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Intruder in the Dust

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  2,932 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Set in the deep south that provided the backdrop for all of Faulkner's finest fiction, Intruder in the Dust is the novel that marks the final phase of its author's outstanding creative period. The chronicle of an elderly black farmer arrested for the murder of a white man and under threat from the lynch mob is a characteristically Faulknerian tale of dark omen, its sole ra ...more
Paperback, Vintage Classics, 247 pages
Published August 8th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1948)
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1984 by George OrwellAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Stranger by Albert Camus
Best Books of the Decade: 1940's
97th out of 391 books — 464 voters
As I Lay Dying by William FaulknerThe Sound and the Fury by William FaulknerLight in August by William FaulknerAbsalom, Absalom! by William FaulknerSanctuary by William Faulkner
Best of William Faulkner
13th out of 34 books — 32 voters


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Community Reviews

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William
I read this in part as a response to what happened in Ferguson, the murder of that young black man still in his first youth. The poverty and nth-class status of blacks in the south at the time this novel is set--the 1940s, just before the advent of MLK and the Civil Rights Movement--was harsh and Faulkner captures it, and the murderous white vindictiveness, exquisitely. I like Faulkner. But if you have not yet read him do not start with Intruder. Read The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Ligh ...more
Susan
Rereading this one I realized why I’ve never liked To Kill a Mockingbird (which I read after this one) as much as most people. Not that I don’t like Harper Lee’s novel, just that I see it as simpler, more straight forward and less ambiguous than Faulkner’s. Early in the 40ies Faulkner wrote to his publisher about a book he had in mind which would be a “blood-and-thunder mystery novel, original in that the solver is a negro, himself in jail for the murder and is about to be lynched, solves murder ...more
Liana
Jul 14, 2008 Liana rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Liana by: School
When explaining our summer reading assingments, our teacher told us to read Intruder In the Dust first, because it was a difficult book. She also told us that just because it was a hard book doesn't mean it isn't a good book. She said, and I quote, "The book doesn't suck, YOU suck for not being able to understand the book."

With that in mind, I would like to say that Intruder In the Dust is a terrible book, but not because of the difficult writing style or lack of interesting characters, but mere
...more
Jamie
Dove into this right after Go Down, Moses thanks to Lucas Beauchamp and, well. I owe him one for that. I had to keep putting it down mid-page either to laugh or to think, which is the recipe for what I want out of anything.

Also, I see a lot of people apple-to-appleing this with To Kill A Mockingbird but I’d say it’s more apple-to-pear: kind of similar enough on the outside but if you take a big bite you’re in for a pretty good surprise. There’s just a heap more moral complexity here, which I lov
...more
Luís Miguel
Este foi difícil... O mistério passado no rescaldo do assassínio de um homem branco por um negro (Lucas Beauchamp), numa cidade do sul dos EUA. Para escapar ao linchamento o negro conta com a ajuda de um rapaz de 16 anos, do seu criado negro e de uma idosa. O que parece uma sinopse simples e atractiva não implica uma leitura fácil e fluída. O exercício de procurar no texto o que não está escrito afigura-se especialmente importante aqui, porque alguns acontecimentos reflectem os anteriores.

A téc
...more
Jim
It has taken me fourteen years since reading Light in August to pick up another Faulkner book. This must not happen again. I know the temptation to be lazy is sometimes overwhelming, but it is definitely worth the effort. Reading Faulkner is like stepping into a vortex: After the first wave hits you, you start spinning around trying to make sense of what you see like the narrator of Poe's "Descent Into the Maelstrom." Faulkner's prose has a robust, but exceedingly difficult quality to it. I will ...more
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
In June of this year I wrote a piece on my Ana the Imp blog marking the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, high among the greats of modern American literature. At the time another blogger suggested that there might be some similarities here with themes earlier examined in the work of William Faulkner. After a little exploration we both agreed that there were possible parallels between To Kill a Mockingbird and Intruder in the Dust, a novel publis ...more
Ben
Pedantic, repetitive, and (at least by today's standards) racist, Intruder In The Dust is far from Faulkner's best showing. The prose feels at times like an all too conscious borrowing of his own style, and yet the ponderousness of the characters' inner doubts and dialogues is often wasted on subjects as trivial as a young man's first cup of coffee or a mother's football fanaticism, making farcical what was grand about the style of say Absalom, Absalom!

This book is billed as a murder mystery, wh
...more
Ashton
I picked up this novel at a library used book sale for one dollar. I didn’t have anything else by Faulkner, so I figured I might as well try it for such a good price. I’m very glad that I did so.

When I started reading Intruder in the Dust, I almost gave up after the first two chapters. It wasn’t that the plot wasn’t interesting or that it wasn’t well-crafted, but I had never experienced Faulkner’s writing style. For anyone else who hasn’t read him, his sentences have very little punctuations, a
...more
AC
Faulkner here mixes his typical excellent storytelling and character development with some detective work by 3 unlikely persons. The story focuses on Lucas Beauchamp, an elderly but proud black man accused of murder on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence. He is obstinate and more than ready to pay with his life for a crime he didn't commit rather than suffer the indignity of having to point out how absurd the case against him is. Two young boys (one white and one black), an elderly woman wi ...more
Aramys
Faulkner es impresionante, pese a lo difícil que puede ser leerlo, me fascina, lo que transmite, como escribe, como dibuja el alma humana…
En esta novela, casi una novela negra en toda regla, Faulkner nos plantea un misterio, un hombre negro ha sido acusado de matar a un hombre blanco, el pueblo quiere lincharlo, pero el, lejos de defenderse, guarda silencio y pide ayuda a un chico con el que comparte un episodio del pasado…

Buenísima novela y retrato escalofriante del sur más profundo….
Martin
I found this novel to be overstuffed yet lacking in so many ways. This is perhaps the most overwritten novel I have ever read. There’s approximately 60 pages worth of plot expanded to 250 pages. I believe it was around this time (concurrent with Malcom Cowley’s canonization of Faulkner in the “Portable Faulkner” which more clearly laid out the Yoknapatawpha mythology) that Faulkner became concerned with revisiting Jefferson’s distant past. The description of the town’s old names, including Haber ...more
Christina Zanakos
Having never read Faulkner before, I have to say that I was unimpressed. Each sentence was literally a page long with no commas, pauses, or punctuation, and was entirely confusing. Though Intruder in the Dust is a nice coming of age novel describing putting aside racial differences in the quest to obtain the truth, it is not worth flipping through page after endless page of unpunctuated lines to figure out the true story. Yes, society was corrupt and yes, an innocent black man was going to be ki ...more
Simona
Faulkner è uno di quegli amori difficili che tornano dopo lunghi anni di assenza. E' uno di quegli amori in cui all'inizio fai fatica ad abbandonarti, a lasciarti andare, ma poi capisci che puoi fidarti e alla fine ti conquistano.
Non è facile leggere Faulkner perché è un autore complesso e perché i suoi periodi sono lunghissimi (vedere il periodo che inizia a pagina 229 e termina a pagina 240 senza interruzioni).
In questo romanzo si scontrano molte delle tematiche facenti parte delle sue opere
...more
Pavel
In this, my third Faulkner I finally found a way to adopt his style for a easier reading: I just read the words out loud inside my head (like reading to yourself). This way Faulkner's poetic powers and all that stream of living of his prose works for me.

In this particular book crime story itself wasn't that interesting. Which is probably not very good for a crime novel, but it seemed to me that Faulkner himself only used it to tell other things.

Among which one thought was very important for me.
...more
Mike Moore
At some point you may have asked yourself what would happen if someone like William Faulkner were to write a Hardy Boys mystery novel or something similarly trivial. This book could well be viewed as an answer to that, and the results are pretty well mixed. As you might imagine, there are multiple levels in this book. I'll concern myself with two: the storyline and the implications of the associated events as understood through a historically self-aware and pedagogical moral force, with particul ...more
Jonathan
My relationship with William Faulkner will, I think, forever be a love-hate relationship.

I hate him because his writing style is laborious, confusing, and long winded.

I love him because he is insightful, witty, tough, challenging, deep, and quite often breathtaking in his prose.

Intruder in the Dust was powerful, but too often Faulkner would drone on without end with (as far as I could tell) no purpose. He could have said the same thing, with the same strength, without drowning the reader in long
...more
Julia Boechat Machado
Eu procurava um livro para ler essa semana quando li esse trecho na contracapa de Intruders in the Dust:

"Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash: your picture in the paper nor money in the bank either. Just refuse to bear them."

Eu me lembrei de como dizem que um bom livro muitas vezes consegue por em palavras o
...more
Jgsauls
I know it is heresy, but Intruder in the Dust seems like "Faulkner lite." Seems to me Faulkner hooked up with his characters much more intensely in Absalom, Absalom! Maybe it was easier for him to write of the 1830 to 1910 period than something more contemporary. It is almost as if he was trying to be hip and trendy in Intruder in the Dust. For example:

"The American really loves nothing but his automobile: not his wife his child nor his country nor even his bank-account first (in fact he doesn't
...more
Bev Hankins
Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner is one of the hardest books I've ever read. I hated every moment reading it, but I have to tell you it's one terrific story and I wound up loving it. There are quite a few difficult reads (Moby Dick for one) that I am perfectly willing to admit are great literature and tell a good story--but I hated them. I'm not going to tell anybody, "You've just got to read Moby Dick!" If you want to and wind up loving it, then fine. But don't expect me to do any adver ...more
Max
Okay, I understand this is a good book. I see that it is written well. I like the metaphorical language Faulkner uses. He paints image well. He captures the southern drawl and rural south impressively. He captures the structure of a spoken narrative in a really interesting way.

But my brain has never hurt more from anything ever.

This was a difficult read for me, one that I'll probably have to face again in order to fully appreciate the novel. This will likely continue being an incredibly daunting
...more
Kalilah
Faulkner's brilliant. In a competition between literary styles I choose Faulkner over Hemingway every time. This is a beautiful narrative that gives an interesting insight to a bygone era which may share more with our current time than anyone would like to acknowledge. It's a great book for any one interested in understanding the delicate but symbiotic nature of antagonistic cultures sharing the same space.

A great quote which has particular significance to my current situation:
"It was like some
...more
Stephen Gallup
I read of lot of Faulkner when younger. I particularly enjoyed his shorter works and thought The Hamlet was astonishingly good. I've now found my way to Intruder rather late in the day.

What I noticed first were the wonderfully crafted sentences, some of which go on and on to the point where a reader has to pull over to get his bearings and turn back to find where the sentence began. This first one to draw my admiration is probably the most delightful sentence I've seen all year:

It was cold that
...more
Chris
William Faulkner seems to be one of those writers that you can either get on with or you can't. Unfortunately in my case I fall into the category of 'can't'. This is the second Faulkner book I have begun and abandoned halfway through, the other being The Sound and the Fury.

Intruder in the Dust was an excellent idea for a book; a black man living in the Southern US is wrongfully accused of murdering a local white man. A white boy, who owes the accused his life, sets out to prove his innocence. So
...more
Darlene
I tried years ago to read Faulkner but could not wrap my head around his run on sentences. Now, I see his method and design. It's sheer brilliance. Intruder in the Dust is a story about the personal choices we make, alone and corporately. Faulkner writes this book in 1948, after the civil war and the second world war. This is a story that expresses his views on the South as he knew it. Mississippi hadn't really changed much, even after the government declared equality for the Negro population. R ...more
A. King
Kind of a mystery story, "Intruder in the Dust" is a novel published in 1948, during the middle-to-late period of Mississippi author William Faulkner's productive years. The story centers on Lucas Beauchamp, an elderly black man accused of murdering a white man. The story is written in limited third-person POV with the protagonist a white teenage boy named Chick, who owes Lucas a favor and helps to prove him innocent.

"Intruder in the Dust" is remarkable for its stream-of-consciousness narrative
...more
Sharon
Faulkner, even at his simplest, is a tasking read. "Intruder in the Dust" is no different. Although loosely framed as a detective story (a black man is accused of murdering a white one and a young man races to discover the truth before the accused is lynched), the novel ultimately is Faulkner's manifesto on contemporary race relations (circa late-40s) in Mississippi. As such, it is useful, but at other times, frankly exhausting.
Andy
Some of the most gorgeous descriptive prose I've read in ages. Beautiful pictorial passages about the hills and woods of Mississippi.

Incredibly thought-provoking discourses on race and on the political situation of the South; it gives the impression of that region as not so much a place that resists change, but as a place being crushed in every way by pasts of all kinds.

It's also often hilarious.
Martha
این کتاب....در کل قابل پیشنهاد ،مشکل اساسی در خوانش این اثر این بود که منقطع خواندمش... هر بار چند صفحه و در کل مطمئن نیستم درست متوجه شدم یا نه که بر سر کرادفور گاوری چی امد. ظاهرا خودکشی کرد جذابترین بخش کتاب فقط جذابترین چیزی که میشه در این اثر پیدا کرد شخصیت بی اندازه جذاب و کاریزماتیک لوکاس این سیاه پوست سر تق و ....خاص بود... نثر کتاب فوق العاده پیچیده بود ....
Michael David
I like this novel's complexity as much as I liked To Kill a Mockingbird's simplicity. Both are about innocent men wrongly convicted because of their color - this has a more positive statement against racial discrimination and more active characters who fight against it.
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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
More about William Faulkner...
The Sound and the Fury As I Lay Dying Light in August Absalom, Absalom! A Rose for Emily

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“Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash: your picture in the paper nor money in the back either. Just refuse to bear them.” 100 likes
“It's all now you see. Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago. For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago; or to anyone who ever sailed a skiff under a quilt sail, the moment in 1492 when somebody thought This is it: the absolute edge of no return, to turn back now and make home or sail irrevocably on and either find land or plunge over the world's roaring rim.” 26 likes
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