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The Reivers by William Faulkner

The Reivers (original 1962; edition 1992)

by William Faulkner

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1,992236,147 (3.62)120
Warm, humorous, poignant story about a boy's loss of innocence and a memoir and loving re-creation of turn-of-the-century Dixie.
Title:The Reivers
Authors:William Faulkner
Info:Vintage (1992), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Reivers by William Faulkner (1962)

  1. 00
    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: The Reivers by William Faulkner has a similar feel as Cold Sassy, with a similar leading character. But the Reivers is a bit more dark and has a more solid story.

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A Book That Takes Place In Your Hometown

Finally, another Pulitzer-Prize winning book I enjoyed. Immensely. The Reivers is, like The Great Gatsby and All The Kings Men, a good story made great by the manner of its telling. Faulkner lets you think this is just the story of Lucius Priest, an eleven year old boy who acquiesces to borrowing his grandfather's automobile to go joy-riding with his father's hired hand Boon. That their eighty mile journey from Jefferson, Mississippi to Memphis will end up nothing more than an entertaining tale laughingly remembered. Then Ned happens. And keeps happening. First appearing as an innocent stowaway who "got just as much right to a trip as [Boon] and Lucius," Ned will embroil them all in a hare-brained scheme involving a "borrowed" horse that doesn't know how to run a race. Over the course of four days, Boon and Ned will, through their personal lives, provide Lucius an introduction to the chaotic adult world of love and lies and compromise and honor.

Written in Faulkner's unmistakable style that is simultaneously educated and everyday, The Reivers is a clash of idiocy and wisdom set in 1905 America, when a car on the road caused people to stop and watch it drive by. You will laugh out loud at the surprises Faulkner springs on you, and shake your head as Ned's attempts to disentangle Lucius, Boon and himself from the mess he has created only lead to more trouble. Through the book's details you appreciate how far we have advanced, both technologically and socially, regardless of how much we can still improve. And in the end Lucius, though still eleven and not a man, will no longer be a child.

A less-serious book than Faulkner's better known works such as The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, The Reivers is nonetheless equally worth reading. ( )
  skavlanj | Jan 13, 2021 |
comedic tale of men and boys on spree
  ritaer | Jul 5, 2020 |
Faulkner is too indirect for me. meh. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
The English Dictionary describes a ‘reiver’ as a plundering raider. In this comical novel by Faulkner, an eleven-year old boy Lucius Priest, son of a well to do business man from a small town in Tennessee, is looking for adventure and inadvertently becomes a reiver.

We’ve all done things in our childhood we regret. And perhaps back in 1905 the opportunity to get in trouble was not as easily at one’s disposal as today. But I can imagine for children of that era if the occasion presented itself the temptation might be overwhelming. Lucius, along with the black family coachman Ned McCaslin, and Boon Hogganbeck- a half American Indian and chauffeur for Lucius’s grandfather steal Boss’s car and head for Memphis. Grandpa Priest is referred to as Boss by everyone, including Lucius. They figure they have 4 days to enjoy an adventure while Lucius’s parents along with the Boss and Grandma are out of town for a funeral.

There are only 2 cars in the entire town and the roads are merely dirt paths tamped down by horses and buggies, rutted, and overgrown with weeds. But that is all part of the adventure. I will not spoil the plot but will say they do make it to Memphis and are put up at Miss Reba’s house of ill repute. Ned trades the car for a race horse, and plots to win tons of money and then get the car back. Lucius is chosen to be the jockey.

One fiasco leads to another and during the course of the plot Lucius learns way too much about far too many adult activities.

I can’t imagine what audience Faulkner was targeting in "The Reivers". It is certainly not suitable for a young boy to read although that is who would enjoy it the most. It’s a preposterous plot. The dialogue seems quite authentic but the writing style leaves a lot to be desired. Faulkner offers strong character development and plenty of details about the turn of the century customs and attitudes, but much of the information is passé, such as how to dig an automobile out of a river, and the minute details about how a mule and horse think and behave.

"The Reivers" was published in 1962. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and was made into a movie a few years later starring Steve McQueen in the award-winning role as Boon. ( )
  LadyLo | Oct 19, 2019 |
In The Reivers, Lucius Priest, a man now in his mid-sixties, looks back on a memorable four-day period in his life when he was 11 years old and the 20th century was younger still. Grandson of a wealthy lawyer and landowner in rural Mississippi, Lucius has been raised to understand where to draw the line between Virtue and Non-Virtue. However, when his grandfather acquires the first automobile in the county, Lucius gets drawn into a convoluted journey plotted by Boon, a poor white man who works for the family, and Ned, a black man distantly related to the Priest clan, that involves stealing the car and driving it to Memphis, some 80 miles distant, for a mysterious purpose.

While on the trip, Lucius encounters a number of people and situations that greatly expand what up until then had been a rather limited view of world. A partial list of his activities during the weekend jaunt includes staying in a whorehouse, getting in a fight over the honor of a prostitute, being part of a scheme to steal a racehorse, serving as a jockey in the subsequent stakes race, lying to and evading the law, and meeting some of the worst people he has ever known. To say the least, the whole experience is one that he will never forget as well as one that indelibly shapes his future, which makes the whole tale a sweet and poignant coming-of-age story.

This was the last novel that Faulkner wrote in his long, celebrated career; in fact, it was published just a month or so before he died and about a year before the book received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. It is also the most straightforward and accessible of the author’s novels (compared to the other ones I have read, at least) which has caused some critics to relegate it to the status as a “lesser work”. That may be the case—The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying are truly amazing—but it should be said that The Reivers is really great storytelling with some wonderfully drawn scenes and memorable characters. Beyond that, it is a very funny book that has the ability to both engage and charm the reader. To paraphrase an old saying, they just don’t write them like this anymore! ( )
  browner56 | Oct 10, 2018 |
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To Victoria, Mark, Paul, William, Burks
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Grandfather said: This is the kind of a man Boon Hogganbeck was.
Like this: a Republican is a man who made his money; a Liberal is a man who inherited his; a Democrat is a barefooted Liberal in a cross-country race; a Conservative is a Republican who has learned to read and write.
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Warm, humorous, poignant story about a boy's loss of innocence and a memoir and loving re-creation of turn-of-the-century Dixie.

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