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The Reivers: A Reminiscence

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  4,514 ratings  ·  251 reviews
One of Faulkner's comic masterpieces, The Reivers is a picaresque that tells of three unlikely car thieves from rural Mississippi. Eleven-year-old Lucius Priest is persuaded by Boon Hogganbeck, one of his family's retainers, to steal his grandfather's car and make a trip to Memphis. The Priests' black coachman, Ned McCaslin, stows away, and the three of them are off on a h ...more
Paperback, First Vintage International Edition, 320 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Vintage International (first published 1962)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseySlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Best Books of the Decade: 1960's
163rd out of 698 books — 922 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeMiddlesex by Jeffrey EugenidesThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerThe Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Pulitzer Winners: Fiction & Novels
59th out of 89 books — 906 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 02, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jeffrey by: On the Southern Literary Trail
Shelves: southern
“It was too late. Maybe yesterday, while I was still a child, but not now. I knew too much, had seen too much, I was a child no longer now; innocence and childhood were forever lost, forever gone from me.”

Lucius Priest is almost proud of his innocence, an innocence that is easy to maintain as long as he stays in Yoknapatawpha County Mississippi, but when two family retainers by the name of Boon Hogganbeck and Ned McCaslin decide to go on an adventure and convince him to be a part of their ludic
Oct 11, 2014 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Mike by: Miss Maxine Lustig, Lustig's Bookstore
The Reivers: William Faulkner's Final Gift

This novel was a group read for members of On the Southern Literary Trail in January, 2013.

William Faulkner, The last dust-jacket photo. Reviewer's copy.

"Your outside is just what you live in, sleep in, and has little connection with who you are and even less with what you do.”

The Reivers is a Grandfather tale. So I beg the reader's patience while I write about my own Grandfather a bit. It is a Grandson's tale. There is a point to it.

Any boy who ever
Henry Avila
As an old man, reciting his unusual, true story, to his own grandson, named after him, of long ago, when he, at eleven, Lucius Priest, lived a comfortable but uninspired life, in the small town of Jefferson, northern Mississippi, with his parents and three younger brothers, the year 1905. His father makes him work at the family livery stable, every Saturday, for 10 cents a day, to know the benefits of employment. But the dullness will soon evaporate, Boon Hogganbeck, all six foot 4 inches tall, ...more
"Sometimes you have to say goodbye to the things you know and hello to the things you don't!"
I confess I knew what to expect before starting the book and was really looking forward to reading the text the 1969 movie was based on. The quote above is from this Steve McQueen movie, one of my all-time favorites despite McQueen's apparent disappointment in his role.

The book surpassed my expectations. I have read Faulkner before, but never was I moved to laugh out loud like here. A grandfather recount
Some initial thoughts---the often matter-of-fact relations between black and white in trying situations, when they (in this case men) sit together and actually talk some things out. Not equal but as co-conspirators on this earth.

Women--sacred or profane, little seen or altogether too much present. I want to read so much more and see more Faulkner women.

The young---of body (Lucius) or mind (Boon) certainly led us on a wonderful chase but without the wiles of Ned (the fool?) there would have been
Mike Moore
An imagined meeting between William Faulkner and Random House marketing executive James Inge:

James Inge: Bertie! Great to see you my man. Congratulations on finishing up your big trilogy. Boy, those Snopeses, am I right? Pull up a seat.

William Faulkner: Hello James, thanks. I want to talk with you about my next book. There's something that's been bothering me.

JI: Is it the pressure of history, the force of a host of ancestors or past decisions like vengeful furies breaking into the present and
At my high school, they introduced us to Faulkner with SANCTUARY. I never returned to him until this summer, when somewhere or other I picked up a copy of this, Faulkner's last novel, published a month before he died in 1962. The following year, it won a Pulitzer, yet it is one of his least-known works.

I am convinced this is the novel with which to introduce readers to Faulkner. It is set in the fictitious Yoknapatawpha County that is the setting of several of his novels, a landscape with a ric
The first 50+ pages was like listening to someone tell a story with so many tangents and sentences so long that I forget where it was even headed to being with. I understand the style was part of the story, but I don't like hearing a story told in that manner in real life, so it lost its novelty quickly. I laughed out loud once, but the rest of the humor never even got a smile. The only reason I can see this won a Pulitzer is because of the year it was published and the racial commentary (not a ...more
K.M. Weiland
I find it interesting so many people found this book incomprehensible. This easily the *most* comprehensible of any of Faulkner's writings. It's also the most likable, the most charming, and the only one of his books I can say I honestly enjoyed all the way through. It's not as self-conscious, artsy, or convoluted as most of his other works, and because of that very thing, I'd say it offers more depth than even his "deep" books. Here, we actually find a cast of primarily likable characters whose ...more
I had some trouble to fight my way through this novel.

The story is actually quite interesting and amusing: The three heroes, 11 yo Lucius, Boon Hogganbeck and "Uncle" Ned pilfer the car of Lucius' grandfather and want to travel for four days to the "big city". You have to understand that at the time in which the story takes place only very few cars (that were called automobiles back then) were seen on the so-called roads in the Southern U.S. and a journey this long represents a considerable chal
This was my fourth and final Faulkner novel for the month of March. I have to admit that I have a bit of Faulkner fatigue which in all transparency could have impacted my rating. This is Faulkner's most accessible novel - a Huck Finn style coming of age story that is fun, exciting, and subtle in its commentary on race and manhood. It has almost no resemblance to anything else he has written. It's really quite a tribute to Faulkner's ability that he can write across such diverse genre's while sti ...more
I really enjoyed The Reivers. I wasn't expecting to because I'd read in several places that it was a "comic masterpiece" and I didn't really like Faulkner's attempts at humor (e.g., the attempted comic scenes as Soldier's Pay degenerates into farce). But his dark humor - that's another thing altogether, and Faulkner has a deft touch.

He's also a master at the child's-eye-view of proceedings in the adult world. You can see this in many places in Faulkner (e.g., in Barn Burning, in Intruder In The
The Reivers, written at the end of William Faulkner's life, is a picaresque tale of a young boy's coming of age. There is a certain resemblance to aspects of Huckleberry Finn in the adventures and friendships of young Lucius Priest. Lucius, an eleven year old boy is sensitive and intelligent, but innocent of the rougher side of life and ready for adventure when Boon Hogganbeck, a simple man, and Ned William McCaslin Jefferson Missippi (a Negro referred to as Ned) steal Lucius' grandfather's car ...more
Cathryn Conroy
The former rector of our church recently died. She was a longtime William Faulkner lover and just couldn't stand the thought that she had read all his books. So she saved this one--his last, written in 1962 and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize--to read (or have read to her) on her deathbed, whenever that day came. Tragically, she died suddenly of a heart attack and never got to read it. A few of us at our church are reading it "for her." And she would have loved this book! So will you, especially ...more
Reading Faulkner is an acquired taste, or more accurately an acquired skill, certainly for those of us trained to digest the literal meaning of a each sentence before moving to the next (often by virtue of our professions or field of study). The Reivers is said to be one of the more "accessible" of Faulkner's works, yet the initially-frustrating style of run-on, semi-stream-of-conscious narration is in full force from the first sentence of the book. Faulkner novices are given the (excellent) adv ...more
A kinder, gentler Faulkner.
3.5* (I may have liked this book more in the way of complete surprise - to find myself reading Faulkner without throwing the book down and stomping on it. If Joe Shmoe had written it, would I be less impressed?) Faulkner is a superb writer whose way of telling a story (backwards, forwards, fits and starts, parentheses within parentheses, switchbacks and a whole lotta beating around the bush) is bewildering and exasperating for the most part beyond bearing. When, however, he decides to tell a sto ...more
Many people refer to this book as a coming of age story about Lucius, an 11 year old boy who takes an trip with two of his father’s employees without his family’s knowledge. Along the way the young man is exposed to car thievery, whores, horse theft and smuggling, gambling and other family values. Others say that the book is about the coming of the automobile, and the adjustment that American’s were faced with. Both of these ideas are equally important themes to this book, as they parallel each ...more
This is a book that can be read over and over again, as a matter of fact, this copy purchased over 25 years ago finally fell apart in my hands after being read countless times. The Reivers is the story Boon, who took the 11 yr old son of his employer, Lucius, on a weeklong joy ride to a memphis boarding house for women in his bosses car. Ned, a stowaway in the car, trades the car for a horse, to race the horse against one it has lost to twice already in order to win both the money from the race ...more
A novel unlike any other Faulkner I have read so far, this is part coming-of-age story, part road novel, part a merry adventure, and part morality tale. Lacking all the linguistic flourishes and plot complexity typical of Faulkner, it is a more or less linear, straightforward narrative. A young boy Lucius, and family retainer and odd-jobs-man, Boon Hogganbeck steal Lucius's grandfather's car and go on a trip to Memphis, while Ned McCaslin a black man stows away in the car. In Memphis, the three ...more
Steven Howes
The Reivers is a great story that takes place in 1905 Tennessee and Mississippi. It involves an 11-year old boy, a family hired man, and a black man on an ill-advised trip to Memphis in an automobile borrowed, or stolen, depending on your interpretation, from the boy's grandfather. Along the way, they end up in the company of a group of prostitutes and get involved in a country horse race designed to regain possession of the auto which the black man had traded for a racehorse unbeknownst to the ...more
Renee Porter
I have always found Faulkner difficult reading, a chore if you will.

This was a bookclub read, so I tackled it with grace and found to my surprise it was a fun read. I consider The Reivers to be Faulkner at his most entertaining. Unburdened by the need to address the darker symptoms of the human condition, he is free to let his imagination run wild and the novel has a great deal of charm.
Faulkner writes a great tale. This story is funny, fast paced and intricate--sometimes too intricate to follow easily. As with all Faulkner, it takes time to get used to the style: this one is a narrative and rambles in the usual way. The book takes some concentration to read. I have finished it, but I feel like I need a discussion group to help me see what I might have missed and to point out the obscured things that I found in the story. I am still wondering, is Ned actually related to Grandfa ...more
I read somewhere that William Faulkner fanatics don't very much like The Reivers because it is quite accessible. Awesome. I only read one other of Faulkner's stories -As I Lay Dying- and The Reivers is the easiest to read, and consequently the more enjoyable, though still challenging, especially the beginning and the ending. But the language is beautiful, wholesome and at certain passages plain stunning. The characters have depth, originality and serve perfectly as the author's tribute to indivi ...more
So sad that this last work of Faulkner’s was not the gem I longed for. I even had doubts about the authenticity of The Reivers during my read. Perhaps I was distracted while simultaneously perusing Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary, a fabulous gift from my sister.

A turn of the century road trip gone awry when an odd trio
‘reiv’ a car and head to Memphis, each with their own agenda. What should have been comical was not and the characters were either dull or stereotyped.

Perhaps it would be best
Kirk Smith
I had a grin on my face through most of this book, yet never laughed out loud even once. A great story of hijinks and adventure. A little slow in parts, but overall a very good book.
Whoa, so Faulkner can be sustainedly and riotously hilarious along with all of his other Faulkner-punches? Unfair but also: the best. I loved this.
Definitely a lot easier to understand and follow than "The Sound and the Fury." Since that was the last Faulkner book I'd read, I wasn't quite sure what to expect; I was pleasantly surprised! The book is written in such a way that, if you don't know anything about it, you have no idea where it's going when it begins. This makes you want to keep on reading until before you know it, the book's finished! It's basically a 'coming-of-age' story and you see the main character learn and grow throughout ...more
William Faulkner is one of the best authors in my opinion. His profile of a sage from the Old South is his signature. Many of his books were very deep and sometimes difficult to digest. I was in the generation of students that were dragged into his world. Being from the South I could enjoy some of his nuances that being from the South made sense to me. The Reivers, was the combination of great humor, story telling (no one could use this material in stand up comedy) and life's experiences.

I love
Am I the only one who doesn't get Faulkner?
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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
More about William Faulkner...
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“It was too late. Maybe yesterday, while I was still a child, but not now. I knew too much, had seen too much, I was a child no longer now; innocence and childhood were forever lost, forever gone from me.” 9 likes
“I will never lie again.” 7 likes
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