Carolyn Stevens Shank's Reviews > Sanctuary

Sanctuary by William Faulkner
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Aug 25, 2012

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Read in January, 2011

SANCTUARY by William Faulkner was first accorded mixed reviews when it was published in 1931, and most critics still agree it is not one of Faulkner's finest novels. It was later made into the sensationalized movie of the same name starring the late Lee Remick as the antagonist Temple Drake. She is raped, and subsequently taken to a brothel by the evil Popeye Doyle, a half-breed freak, who, to put it delicately, is one of the lowest on the genetic totem pole of humanity: more animal than human. There, Drake is kept in a state of semi-consciousness with drugs and alcohol. This was strictly taboo subject matter when the book was written early in the 20th Century. Not only does it deal with drugs, and illicit sex, but it also deals with misogenation. In SANCTUARY, Faulker deals with a recurring theme, the degradation and decline of the Southern aristocracy. As a great admirer of Faulkner, it is difficult for me to concede that any of his books might be lacking. But, despite his very interesting characterization and his exploration into the psychology of the strange love-hate bond that grows up between the Doyle and Drake, this book is a failure: it is turgid. I read it in the 60's and I reread it recently. Sad to say, it did not improve with time.
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