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Go Down, Moses

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  6,058 ratings  ·  291 reviews
“I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.” —William Faulkner, on receiving the Nobel Prize

Go Down, Moses is composed of seven interrelated stories, all of them set in Faulkner’s mythic Yok
Paperback, 365 pages
Published January 30th 1991 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1942)
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Best Southern Literature
91st out of 784 books — 1,874 voters
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55th out of 391 books — 464 voters

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Community Reviews

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When I'm away from Faulkner's works, I always think of them as "hard", "confusing", "over-the-top". You know, that sort of thing that only intellectuals read and pretend to understand and enjoy. But when I start to read them...

The first chapter is mysterious and deliberately obtuse. The reader is picked up in the middle of some strange goings-on and must try to decipher the characters and the allusive plotline.

But keep reading. No matter how much you feel like you're drowning, or lost in some ma
This Has been a wonderful reading experience. It feels like I've been to a symphony, overwhelmed by the many component parts but the totality is just so great and, to my mind, so well done. This novel, which is a collection of tales out of the Mississippi delta, encompasses a century of life, a war that splintered the country, the racial lines that divide then cross and mingle, the ever-changing land itself, and annual male rites of passage in the hunt.

Once again I've chosen to allow Faulkner's
“The Bear” is one of my favorite short stories and the only thing I knew going in to Go Down, Moses was that it would be here surrounded by six more to make a loose kind of novel. OK then. Let’s do this. But what Faulkner does is just dunk you headfirst underwater and as you paddle back up— the loose stories over your head, jumping around like waterbugs with time and characters— all of a sudden “The Bear” comes along and in one masterful lunging stroke swipes you all the way back to dry land. Pa ...more
This is a book of seven interrelated stories, the first of which, “Was,” is only thirty pages long. It is the tale of nine-year-old Cass and his uncles, Buck and Buddy, as they chase the escaped slave, Tomey’s Turl, who regularly runs away to a neighboring farm to visit his sweetheart. The subplot is that the mistress of the neighboring house, Miss Sophonsiba, has her eye set on catching one of the two confirmed bachelors. The story is gentle and amusing, lacking any hint of obvious cruelty, and ...more
I know this isn't going to be much of a review...people always want the whys and wherefores for why people give the rating they give...Right now, it is simply because I 'heart' Faulkner. He is one of the most magnificent story tellers ever. His way of getting deep into the heart and matter of mankind's relationship with mankind and nature is genius. I believe there is no one out there that can ever compare to his ability to tell a doesn't even feel like so much a story than a history ...more
Sep 09, 2008 Allegra rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Allegra by: St. John's College
When I read this book in school I really had to get past Faulkner's indirect and colloquial writing style - it pissed me off for some reason and I just had a lot of trouble getting through it. But then, through our discussions I understood more of what was going on, and later, re-reading parts, they became clearer and clearer. Now, I have found that the images in the book pop up all the time in my life, and resonate with profound meaning for me. Once, driving through Florida, I saw a series of h ...more
In love with Faulkner (4.5)—

I didn't get him. When I read his As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Absalom! Absalom! a few years ago. I liked Light in August, but I couldn't appreciate his style. And I guess for everything there is a season. Then I came back, and it happened to be in the right season, when my preoccupation was not storytelling but style and sentence rhythm. It has to do with my progress as a writer as I'm able to appreciate fiction for other than their plot.

I relished, no
Among the most beautiful of Faulkner is the Faulkner that studies the relationships that mankind forges amongst itself and with the outside world. The relationships of race, of animal, of culture. In this book, Faulkner shows such a profound level of insight into how we cope with what we must and create what we need. The mosts famous section of this book, "The Bear," is just a wonder for how well it does what Faulkner messes up in works like Intruder in the Dust. Coming of age, the politics betw ...more
Diane Barnes
I find it difficult to review this novel, so I will leave that to others more proficient at doing so. Some adjectives just off the top of my head: powerful, amazing, unbearably sad, jubilantly comic. All these things in one short novel is incredible enough, but Faulkner manages all these things sometimes in one (long) sentence. Relationships and kinships between the black and white races, man vs. nature, old vs. young, are some recurring themes that are part of the magic that binds you to this w ...more

Club Read: On the Southern Literary Trail

Contains spoilers.

Challenging work reading and re-reading this novel, but in the end satisfying. A few random thoughts and provisional explications on some of the narratives:

The stories of 'Go Down Moses' often seem to live in a time warp. Except for 'Delta Autumn' which references a disappearing Mississippi wilderness, there is little sense here of change and movement through time. Part of this is due to Faulkner's concentration on relationships and to
As usual, a journey into the Mississippi of William Faulkner is not recommended for someone looking for a light read in the dentist office. However, if you like books which challenge you - not only with subject matter, but also through their mechanics - then Faulkner proves superb.

Go Down Moses was always presented to me as a collection of short stories. There is a certain truth to this. Each chapter can exist on its own - and tehy often are: the college freshman classic The Bear, is one of the
I can just manage to recall reading something by Faulkner at some point in college. Couldn't say what book - required reading for American Literature or something like that. My memory is more clear about my reaction to Faulkner in those days (I didn't like it!) than exactly why that was the case. So it was with some trepidation that I picked up this book from a pile that was sitting around the house. With true grit and determination, I struggled through a solid 75% of these related short stories ...more
Mark Mallett
Some books are easy and breezy; this is not. But the experience of reading it is exquisite. Faulkner's writing style is dense and perhaps convoluted. You might misinterpret, for example, the antecedent of a pronoun until some pages after you encounter it; you might not even sort out which characters are given voice until the recognition dawns some time later. Some subtle happening or remark might have great meaning (and I'm sure I missed a lot of these); different parts of the book amplify other ...more
Probably my favorite Faulkner novel. First time I ever read Faulkner where I wasn't forced to as part of an English class, and I was finally able to enjoy it. Suddenly I realized that Faulkner was, in fact, hilarious, and I was having a great time reading the book. Then I got to "The Bear", and it blew me away, and I understood why Faulkner is often regarded as America's greatest writer. I recommend this to anyone who has ever been curious about Faulkner.
In some ways, it's futile to review Faulkner. I could go on and on about how frustrating he can be, what with all the names and mental genealogical maps and allusions and illusions and whispers and shouts and ambiguities and razor-edged realism and comedy and tragedy and horror. But, then, that's really the point, isn't it?

He is a Southern writer, to be sure, a Southerner with a capital S. But he's so much more. If his South is an accurate representation of its tortured, guilt-ridden soul, then
(contains spoilers)
This collection of short stories combines to form a novel about Isaac McCaslin, taking the reader from the mid 1800's to the 1930s on a Mississippi plantation.
The orphaned son of the plantation, Isaac is raised by his cousin and his father's former slaves, especially Sam, the mixed blood son of an Indian chief. He is raised to be one with the land, attuned to the virgin forest, understanding the wildlife from squirrel to elusive bear. He is annoited in the blood of the great
1)The structure really added something. Although Faulkner said he thought of Go Down, Moses as an intact novel, it is organized as a collection of short stories. Each story takes place in the same location and involves members of the McCaslin family, but each takes place at a different time between the 1850’s and the 1940’s, and the protagonists change. The structure helps convey a key idea: there are trends and circumstances that last beyond the span of a human life, but shape and influence hum ...more
This is as thorough-going imagining of a complex family history that can be imagined, very engrossing. Plus, Faulkner presents it in inverted, dramatic fashion: stuff that happens in the first two pages gets explained on like p.102 and p.310 (don't hold me on the exact page numbers). Its as if the novel were a deck of cards that got shuffled. Though this can be somewhat confusing, I found it compelling. I couldn't put this sucker down. Also, it is present as seven autonomous, but related short s ...more
Clearly I should rate this as amazing, since it no doubt is, but as a casual reader, reading it purely for pleasure, I'd just say it's a very enjoyable book but not necessarily the most pleasurable reading experience. It's beautiful throughout. It's sometimes very funny. It's rewarding to stick with it and read the whole thing, to see how ideas about race, blood, family identity, national identity, justice, and human dignity come together in the interconnected lives of the characters. Some are w ...more
Justin Mitchell
Okay, I admit it: in high school, I hated William Faulkner. I thought he was the most pretentious writer I´d ever read. Mostly, I was a senior and wanted to figure out an excuse not to finish The Sound and the Fury. But as I got older and got more and more serious about writing and what-not, I felt that my lack of experience of his writing was a liability. I mentioned this to a friend, and she gave this to me. Before I got to it, I read Light In August and found myself enjoying exactly what I'd ...more
August 2013 selection within the group On the Southern Literary Trail. Glad it was selected because I likely would not have tackled it without the election of this "book of the month".

You know the parts of the Bible that most people skip over because it details that this person begat this person who begat this person who begat this person who begat this person. Well, in large part, this book is 365 pages of just that; told in halfway reverse order.......but because of the way the dynamic is rev
I would place this in my top 5 favorite Faulkner novels, although I have a hard time thinking of it as a novel. Seven stories centered around three families (one of them black) descended from a single pioneer/plantation owner. Except that one of the stories is almost completely unrelated (except thematically) to the plot. That story, “Pantaloon in Black” is one of my favorite stories, an incredible story of grief that also shows how casual or passive racism causes a person to be uncomprehending ...more
Here is one of the great books. Faulkner experimented with form here, writing a series of short stories about one family in his Yoknawpatawpha County, the McCaslin/Beauchamps. Beginning and ending with two "lighter" stories -- that is, slightly humorous -- this is a dark mediation on the ramifications of human indecency to others, in the form of slavery and its aftermath.

One of Faulkner's most poignant creations is the character of Sam Fathers, the half-black, half-Chickasaw ex-slave who takes t
Ahmad Sharabiani
578. Go Down, Moses, William Faulkner
برخیز ای موسی - ویلیام فاکنر (نیلوفر) ادبیات
عنوان کتاب «برخیز ای موسی»، برگرفته از سرودهای مذهبی سیاه‌پوستان به همین نام است. درون‌مایه سرود، نمایانگر آرزوهای سیاه‌پوستان برای حضور منجی است، که به قدرت بازوی او، ظلم و ستم‌ها بر سیاه‌پوستان، از میان برداشته خواهد شد. کتاب هفت داستان دارد: «بود»، «آتش و اجاق»، «دلقک داغدار»، «پیران قوم»، «خرس»، «پاییز دلتا» و «برخیز ای موسی». وجود پیوستگی مضمونی و شخصیتی بین داستان‌های کتاب، آن را از حالت مجموعه داستان‌های کوتا
"Don't you see? This whole land, the whole South, is cursed, and all of us who derive from it, whom it ever suckled, white and black both, lie under the curse? Granted that my people brought the curse unto the land: maybe for that reason their descendants alone can - not resist it, not combat it - maybe just endure and outlast it until the curse is lifted" from The Bear in Go Down, Moses.

The novel (and Faulkner insisted that it is a novel) consists of seven short stories that deal with the white
Go Down, Moses is great. I can't give it 5 stars, because that would put it up there with Absalom, Absalom! which would be wrong.

Go Down, Moses has a reputation for being difficult to follow. I found it pretty easy, but that's because I've read almost everything else, so many things that wouldn't have had any context were fairly easy to grasp and also very interesting in light of all the other Yoknapatawpha County books. So I'd definitely recommend reading GDM later rather than earlier if you're
Go Down, Moses marks the end of William Faulkner's period of greatest creativity. In this novel built out of interconnected stories he addresses themes that connect with and overlap those in other of his works of this period, particularly The Hamlet. The idea of time - past, present and future - is connected throughout the novel by blood; the bloodlines of the family. Faulkner's book of stories is named for the last one in the book. There are only seven of which one, "The Fire and the Heart", ex ...more
Breaking down Faulkner's "The Bear" (one of the best stories I've ever read) is beyond my feeble critical abilities. That said, I turned to Go Down, Moses in order to read "The Bear" in its original context. Evidently Faulkner saw Go Down, Moses as a "novel." So much so that he insisted that "Stories" be dropped from the title. Nevertheless, on surface the book seems to comprise of loosely connected short stories. Well, at least until the centerpiece arrives -- "The Bear" -- then all the echoes, ...more
Lisa James
Having never read Faulkner, I was pretty happy with this one. I enjoyed each story for itself, as well as how well each story fit in with the whole. The only thing that I would have liked better was if he had "ordered" the stories in chronological order, & not had them skip back & forth in time the way they did. Hemingway did this with the Nick Adams stories, but when they were released as a book after his death, the publishers put them in order so that they made sense. I would have love ...more
Julia Boechat Machado
Faulkner não considerava Go Down, Moses como antologia de contos, mas como um romance em episódios sobre a relação do homem com a natureza. Isaac McCaslin é um dos personagens mais interessantes do autor.
This delta, he thought: This Delta. This land which man has deswamped and denuded and derivered in two generations so that white men can own plantations and commute every night to Memphis and black men own plantations and ride in jim crow cars to Chicago to live in millionaires’ mansions on Lake
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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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“But you cant be alive forever, and you always wear out life long before you have exhausted the possibilities of living. And all that must be somewhere; all that could not have been invented and created just to be thrown away. And the earth is shallow; there is not a great deal of it before you come to the rock. And the earth dont want to just keep things, hoard them; it wants to use them again.” 7 likes
“With the gun which was too big for him, the breech-loader which did not even belong to him but to Major de Spain and which he had fired only once, at a stump on the first day to learn the recoil and how to reload it with the paper shells, he stood against a big gum tree beside a little bayou whose black still water crept without motion out of a cane-brake, across a small clearing and into the cane again, where, invisible, a bird, the big woodpecker called Lord-to-God by negroes, clattered at a dead trunk. It was a stand like any other stand, dissimilar only in incidentals to the one where he had stood each morning for two weeks; a territory new to him yet no less familiar than that other one which after two weeks he had come to believe he knew a little--the same solitude, the same loneliness through which frail and timorous man had merely passed without altering it, leaving no mark nor scar, which looked exactly as it must have looked when the first ancestor of Sam fathers' Chickasaw predecessors crept into it and looked about him, club or stone axe or bone arrow drawn and ready, different only because, squatting at the edge of the kitchen, he had smelled the dogs huddled and cringing beneath it and saw the raked ear and side of the bitch that, as Sam had said, had to be brave once in order to keep on calling herself a dog, and saw yesterday in the earth beside the gutted log, the print of the living foot. He heard no dogs at all. He never did certainly hear them. He only heard the drumming of the woodpecker stop short off, and knew that the bear was looking at him. he did not move, holding the useless gun which he knew now he would never fire at it, now or ever, tasting in his saliva that taint of brass which he had smelled in the huddled dogs when he peered under the kitchen.” 7 likes
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