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Light in August

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  48,790 ratings  ·  2,270 reviews
Light in August, a novel that contrasts stark tragedy with hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality, features some of Faulkner’s most memorable characters: guileless, dauntless Lena Grove, in search of the father of her unborn child; Reverend Gail Hightower, a lonely outcast haunted by visions of Confederate glory; and Joe Christmas, a desperate, enigmatic drifter con ...more
Paperback, 444 pages
Published by Modern Library (first published March 12th 1932)
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John Faulkner explores the question of race in a very interesting way. We never know, and Joe Christmas never knows if he is "negro" (in the parlance of…moreFaulkner explores the question of race in a very interesting way. We never know, and Joe Christmas never knows if he is "negro" (in the parlance of the book). The supposition that he is / is not black creates very different outcomes for him. The actions and thoughts of those around him continually morph around this question. Although Joe Christmas is constant, his experience is mediated about this one binary.

I'm still piecing together the various actions and characters of the novel and their relationships and meanings to the overall whole. Its a complex, complicated and mesmerizing tale that creates an entire society before our eyes as we read it. Faulkner's descriptions and observations are unusually uncanny, even for him and it uses fairly straightforward language and sentence (unlike his other novels of the period). While he does deploy many Joycean portmanteau words, they are all clear and apt.
This book might be a good one to start with for a first-time Faulkner reader. Its intense, complex but not as difficult (no streams of consciousness, fewer time-jumps) as some of his other works.(less)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  48,790 ratings  ·  2,270 reviews


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William2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20-ce, fiction, us
It occurs to me on reading Light in August for the third time in twenty years, that if America were ever to try to come to terms with its legacy of slavery--unlikely now at this late date--but if it ever were to empanel some kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, like the one South Africa had after apartheid, and which seems especially needed now that we are mourning the shooting deaths by cops of so many unarmed black men, then William Faulkner's novels, certainly this one, should be part ...more
Lawyer
Dec 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Miss Maxine Lustig, Lustig's Bookstore, Tuscaloosa, Al
Light in August, William Faulkner's Portraits of Loneliness and Isolation

A Note Regarding This Review

Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of William Faulkner, July 6, 1962. In remembrance of him and in gratitude his works making me a man better capable of understanding others, I repost this review of my Favorite novel by William Faulkner, Light in August. My Mother died following a lengthy and grueling illness. I had been her caregiver as I had promised her I would. I promised that she would
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Lizzy
"Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders".
Are there many such novels that delve deep into our souls and that makes us suffer and weep? I believe there are many, but not many that imprison us in its tidings and with their beauty in such a way that escape is an impossibility. Yes, we cannot run away any less than its wretched characters could. Indeed, William Faulkner in Light in August wrote a tragedy set in the fictional Jeffe
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Samadrita
Words. That stew in silent torment, weep and curse, howl in pain and outrage. Words that spill from his pen and bleed on to these white sheets to taint our neat black-and-white categorizations. Universes stretch across the extremities of his fictional Jefferson, that swallow lives whole and spit back all the folly men and women are capable of. And images emerge in an unearthly chiaroscuro of mortal agony and transient joy. Colours of spiritual disquiet and alienation and uncertain footsteps towa ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
William Faulker, Light in August:"Sitting beside the road, watching the wagon mount the hill toward her, Lena thinks, 'I have come from Alabama, a fur piece.'"

Here Faulker presents Lena who has a passive role in Light in August as this phrase (sitting, watching, thinking) points out - she is not actually doing an action here other than a purely mental one. There is a lonely, languid feeling imparted by "watching the wagon mount the hill" that is shared with the wonderful title of the book. The s
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Colin McKay Miller
A couple of thoughts I’ll tie together: 1) I read a BBC article that suggests a large percentage of people keep books on their shelf to impress others rather than to read them. 2) As young students, teachers take us to the library and allow us to pick out whatever book we like (as long as we’re not just trying to avoid reading by picking out a pamphlet), but by the time we reach high school and college, it’s assigned. Though I believe an educator’s recommendation to be valuable, I believe taking ...more
Brian
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You’re an American author, dead almost half a century, and there’s this thing called television and a host(ess?) talking about books with half the population of a country you once inhabited, you’re on the list and why? Race.

I really hate the term Great American Novel, how we capitalize it in the middle of sentences (GAN, anyone?) and talk about examples of it with reverence. It’s a questing beast for authors that strive for it and an oddity for those who write something that receives the tag .
...more
Steven Godin
A dark and compelling slice of Southern Gothic with a prose which is easily recognisable as 'Faulkneresque' that showcases his ability to write about the awful deep south at a time of serious racial prejudice, misogyny and the preaching of religion through the eyes of both men of the cloth and those who are deluded and fanatical. Featuring some of Faulkner's most memorable characters including the dauntless Lena Grove searching for the father of her unborn child, Reverend Hightower who is dealin ...more
Kim
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This novel is my first experience of William Faulkner’s writing. I was drawn to it partly because one of my favourite novelists, John Steinbeck, was a great admirer of Faulkner’s work and partly because I felt it was time to fill the gap in my literary education caused by my unfamiliarity with one of the great novelists of the 20th century.

My research into which of Faulkner’s novels to start with indicated that Light in August is one of his more accessible works. This proved to be so, or at lea
...more
Mariel
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: it's written all over my face
Recommended to Mariel by: I started reading it without meaning to
Don't pray over no body. I knew that I would figure it out. It was something I already knew. That's how you don't feel bad about wanting to know anyone. Don't expect anything. It doesn't get rid of the falling feeling when you think about them, though. Light in August is an ultimate societal kangaroo's pouch of claustrophobic guilt for me. Where does anyone belong?

William Faulkner writes to me in my favorite way of being talked to in stories (anything). If I could have this in every book I read
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Jason Koivu
Nov 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've read a few Faulkners now and this one left the least impression upon me, and yet it was still miles ahead of other novels!

William Faulkner flogs words, he teases them, he primps and preens them pretty like. You'd be hard-pressed to find a wordsmith with more range.

However, compared with his other works, specifically The Sound and The Fury and Absalom, Absalom, this one read like a plain old pedestrian story. It wasn't bad, it just didn't burn with the same fire as others. Still, he had the
...more
ArturoBelano
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bilgisayarım duzeldiginde editlemek üzere, ilk okumadan akilda kalan notlarin dökümü aşağıdadır.

Ne beyaz adam gibi ne de zenci gibiydi, sürekli ters ayak, siyahları savunan kadının ailesine karşı zenciler tecavüz ve cinayetle suçlanır ve Christmas tam bunu yapar gözükür, biri o görüşü tahkim ederken diğeri hayatını değiştirmeye vakfettiği yanlış algının parçası olur. Kendini gizleme şansı varken Christmas yarım olduğu şeyi, zenciliğini sıkça dillendirir. Hep bu ikilik canlı tutulur, romanın adı
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Mevsim Yenice
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Faulkner'a bir kere daha hayran olmamı sağladı Ağustos Işığı.

Son sayfayı okurken içim dolup taştı, ne mutlu bizi böyle karmaşık hislere sevk edebilen kitaplara ve edebiyata.

"Çünkü biliyor musun ne düşünüyorum? Bence sadece geziyordu. O aradığı kimseyi bulacağını falan düşünmüyordu. Bulmaya da niyeti olmamıştı zaten ya, bunu adama söylememişti yalnız. Herhalde evinden bir günbatımı uzaklaştığı ilk sefer buydu. Eh buraya kadar da pekâlâ gelmişti, yolda herkes yardım etmişti. Onun için sanırım bira
...more
capobanda
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Il passato smette di essere semplice mito fondativo dell’identità e diventa la forza nera che incessantemente, ineluttabilmente strattona i protagonisti, come se il vivere fosse solo il numero di passi che la catena dell’origine consente agli umani prima di riportarli anima e corpo nel caos primigenio dove nessun Dio è ancora arrivato a distinguere la luce dal buio, il bene dal male, se stesso dal demonio.
Ma ancora una volta la salvezza verrà dal cammino quieto e instancabile di una ragazza vest
...more
Gorkem
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hiç şüphesiz okuduğum en sembolik kitaptı Ağustos Işığı. Edebi anlamda oluşturulan doku ciddi anlamda şiirsel bir yapı ile sarılmıştı. Faulkner'in okumuş okuduğum ve kendisiyle ilk tanışma kitabı olarak kendisine,zekasına, diline, orijinalliğine kurduğu sistemler arasında farklılıklara, karakterlerdeki üst düzey metafiziksel kurguya ve kendi dilinin olanaklarını en üst düzeye taşıyıp okuru özellikle son bölümde bildiği tüm duaları okutturan okuduğum en iyi kitaplarından biriydi.

Öncelikle, Faulk
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Luís C.
We are in Mississippi, in Jefferson, imaginary Yoknapatawpha County town where Faulkner located many of his novels. It is between the two world wars with a racist south, still recovering from the civil war.
Lena, pregnant girl, comes from Alabama to join the father of the child. A house is on fire. A murder has been committed. We will then follow the fate of Joe Christmas, and parallel those of the Reverend Hightower and Joanna Burden.

It is a very dense book. The atmosphere is heavy. Nothing is t
...more
Aubrey
The sins of the father, the sins of the mother, the sins of the deep and the golden dark.

I've heard mentions of Light in August being one of Faulkner's most accessible works. Fitting, then, that it be the second of my readings, the first having been The Sound and the Fury. For I thought I found something in the first worth searching for in the rest, but as you and many an English Literature student know, TSatF isn't the place for certainty. Here, I found that Faulkner knew what he was doing.

I ca
...more
Mehmet
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Modern klasiklere ilgi duyanlar, Faulkner okurları, genel okur
Murat Belge'nin çevirisini şahane bulduğumu belirterek başlayayım. Uzun zamandır böyle tat alarak bir roman okumamıştım. Aldığım bu tat konunun akıcılığından veya ilgi çekiciliğinden kaynaklanmıyor. Elbette ilgi çekici bir konu ama beni üslup kendine bağladı. Faulkner'la tanıştığım Ses ve Öfke'de olduğu gibi burada da uyguladığı teknik insanı okurken alıp götürüyor adeta. Bir yolu, bir ağacı, bir bulutu veya bir yol bir ağaç ve bir bulut olarak insanı okuyor insan.
Dolayısıyla zamanda ve mekanda
...more
Paul Nelson
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
'He just stared at her, at the face which he had never seen before, saying quietly (whether aloud our not, he could not have said) in a slow amazement: Why, I committed murder for her. I even stole for her as if he had just heard of it, thought of it, been told that he had done it.'

Light in August by William Faulkner is quite simply a superlative piece of fiction, it surpasses pretty much anything else I've read in 30 years. If you want to read an author who literally dances with words in a styl
...more
Çağdaş T
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Ses ve Öfke ile tanımıştım Faulkner'ı. Ağustos Işığı ile birlikte en sevdiğim yazarlar arasına dahil oldu. Üzerinde düşünülmesi, okumak için emek verilmesi, aceleye getirilmemesi gerekli bir yazar.

Güney Gotiği'nin belki de en önemli temsilcisi, 'bilinçlilik akışı', flashbackler ve iç monologlarla anlatımın çatısını oluşturuyor. Merak duygusunu sürekli yüksekte tutarken zamanın Güneylisinin yaşamına tanık oluyor kendinizi olay örgüsünün (çıkmazların / halkaların) içinde buluyorsunuz.

Çevirisini ke
...more
Amaranta
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americani
Non ero preparata a quello che ho letto. Il mio primo Faulkner è stato “ mentre morivo” e l’ho amato in ogni singola parola. Adesso in un respiro più ampio Faulkner sembra diverso. Non ritrovo l’ironia che lì era presente in ogni pagina, ma uno scritto duro, come la vita. Faulkner non ci risparmia nulla e ricrea un perfetto spaccato dell’America sudista. Personaggi perfettamente caratterizzati: Lena, la ragazzina incinta che viaggia a piedi per ritrovare il suo uomo; Christman, carnefice e vitti ...more
Sandra
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, usa
Questa estate sono stata in vacanza ad Otranto ed ho visitato la stupenda cattedrale della città. Il pavimento della chiesa è composto di un bellissimo mosaico che parte dall’entrata e finisce all’altare. Il mosaico rappresenta le principali scene bibliche dell’Antico Testamento, raffigurando i principali personaggi biblici, da Adamo ed Eva, Caino ed Abele, l’Arca di Noè.
Cosa c’entra tutto questo con “Luce d’agosto”? Mi è venuto in mente il mosaico di Otranto perché questo poderoso romanzo può d
...more
Eryn
2.75 / 5

First piece of writing I actually somewhat enjoyed by Faulkner! This day ought to be marked down.

Light in August was assigned by my senior seminar professor, and while I wasn’t entirely fond of the whole story there were certainly chapters I enjoyed; specifically the first few chapters. The books started to slow down around the midway point when we were back to the house being burned down. Basically, after we found out about Christmas and his backstory, the story fell to a dull point.

T
...more
Jessica
So I'm back in school now, and for the first time in ages am being made to read books. Now I don't have any personal experience with desperately trying to get pregnant, but reading novels for school reminds me of that: there's this activity that I'm used to doing purely for fun when I feel like it, that I'm now grimly pushing through on an inflexibly dictated schedule, whether I'm in the mood or not, with this intense sense of purpose that seems to poison the whole event. The result is that I'm ...more
Teresa
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-eua, 5e, favorites, l-500bb
"Inviolada noiva de quietude e paz,
Filha do tempo lento e da muda harmonia,
Silvestre historiadora que em silêncio dás
Uma lição floral mais doce que a poesia:
Que lenda flor-franjada envolve tua imagem
De homens ou divindades, para sempre errantes.
(...)
Quando a idade apagar toda a actual grandeza,
Tu ficarás, em meio às dores dos demais,
Amiga, a redizer o dístico imortal:
"A beleza é a verdade, a verdade a beleza"
— É tudo o que há para saber, e nada mais."

John Keats, "Ode a Uma Urna Grega"

Pensava q
...more
Juushika
Sep 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: status-borrowed
Lena Grove travels, on foot and with the aid of strangers, through the South in search of the father of her unborn child. Her journey introduces the reader to a variety of characters, including the child's father, a man who falls in love with Lena, and a biracial man named Christmas. Like Lena, all of these characters have stories to tell, and Faulkner interweaves a number of back stories and histories in the body of this book. One of his more accessable texts, Light in August is easy to get in ...more
Ubik 2.0
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
«Nella mia terra la luce ha una sua qualità particolarissima; fulgida, nitida, come se venisse non dall’oggi ma dall’età classica». William Faulkner

Archetipo del (grande) romanzo americano ad impronta “sudista”, Luce d’agosto avvolge nella sua prosa vertiginosa e febbrile una decina di personaggi, solo per limitarsi ai maggiori, ossessionati e tormentati da passioni insanabili e da un passato, prossimo o remoto, personale o familiare, col quale non riescono in alcun modo a pacificarsi.

Forse l’u
...more
Jessaka
While Faulkner is a beautiful writer he is very depressing. I lost interest after 100 plus pages, so I really can't even say that I read the book. What did me in was his flashbacks. It was okay for one chapter, but chapter after chapter revealed flashbacks, and this during the time when I found the book so interesting. My thought was to skip them and get on with the book, but so many chapters were on it. I will keep the book and keep trying.

P.S. I gave in and finished the book. It never got bey
...more
Aprile
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sono costretta a fare una premessa, anche se è un po' pedante, ma con Faulkner non posso evitarla: questa non vuole essere una recensione, ma solo riportare impressioni di lettura, quelle "gut emotions" che non possono rimanere inespresse, che urgono e richiedono la parola, non ricerco quindi un'analisi dettagliata che, soprattutto in questo caso e in questa sede, rimarrebbe comunque superficiale. Ogni capitolo richiederebbe un seminario. Il tono di Faulkner è epico, biblico, si odono quasi i ri ...more
Chazzbot
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like some bemused god looking down on his creations with a trace of empathy, but also with a hint of disdain at their hopeless bigotry, indolence, and willful ignorance, Faulkner's keen, cool eye for the way humans can be chilly in its precision. But there is no denying that Faulkner knows his characters and, by extension, his readers. This is a somewhat grim novel, with little evidence of hope for any of the characters who manage to walk away, but you will be hard pressed to find a more honest ...more
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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
“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.” 515 likes
“Memory believes before knowing remembers.

[Light in August]”
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