Algernon's Reviews > The Reivers: A Reminiscence

The Reivers by William Faulkner
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Aug 17, 08

bookshelves: fiction
Read in August, 2008

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 rich geneaology of characters.

For his last novel, Faulker wrote a delightful coming-of-age "reminiscence" set in 1905 - funny, wise, and wistful in tone, with some excellent characters. In particular, note the complexity of the relationships between white and black characters throughout.

The prose is distinctly Faulknerian yet more linear and accessible than some of the bigger works from which Faulkner earns his more intimidating reputation. It may not be considered one of his masterpieces, yet it is funny and touching, excellent quality, and enjoyable to read.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Brandon (last edited Jan 28, 2013 05:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brandon I agree that it would be a good novel to introduce contemporary readers to Faulkner. When people begin with Sound & Fury, they usually get overwhelmed, but Lucius' POV in The Reivers is accessible.

Another attribute of The Reivers is that although it's not an urgent plea for civil rights, it's nowhere near the fringe of Birth of a Nation. By '62, Faulkner knew the changes were coming. Through Lucius' POV, we get a young white man's consciousness. It's as if Faulkner were trying to dramatize why he could or would not please critics who wanted more activism from him. By beginning with The Reivers and reading back, readers can see the limits of the status quo in U.S. race relations just before complex reality brushed them aside with passage of the Civil Rights Act of '64.

message 2: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Keim Did you know it was made into a movie, in the '70s, I think? I remember it as very funny. I don't think I realized that it was Faulkner or that he had won a Pulitzer for it.

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