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Light in August by William Faulkner

Light in August (1932)

by William Faulkner

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6,23560650 (4.02)1 / 430

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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
I found this to be one of the more enjoyable Faulkner stories. There was more plot and less stream-of-consciousness. The characters are fewer and more fully developed. Lena Grove is a pregnant white woman from Alabama looking for her man in Jefferson, Mississippi. Gail Hightower, a former reverend is forced into retirement and nearly run out of town for his wife's erratic behavior and subsequent suicide. Joe Christmas, one of the strongest main characters, is an orphan who thinks he has "nigger blood" despite his pale skin.

There are several elements of repetition to Faulkner's work. Most stories take place in Jefferson, Mississippi. There is usually one character that is mixed race and as a result, struggling with identity. A fire usually breaks out somewhere. Someone usually is pregnant. Probably the most typical reoccurring element is style. Faulkner uses flashbacks to either tell a story or fill in the gaps of one. Light in August was one of the more easier ones to follow. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jul 23, 2015 |
Will Patton deserves an oscar/pulitzer/emmy for his spell-binding/genius/hair-raising performance of Faulkner's tragic/horror/comedy/farce Light in August. Quite simply, this is one of the best audio books I have ever had the pleasure of spending 13 hours with. Patton's reading captures all the nuance of Faulkner's prose without ever striking a false or cliched note. Patton should be the only actor allowed to record Faulkner from here on out. ( )
  byebyelibrary | May 23, 2015 |
this is the faulkner that i like best, of the 4 that i've now read (as i lay dying, go down, moses, the sound and the fury, and now light in august). i can't say that i particularly like his writing style in this book, but at the same time, it suits what he's done here. this was a bit of slow going for me, but part of that was because i wanted to make sure i was absorbing it all, and part of it was because the language and phrasing doesn't make for quick reading.

in spite of it not being my preferred style of writing, or of even necessarily understanding everything i read throughout, i thought this was quite beautiful (i even love the title) and liked this quite a bit more than i expected. he has a lot of interesting things to say about a time, and shows us a lot about racism and sexism in that time.

"Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders."

"Knowing not grieving remembers a thousand savage and lonely streets."

this is probably not as nice out of context but it's my favorite passage in the book:

"He hears above his heart the thunder increase, myriad and drumming. Like a long sighing of wind in trees it begins, then they sweep into sight, borne now upon a cloud of phantom dust. They rush past, forwardleaning in the saddles, with brandished arms, beneath whipping ribbons from slanted and eager lances; with tumult and soundless yelling they sweep past like a tide whose crest is jagged with the wild heads of horses and the brandished arms of men like the crater of the world in explosion. They rush past, are gone; the dust swirls skyward sucking, fades away into the night which has fully come. Yet, leaning forward in the window, his bandaged head huge and without depth above the twin blobs of his hands upon the ledge, it seems to him that he still hears them: the wild bugles and the clashing sabres and the dying thunder of hooves." ( )
  elisa.saphier | Feb 10, 2015 |
OK, I admit it! I just don't like Faulkner. I finished the book but had to really work hard at it. ( )
  cmaese | Dec 26, 2014 |
I reread this great classic recently, after having read a lot of Faulkner in college. I found I did not remember it, but had the chance to rediscover the book and admire it all over again. The mysterious Joe Christmas is a potent depiction of the emotional damage caused by the simmering rage of a child, unloved and excluded by all, including his natural mother and grandparents, his orphanage peers, his violent and abusive adoptive father, and his first lover. As an adult he is a fully formed psychopath, preying on a series of women and then becoming violent when he reveals he is part black and they reject him (or not!). His travels, ending in the inevitable violence at the center of the novel, make up the heart of the book. But he is surrounded by many other characters, some more fully developed than others - and all representing the different strands of post-WWI Mississippi, which come together in a second climactic act of violence. A brilliant and comprehensive picture of a sick society's struggle to redefine itself in the wake of war and social upheaval. ( )
  kishields | Nov 23, 2014 |
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Sitting beside the road, watching the wagon mount the hill toward her, Lena thinks, 'I have come from Alabama: a fur piece.'
Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:22 -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)

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