Light in August

William Faulkner’s Light in August is the tragic story of life in the mid-south during the early twentieth century but probably would not be published today.  It is a good story but the use of our time’s forbidden racial terminology would turn off an agent or publisher far before the story of pregnant and unwed Lena Grove, the father of her child, the mixed race Joe Christmas, and the supporting characters could be told.

I agree with what another reviewer said, “Dogged by guilt, shame, and humiliation, they strive—some ceaselessly, others successfully, and still others for naught—for forgiveness, salvation, and a place to call their own.”

Faulkner’s writing style is, well, it is Faulkner’s style. Most of our English teachers would mark up the long run-on sentences and the dropping of apostrophes in contractions, un-paragraphed switch of speakers, etc. Another technique he uses (at least in this book) is to introduce a situation and then back up to what caused the event. That style is little distracting to me but he did get the Nobel Prize for literature and most writers never get close to that level of recognition.

I read Absalom, Absalom as required reading in high school but don’t remember much more than the title and its biblical reference. I plan to read it again and I have two more of his books on my shelf: Sanctuary and The Sound and the Fury.

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