been made what they were by that which the music praised and symbolised, they took revenge upon that which made them so by means of the praise itself. Listening, he seems to hear within it the apotheosis of his own history, his own land, his own environed blood: that people from which he sprang and among whom he lives who can never take either pleasure or catastrophe or escape from either, without brawling over it. Pleasure, ecstasy, they cannot seem to bear: their escape from it is in violence, in drinking and fighting and praying; catastrophe too, the violence identical and apparently inescapable And so why should not their religion drive them to crucifixion of themselves and one another? he thinks. It seems to him that he can hear within the music the declaration and dedication of that which they know that on the morrow they will have to do. It seems to him that the past week has rushed like a torrent and that the week to come, which will begin tomorrow, is the abyss, and that now on the brink of cataract the stream has raised a single blended and sonorous and austere cry, not for justification but as a dying salute before its own plunge, and not to any god but to the doomed man in the barred cell within hearing of them and of two other churches, and in whose crucifixion they too will raise a cross. ‘And they will do it gladly,’ he says, in the dark window. ( )
1 vote Korrick | Feb 26, 2014 |
”Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.” (Page 119)

I thought I had a mental block for William Faulkner. I thought I was spoiled for him forty years ago when an over-reaching college professor thought The Sound and the Fury was a good choice for college freshmen who hadn’t read anything else by Faulkner and to whom stream of consciousness was an unknown quandaryquantity. But now, after reading this book, the curse has been lifted. I’m a Faulkner fan and almost sure to go on and read some of his other work because this book was, well, magnificent, to say the least.

Let’s start with the characters: naive, determined Lena Grove who is resolutely searching for the father of her unborn child. Faulkner draws her so adroitly that although we all know the father is never going to marry her, we keep hoping that she will somehow come out on top. Can the roll of the dice somehow come out in her favor for once? The inscrutable Joe Christmas, whose miserable childhood is revealed little by little, which enables us to determine much of what is behind his dubious behavior. Hard-working, compassionate Byron Bunch, who falls for Lena, and still helps her to find the man she’s looking for because that’s just the kind of man he is. And the defrocked Rev. Gail Hightower, whose demons are slowly consuming him, wonders why Byron has such faith in him.

Faulkner places these complex characters among the pre-depression-era populace of Jefferson, Mississippi and the story unfolds in layers and flashbacks. The prose is stunning and thoroughly effective in presenting Faulkner’s themes of memory, race, fate and free will, society and class, and religion. And in doing so, he counters the light with the dark. This is quite brilliant, otherwise the dark in the novel would be overwhelming and drag the reader down.

I am so glad to have rediscovered William Faulkner and will happily read more of his work. Very highly recommended. ( )
12 vote brenzi | Feb 20, 2014 |
I was surprised by how readable this novel was. A dense and sometimes daunting 508 pages, it actually breezed by when I would actually sit down and read it. It was a difficult book to settle into, so I would get distracted. Taking place in the South, not a place I have great affinity for, and set in between the wars. The crux of the action takes place nearly in the same day of a young woman arriving in Jefferson, MS pregnant and looking for the father of her child and the brutal murder of a woman and the arson of her home by her clandestine lover. In order to make some sense of this, Faulkner takes the reader back in time with different sets of characters to provide the context and commentary on this tragic day in Jefferson, Missippi. ( )
1 vote stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
The plot c...r...a...w...l...s along but Faulkner's way of illuminating the inner life of his characters is hypnotic, particularly the repetition of turns of phrase and rhythmic effects. ( )
  amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Sitting beside the road, watching the wagon mount the hill toward her, Lena thinks, 'I have come from Alabama: a fur piece.'
Quotations
Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679732268, Paperback)

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” —William Faulkner
 
Light in August, a novel about hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality, features some of Faulkner’s most memorable characters: guileless, dauntless Lena Grove, in search of the father of her unborn child; Reverend Gail Hightower, who is plagued by visions of Confederate horsemen; and Joe Christmas, a desperate, enigmatic drifter consumed by his mixed ancestry.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Joe Christmas does not know whether he is black or white. Faulkner makes of Joe's tragedy a powerful indictment of racism; at the same time Joe's life is a study of the divided self and becomes a symbol of 20th century man. Light in August is the story od Lena Grove's search for the father of her unborn child, and features one of Faulkner's most memorable characters: Joe Christmas, a desperate drifter consumed by his mixed ancestry.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
42 avail.
117 wanted
9 pay3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.02)
0.5 1
1 16
1.5 3
2 39
2.5 13
3 176
3.5 49
4 335
4.5 59
5 352

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,625,074 books! | Top bar: Always visible