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Light in August

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  43,104 Ratings  ·  1,853 Reviews
Light in August, a novel that contrasts stark tragedy with hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality, features some of Faulkner’s most memorable characters: guileless, dauntless Lena Grove, in search of the father of her unborn child; Reverend Gail Hightower, a lonely outcast haunted by visions of Confederate glory; and Joe Christmas, a desperate, enigmatic drifter con ...more
Paperback, 507 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Vintage International/Random House (first published March 12th 1932)
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Lawyer
Dec 09, 2009 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Miss Maxine Lustig, Lustig's Bookstore, Tuscaloosa, Al
Light in August, William Faulkner's Portraits of Loneliness and Isolation

A Note Regarding This Review

Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of William Faulkner, July 6, 1962. In remembrance of him and in gratitude his works making me a man better capable of understanding others, I repost this review of my Favorite novel by William Faulkner, Light in August. My Mother died following a lengthy and grueling illness. I had been her caregiver as I had promised her I would. I promised that she would
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William1
Mar 24, 2011 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, us, 20-ce
It occurs to me on reading Light in August for the third time in twenty years, that if America were ever to try to come to terms with its legacy of slavery--unlikely now at this late date--but if it ever were to empanel some kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, like the one South Africa had after apartheid, and which seems especially needed now that we are mourning the shooting deaths of so many unarmed black men, then William Faulkner's novels, certainly this one, should be part of the ...more
Lizzy
"Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders".
Are there many such novels that delve deep into our souls and that makes us suffer and weep? I believe there are many, but not many that imprison us in its tidings and with their beauty in such a way that escape is an impossibility. Yes, we cannot run away any less than its wretched characters could. Indeed, William Faulkner in Light in August wrote a tragedy set in the fictional Jeffe
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Samadrita
Words. That stew in silent torment, weep and curse, howl in pain and outrage. Words that spill from his pen and bleed on to these white sheets to taint our neat black-and-white categorizations. Universes stretch across the extremities of his fictional Jefferson, that swallow lives whole and spit back all the folly men and women are capable of. And images emerge in an unearthly chiaroscuro of mortal agony and transient joy. Colours of spiritual disquiet and alienation and uncertain footsteps towa ...more
Brian
Sep 30, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing
You’re an American author, dead almost half a century, and there’s this thing called television and a host(ess?) talking about books with half the population of a country you once inhabited, you’re on the list and why? Race.

I really hate the term Great American Novel, how we capitalize it in the middle of sentences (GAN, anyone?) and talk about examples of it with reverence. It’s a questing beast for authors that strive for it and an oddity for those who write something that receives the tag .
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Colin McKay Miller
A couple of thoughts I’ll tie together: 1) I read a BBC article that suggests a large percentage of people keep books on their shelf to impress others rather than to read them. 2) As young students, teachers take us to the library and allow us to pick out whatever book we like (as long as we’re not just trying to avoid reading by picking out a pamphlet), but by the time we reach high school and college, it’s assigned. Though I believe an educator’s recommendation to be valuable, I believe taking ...more
Kim
Aug 30, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This novel is my first experience of William Faulkner’s writing. I was drawn to it partly because one of my favourite novelists, John Steinbeck, was a great admirer of Faulkner’s work and partly because I felt it was time to fill the gap in my literary education caused by my unfamiliarity with one of the great novelists of the 20th century.

My research into which of Faulkner’s novels to start with indicated that Light in August is one of his more accessible works. This proved to be so, or at lea
...more
Mariel
Feb 01, 2012 Mariel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: it's written all over my face
Recommended to Mariel by: I started reading it without meaning to
Don't pray over no body. I knew that I would figure it out. It was something I already knew. That's how you don't feel bad about wanting to know anyone. Don't expect anything. It doesn't get rid of the falling feeling when you think about them, though. Light in August is an ultimate societal kangaroo's pouch of claustrophobic guilt for me. Where does anyone belong?

William Faulkner writes to me in my favorite way of being talked to in stories (anything). If I could have this in every book I read
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Jason Koivu
Nov 29, 2008 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I've read a few Faulkners now and this one left the least impression upon me, and yet it was still miles ahead of other novels!

William Faulkner flogs words, he teases them, he primps and preens them pretty like. You'd be hard-pressed to find a wordsmith with more range.

However, compared with his other works, specifically The Sound and The Fury and Absalom, Absalom, this one read like a plain old pedestrian story. It wasn't bad, it just didn't burn with the same fire as others. Still, he had the
...more
Aubrey
The sins of the father, the sins of the mother, the sins of the deep and the golden dark.

I've heard mentions of Light in August being one of Faulkner's most accessible works. Fitting, then, that it be the second of my readings, the first having been The Sound and the Fury. For I thought I found something in the first worth searching for in the rest, but as you and many an English Literature student know, TSatF isn't the place for certainty. Here, I found that Faulkner knew what he was doing.

I ca
...more
Paul Nelson
May 15, 2015 Paul Nelson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
'He just stared at her, at the face which he had never seen before, saying quietly (whether aloud our not, he could not have said) in a slow amazement: Why, I committed murder for her. I even stole for her as if he had just heard of it, thought of it, been told that he had done it.'

Light in August by William Faulkner is quite simply a superlative piece of fiction, it surpasses pretty much anything else I've read in 30 years. If you want to read an author who literally dances with words in a styl
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Luís C.
We are in Mississippi, in Jefferson, imaginary Yoknapatawpha County town where Faulkner located many of his novels. It is between the two world wars with a racist south, still recovering from the civil war.
Lena, pregnant girl, comes from Alabama to join the father of the child. A house is on fire. A murder has been committed. We will then follow the fate of Joe Christmas, and parallel those of the Reverend Hightower and Joanna Burden.

It is a very dense book. The atmosphere is heavy. Nothing is t
...more
Teresa
Nov 20, 2011 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, e5
"Inviolada noiva de quietude e paz,
Filha do tempo lento e da muda harmonia,
Silvestre historiadora que em silêncio dás
Uma lição floral mais doce que a poesia:
Que lenda flor-franjada envolve tua imagem
De homens ou divindades, para sempre errantes.
(...)
Quando a idade apagar toda a actual grandeza,
Tu ficarás, em meio às dores dos demais,
Amiga, a redizer o dístico imortal:
"A beleza é a verdade, a verdade a beleza"
— É tudo o que há para saber, e nada mais."

John Keats, "Ode a Uma Urna Grega"

Pensava q
...more
Steven  Godin
Jul 07, 2016 Steven Godin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, fiction, american
A dark and compelling slice of Southern Gothic with a prose which is easily recognisable as 'Faulkneresque' that showcases his ability to write about the awful deep south at a time of serious racial prejudice, misogyny and the preaching of religion through the eyes of both men of the cloth and those who are deluded and fanatical. Featuring some of Faulkner's most memorable characters including the dauntless Lena Grove searching for the father of her unborn child, Reverend Hightower who is dealin ...more
Juushika
Sep 20, 2008 Juushika rated it really liked it
Shelves: status-borrowed
Lena Grove travels, on foot and with the aid of strangers, through the South in search of the father of her unborn child. Her journey introduces the reader to a variety of characters, including the child's father, a man who falls in love with Lena, and a biracial man named Christmas. Like Lena, all of these characters have stories to tell, and Faulkner interweaves a number of back stories and histories in the body of this book. One of his more accessable texts, Light in August is easy to get in ...more
Chazzbot
Sep 06, 2007 Chazzbot rated it it was amazing
Like some bemused god looking down on his creations with a trace of empathy, but also with a hint of disdain at their hopeless bigotry, indolence, and willful ignorance, Faulkner's keen, cool eye for the way humans can be chilly in its precision. But there is no denying that Faulkner knows his characters and, by extension, his readers. This is a somewhat grim novel, with little evidence of hope for any of the characters who manage to walk away, but you will be hard pressed to find a more honest ...more
Jessica
So I'm back in school now, and for the first time in ages am being made to read books. Now I don't have any personal experience with desperately trying to get pregnant, but reading novels for school reminds me of that: there's this activity that I'm used to doing purely for fun when I feel like it, that I'm now grimly pushing through on an inflexibly dictated schedule, whether I'm in the mood or not, with this intense sense of purpose that seems to poison the whole event. The result is that I'm ...more
Tosh
Feb 28, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing
It inspired Boris Vian and that's enough in my book. Joe Christmas is one of the great fictional characters in fiction. I can smell Southern culture right off these pages. Taste it and live the tale.
Chloe
Aug 17, 2009 Chloe rated it liked it
I have to imagine that Oprah Winfrey lost a bit of her, still colossal, political capital when she attempted to get the bored housewives of Middle America to read the works of Faulkner several summers back. I remember when we first received the Oprah Box, as we called the Faulkner box set that was released for the occasion, at the bookstore where I worked. A hugely prominent end cap exhorting neophyte readers used to books that never grew more challenging than the woe-is-me fiction of Wally Lamb ...more
Jamie
Apr 20, 2012 Jamie rated it it was amazing
You start off with the one story, all right. In the background there’s something bizarre, and you can instantly make up your mind about what it is, or not bother with it at all, like you do in life or any story. Then, a few chapters pass, and like a boxer’s feint now that background is the story: and it’s so different up close, all your judgements are useless, it makes your mouth gape open to see what’s really going on. Now the original story is in the background and something new that’s bizarre ...more
Steve
Jul 19, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing
I’ve been working my through some great books I read many years ago. I don’t know as I’m picking up on new things reading with older eyes, but so far I’ve not been disappointed. The emotional wallop in these great novels still remains. My latest effort was Faulkner’s Light in August. It’s not Faulkner’s greatest book (see Absalom, Absalom), but it is the most accessible of his great novels. And it contains one of the saddest characters in all of literature: Joe Christmas. Abandoned, institutiona ...more
Simona
Oct 12, 2016 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Nella mia terra la luce ha una sua qualità particolarissima, fulgida, nitida, come se venisse non dall'oggi, ma dall'antichità classica".

E' proprio vero ciò che dice Faulkner. La luce descritta qui è una luce che risuona del periodo classico, una luce dal sapore antico, ma non per questo meno intensa.
Luce d'agosto sono piccole matrioske che racchiudono ognuna una storia, una storia con personaggi indimenticabili, unici.
Dall'Alabama al Tennessee, caratterizzato da strade polverose, seguiamo l
...more
Francisco H. González
Publicada en 1932 poco después de El ruido y la furia (1929), Luz de agosto es entre otras muchas cosas la historia de un viaje, de una fuga, de un tránsito. La que lleva a cabo la joven embarazada Lena Grove, quien abandona su hogar (la compañía de la familia de su hermano) en busca del hombre que la dejó en una situación doblemente embarazosa.

Así, en el camino, de carreta en carreta, ayudada por las personas que se cruzan en su deambular, acabará Lena llegando a la localidad de Jefferson, dond
...more
Sofía (Софья)
Mi historia con Faulkner es larga. Durante varios años yo me tropezaba con su nombre y no me animaba, finalmente pensé "¿Qué estoy esperando?" y tomé el libro. Decidí no leer ninguna reseña para tener una opinión libre, y así se tiene que leer a Faulkner. Por esta razón no voy a escribir nada que pueda arruinar su lectura.

Por lo tanto, bienvenidos a Yoknapatawpha, condado creado por Faulkner como escenario para sus novelas. Tenemos tres personajes principales (Lena Grove, Joe Christmas y el reve
...more
Ubik 2.0
Apr 28, 2015 Ubik 2.0 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-e-book
«Nella mia terra la luce ha una sua qualità particolarissima; fulgida, nitida, come se venisse non dall’oggi ma dall’età classica». William Faulkner

Archetipo del (grande) romanzo americano ad impronta “sudista”, Luce d’agosto avvolge nella sua prosa vertiginosa e febbrile una decina di personaggi, solo per limitarsi ai maggiori, ossessionati e tormentati da passioni insanabili e da un passato, prossimo o remoto, personale o familiare, col quale non riescono in alcun modo a pacificarsi.

Forse l’u
...more
Larry Bassett
If you are intimidated by Faulkner, you are not the first. If someone has told you just to let Faulkner’s words “wash over you” and resist the urge to figure them out right away, welcome to the group. Maybe you will love Faulkner and want to read everything he has ever written. Maybe you will say, “Be gone, Mr. Bill!” I am not the first to fail Faulkner 101 and I will not be the last.

I have been somewhat successful in letting The Sound and the Fury wash over me. I have been soundly defeated by
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Corinne
Faulkner is amazing - he is always making up words that are several words put together. I like this technique because that one combination-word somehow creates a whole different picture. For example: cinderstrewnpacked or Augusttremulous or pinkwomansmelling. It's a harsh story but, I think, so beautifully written. Sometimes he writes whole paragraphs that are just a jumble of memories - like just a bunch of loosely related details in one sentence, with nothing connecting them. Those take a whil ...more
Bruce
Apr 28, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing
The characters of importance in this novel are all in a sense outsiders to the society in which they find themselves. One, the first introduced, is Lena Grove, young and pregnant, having walked for thirty days looking for her lover who is a scoundrel and who left her when he learned of her pregnancy. She is at term. But shortly she seems to disappear temporarily from the narrative to be replaced by Joe Christmas (so named because as an infant he was abandoned on the doorstep of an orphanage on C ...more
Richard
Jul 31, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like to think deeply about morality.
Shelves: 2012
"Light in August" is probably just about the best love story that I have ever read.

"What love story?" you ask. "I thought this book was about castration and arson and racism and horsebeating and wifebeating and whorebeating and slicing a woman's neck with a straight razor and then smashing in your dad's head with a chair?"

Yes. It is about that in a way. But it is as if Faulkner shows us the darkness of the human heart in order to warn us against the folly that lurks, often unchecked, in the de
...more
Bonnie
“…a fellow is more afraid of the trouble he might have than he ever is of the trouble he’s already got. He’ll cling to trouble he’s used to before he’ll risk a change. Yes. A man will talk about how he’d like to escape from living folks. But it’s the dead folks that do him the damage. It’s the dead ones that lay quiet in one place and don’t try to hold him, that he can’t escape from.”

Light in August, set in Faulkner’s oft used Yoknapatawpha County, follows three separate yet connected storylin
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William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as earl
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“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.” 468 likes
“Memory believes before knowing remembers.

[Light in August]”
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