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The Reivers

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  6,536 ratings  ·  422 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, 305 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Vintage International (first published 1962)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Henry Avila
An old man is reciting the unusual yet true story to his own grandson, named after him of long ago when he was eleven, Lucius Priest a comfortable but uninspired life he led, 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's 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, wil ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...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
The Reivers: William Faulkner's Final Gift

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

023
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
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
"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
...more
Clif Hostetler
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This is a tale of the Old South that is intended to be quaint and funny. However, it also contains enough reality of life from the early twentieth century to include segregation of the races, illegal gambling, prostitution, and car theft. Therefore, it's like a lot of funny stories—its funny as a story about adventures from the past, but in real life it has a dark side.

The story is told in the voice of an old man in the early 1960s telling his grandson about adventures he experienced as an eleve
...more
Sue
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
...more
Chrissie
I am annoyed - a bad end to a bad book. I wrote a review and somehow lost it before saving it! Here follows a second try.

Wordy, confusing and boring. Those are the three adjectives I would use to describe this book. Simplistic too.

My biggest complaint is the wordiness. Was Faulkner taking part in a contest to see who could come up with the most synonyms for each word? Someone should count how many times "or" is found in this book. Faulkner begins with an oblique statement, and then it is repea
...more
Mike Moore
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jason Koivu
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The automobile has come to the deep South and it causes the menfolk to lose their heads momentarily. They take a trip into the big city of Memphis, visit a whorehouse and get themselves neck deep in trouble. Somewhat ironically, because of a car, a horserace breaks out. In the midst of it all is our narrator, an 11-yer-old boy.

There were times when Faulkner's usually enjoyable molasses-slow writing style combined in an unpleasant way with repetition, creating a bit of a bore of a book. I might
...more
Algernon
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Bruce Beckham
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first few attempts at reading The Reivers felt a bit like sleepwalking the wrong way on an escalator; I kept finding myself back at the start with my Kindle lying on my face.

Almost from the word go the narrative marches off into the Land of Digression, and soon reaches Deviation, the capital city – a place where sentences may ramble across a whole page and individual phrases can contain detours.

A breakthrough arrived, however, when I risked throwing good money after bad and bought the audiobo
...more
Judy
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
(Note: I have been making my way through the 1962 list of My Big Fat Reading Project for too long. At the beginning of the year, I committed myself to reading at least one a week from the list. So I hope my readers here are not bored by so many old books. Some of them are still worth reading if you never have read them before.)

The Reivers was the #10 bestseller in 1962 and Faulkner's final novel. In fact, he died that year.

I wasn't too excited about reading it. I have read most of his novels
...more
Dan
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you want to read a book with grand theft auto, a horse race, prostitutes, sardines, a gold tooth, and a fight with a lawman, but then you think, "What will my hoity-toity friends think if I read a book like that?"

You can read this book. It's got all that stuff, and it's a Faulkner book, so your hoity-toity friends can't say anything.
Howard
4 Stars for The Reivers (audiobook) by William Faulkner read by John H Mayer. This was a interesting story set at the earliest days of the automobile.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This has the subtitle "A Reminiscence" and, as Faulkner's last novel, when I saw that I thought perhaps it was somewhat autobiographical. Then, the opening line:
Grandfather Said: This is the kind of a man Boon Hogganbeck was. Hung on the wall, it could have been his epitaph, like a Bertillon chart or a police poster; any cop in north Mississippi would have arrested him out of any crowd after merely reading the date.
So, instead it is the reminiscence of a man who is now a grandfather, (probably
...more
Erik
Oct 11, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
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
Cathryn Conroy
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
K.M. Weiland
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Renee Porter
Dec 17, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
James
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
terrycojones
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jim Peterson
If you don’t want to bother with my ramblings, just skip to the last paragraph for my opinion of the book :-)

I live in Europe, and several times in the past when someone discovered I was (and still am) an American, they might go on to talk about some American author and what did I think about him or her. I would either admit I hadn’t read the author in question or pretend as if I had – both of which options would be rather awkward. And so, I’ve decided to remedy that situation and have been spen
...more
Matt
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
...more
Justin
Mar 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Vit Babenco
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some journeys undertaken in one’s youth make an indelible imprint on the entire life… And The Reivers is a story of one such decisive journey.
“Then Grandfather bought that automobile and Boon found his soul’s mate… My grandfather didn’t want an automobile at all; he was forced to buy one. A banker, president of the older Bank of Jefferson, the first bank in Yoknapatawpha County, he believed then and right on to his death many years afterward, by which time everybody else even in Yoknapatawpha Co
...more
John Guffey
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-winners
Faulkner went back to his roots with the last book of his life. The classic dysfunctional group/family goes on a ill advised journey to somewhere they never should've gone. I love "As I Lay Dying" and this book brought me back to that so much. A young boy comes of age in a humorous and unlikely setting while being shaped by some memorable characters.
Marc
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Not my favorite Faulkner, but certainly funnier and more light-hearted than most (a solid 3.5). It started off rather strong and comically with quite the memorable cast of characters, but the pace seemed kind of uneven about halfway through and the ending wrapped things up a little too neatly for my personal tastes.

You still get such wonderful passages as this as they are preparing to drag an automobile through a muddy patch of road, which seems intentionally kept impassable just so the man with
...more
Tim
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book by William Faulkner won the Pulitzer Prize in 1963. The story is similar to a Huck Finn adventure when automobiles were first manufactured. The writing was a bit slow in progressing the story and the adventure was a bit improbable. However, I really liked the ending. I give this book 4 stars.
Illiterate
A comedy of lost innocence.
Sylvester
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
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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 set in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as early
...more

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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.” 12 likes
“I lied," I said. ...
"I know it," he said.
"Then do something about it. Do anything, just so it's something."
"I cant," he said.
"There aint anything to do? Not anything?"
"I didn't say that," Grandfather said. "I said I couldn't. You can."
"What?" I said. "How can I forget it? Tell me how to."
"You cant," he said. "Nothing is ever forgotten. Nothing is ever lost. It's too valuable."
"Then what can I do?"
"Live with it," Grandfather said.
"Live with it? You mean, forever? For the rest of my life? Not ever to get rid of it? Never? I cant. Dont you see that I cant?"
"Yes you can," he said. "You will. A gentleman always does. A gentleman can live through anything. He faces anything. A gentleman accepts the responsibility of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences, even when he did not himself instigate them but only acquiesced to them, didn't say No though he knew he should.”
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