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Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner

Intruder in the Dust (1948)

by William Faulkner

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
young white boy fights to defend a black man accused of murder in 1950s South ( )
  margaretfield | May 29, 2018 |
"Intruder in the Dust" is a darkly humorous murder mystery. A black man, Lucas Beauchamp, is accused of shooting a white man in the back. Lawyer Gavin Stevens' nephew Chick is racing against the lynch mob clock to prove Lucas is innocent. The ending is brilliant and dry, and I loved how the murdered man's grave was robbed three separate times in the same night. ( )
  bekkil1977 | Feb 9, 2018 |
This is stream of consciousness at full speed, the story instersped in between, what makes it very hard to read, and unless you're a hardcore Faulkner's fan you'll feel tempted to give it up. That said it's fair to notice the masterful storytelling tecnique by the author, to be amazed at how resourceful his work is, a trademark of arguably America's greatest writer. However I do advise taking his classics like "Moonlight in August", "Absalom, Absalom!", "As I Lay Dying" first and leave this for later. ( )
  EnockPioUlle | Jun 24, 2017 |
I have always been intimidated by William Faulkner, that Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner from the deep south, who never learned (or maybe didn't care about) the lessons of concise writing (Strunk and White would be rolling in their graves) that include things like not piling clauses within clauses in a single sentence or breaking a thought with another thought or, and I don't think this ever crossed his mind because it seems like he thinks the more words the better, not using unnecessary words. Whew, that's as long as I can sustain that Faulknerian style. I don't know how he did it page after page and chapter after chapter. I have to confess that his style does make you pay close attention to what he is saying and what he says is worth paying attention to.

Intruder in the Dust tells the story of a black man in Mississippi shortly after WWII who was charged with shooting a white man in the back. Lucas Beauchamp has always been proud. Some folks think that if he had behaved "like a nigger should" he would not have found himself in this fix. Young Charley Mallison met Lucas about four years previously when Lucas fished him out of a creek and took him home, dried his clothes and gave him a hot meal. Charley tried to pay Lucas with all the money he had but Lucas just dashed the coins to the ground saying "What's that for?" Ever since Charley has been trying to find some way to discharge his debt. When it looks like Lucas might be lynched by an angry mob Charlie is determined to prevent it even though he is still considered a child by most folks.

This is a powerful story. This is what the South was like before the days of desegregation and equal rights told by someone who lived there. About the book Faulkner said "the premise being that the white people in the south, before the North or the Govt. or anybody else owe and must pay a responsibility to the negro." I would love to know if Southerners who read it when it was published changed their attitudes. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 12, 2016 |
For the first one hundred pages or so, I thought I was going to say this was the best novel I had ever read. I still think it is in the top five, but Faulkner’s complicated writing style can begin to pall after a while. For example, one stream-of-consciousness sentence contained a parenthetical musing within a parenthetical remark, and ran on for more than two pages before mercifully coming to a close.

The story takes place in the Jim Crow South (in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, in Mississippi) in the mid-twentieth century. It is ostensibly the tale of a reclusive black man accused of shooting a redneck in the back, and the efforts of a young white boy and his uncle, a Harvard educated lawyer, to save the “stubborn old nigger” (Faulkner’s term, not mine) from being lynched by the victim’s very large extended family. More importantly, it is an in-depth analysis of the minds of typical (at that time) bigoted, uneducated Southern whites and a persecuted, but dignified and proud black man unjustly accused of a heinous crime. Faulkner succeeds admirably in capturing the feelings of the whites, but I’m not sure he is as accurate in describing blacks, to whom he attributes almost preternatural powers of perception, understanding, and endurance. Nonetheless, the book is a tour de force of the first magnitude. And the final scene is side-splitting hilarious.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Jul 30, 2016 |
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"It was just noon that Sunday morming when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas Beauchamp though the whole town (the whole county too for that matter) had known since the night before that Lucas had killed a white man."
"It's all now you see. Yesterday wont be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago. For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two oclock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin..."
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Book description
From the dust jacket of the first edition:
"William Faulkner's seventeenth volume, his first novel to be published since The Hamlet in 1940, searches the conscience of the South. It is a study of murder and the mass mind, of an accused Negro whose guilt or innocence becomes secondary to the larger moral problems of justice itself, of a boy just old enough to find his way into manhood under the stress of conflicting values, of a community suspended momentarily between instinctive decency and bestial, irrevocable action. It is a story of man in his essential nobility but on the verge of repudiating himself in all his reprehensible weakness. In the few fateful hours while a mob gathers, two lads and an old woman search for the truth that may free not only the accused but the community itself. How the find it and all that is revealed to them make far more than a story of suspense and mystery; their discovery, and the rapt reader's too, is a new insight into the relationship between the dominant and the dominated. Intruder in the Dust is a major American novel, distinguished for its penetration, subtlety and gripping narrative power."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679736514, Paperback)

A classic Faulkner novel which explores the lives of a family of characters in the South. An aging black who has long refused to adopt the black's traditionally servile attitude is wrongfully accused of murdering a white man.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:54 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

At once an engrossing murder mystery and an unflinching portrait of racial injustice in the Reconstruction South, Intruder in the Dust stands out as a true classic of Southern literature. A classic Faulkner novel which explores the lives of a family of characters in the South. An aging black who has long refused to adopt the black's traditionally servile attitude is wrongfully accused of murdering a white man.… (more)

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