Customer Review

186 of 189 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Most Likeable Masterpiece, April 1, 2006
This review is from: Light in August (Paperback)
After reading Faulkner's four major masterpieces -- The Sound and the Fury; Absalom, Absalom!; As I Lay Dying; and Light in August -- I've come to the conclusion that Light in August is far and away the easiest to read, has the most dramatic plot, the most intriguing primary characters in Joe Christmas, Gail Hightower and Joanna Burden, and even some of his most intriguing minor characters in Uncle Doc Hines and Mr. McEachern. Overall, it is his most readable and likeable masterpiece. And it leaves you wanting so much more.

The complex and ambiguous character of Joe Christmas alone could have been the source of three or four novels detailing different times in his life. While Christmas is hardly a likeable person, he is fascinating, hypnotic, a train wreck; you can't keep your eyes off him. His actions are morally ambiguous and inconsistent and yet fully understandable within his nature. As a creation he deserves to rank with Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Captain Ahab and Jay Gatsby in the pantheon of American literary characters.

Faulkner has a big mission here. The novel exposes the evils of racism both in the South and among white, northern abolitionists. It traffics in religious symbolism while savaging religious fanatacism. And it leaves one with a great deal of memorable violent and sexual imagery. And that's just for starters. This book is deep, and while its storytelling is largely non-linear, it is far more palatable than the other three, which tend to be confusing and obscure. Enjoy this one. If you've never read Faulkner, it's a great starter.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 12, 2014 1:52:55 PM PDT
Faulkner has always been a struggle for me, yet I persevere even though there is much that I miss. Now I will try Light in August knowing that Faulkner always "...has a big mission..."
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Location: Brunswick, Maine

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