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Light in August Paperback – International Edition, January 30, 1991
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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“No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word than did William Faulkner. If you want to know all you can about that heart and soul, the fiction where he put it is still right there.” —Eudora Welty
“Faulkner’s greatness resided primarily in his power to transpose the American scene as it exists in the Southern states, filter it through his sensibilities and finally define it with words.” —Richard Wright
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The lives of several initially far-flung characters overlap in the novel's complex plot. First, the naïve Lena Grove arrives in Jefferson, searching for Lucas Burch, the man who abandoned her after getting her pregnant; she meets instead Byron Bunch, a quiet man who believes working on Saturdays will keep him out of trouble. Unrelated to Lena's personal calamity is Bunch's friend Reverend Gail Hightower, who lost his ministry and became a reclusive outcast when his wife openly cheated on him and eventually killed herself.
But the most powerful and memorable character is the mysterious Joe Christmas, a brooding wanderer whose ancestry is unknown and who finds work (and more) from Joanna Burden, a descendant of abolitionists who continues alone her family's historical advocacy for civil rights. Bringing the stories full-circle is Christmas's relationship with the elusive Lucas Burch; the two drifters operate a moonshine business while they live on Burden's property.
In the character of Joe Christmas, Faulkner has invested all his own conflicted feelings and insecurities about race and religion.Read more ›
Faulkner brilliantly presents four of the novel's main characters and their relationship to the community and human beings within the first four chapters. Oddly enough, all four of the characters are isolated from society in one way or another. Society isolates Lena Grove due to her illegitimate child; however, Grove also isolates herself because of her constant travel in search of the child's father. Reverend Gail Hightower is isolated from Jefferson, the small Alabama town in which most of the novel takes place, because of his wife's adulterous affairs. Byron Bunch, whose only friend is Hightower, isolates himself by choice in order to keep himself out of mischief. Finally, Joe Christmas isolates himself from the rest of the workers in the planing mill because of his mixed racial heritage. Christmas haughtily wears his city clothes in the midst of the other workers' overalls, and is therefore an easy target for ridicule and resentment. Throughout the novel, Faulkner utilizes the simple, irrational, and slightly ignorant white members of the community to contrast the respectability and hardship of the local blacks.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel was not assigned when I was in college. Instead we read "The Sound and the Fury", "Go Down Moses", and "As I Lay Dying. Read morePublished 14 days ago by CJA
Seriously, this is Faulkner's best. I know this is pre-stream-of-consciousness, but it is phenomenal! I love this book!Published 1 month ago by Sam Pakan
I tried so hard to enjoy this. I'm from the south and I should love Faulkner books... but this was slow, depressing and I couldn't finish it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by E. Roberts
Disturbing act of self discovery. A Grim reminder of both the nobility of humankind and its depravity. The ghosts that haunt these pages stir closely to us all.Published 3 months ago by PM
It's a pity that "The Sound and the Fury" is everyone's introduction to Faulkner. That brilliant but baffling book leads most to give up. Try this, his other masterpiece.Published 3 months ago by Bruce Watson
I ordered multiple copies of this book for my graduate seminar and unfortunately half of them were damaged by water when they arrived. Light in August itself however is a classic!Published 3 months ago by John Corrigan
My son was assigned this book for a book report. He loved the book read it in one night and received an A+ on his report.Published 5 months ago by norafraser
One of WF's major works, both a drama and a spiritual narration of the post-civil war human experience. Read morePublished 5 months ago by DRScienceGuy