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Intruder in the Dust

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  4,960 ratings  ·  388 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 September 27th 1948)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Intruder in the Dust, William Faulkner
Intruder in the Dust is a novel by the Nobel Prize–winning American author William Faulkner published in 1948. The novel focuses on Lucas Beauchamp, a black farmer accused of murdering a white man. He is exonerated through the efforts of black and white teenagers and a spinster from a long-established Southern family. It was written as Faulkner's response as a Southern writer to the racial problems facing the South. In his Selected Letters, Faulkner wrote: "
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, us, 20-ce
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, please don't start with Intruder. Read either The Sound and the Fury, As I L ...more
Doug H
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Me: Mr. Faulkner, I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am that you agreed to take the time to answer a couple of questions from me. Thank you very much.

Faulkner: No problem. I’m dead. I have all the time in the world.

Me: Oh, right. Still, I’m sure you have lots of other fans chomping at the bit to get a few personal words from you. So, I thank you again.

Faulkner: Let’s keep my bits out of it.

Me: Pardon me. Anyhow, some people say they can’t understand your writing, even when they’ve read it
Faulkner is one of my favorite authors and, although this is not one of my favorite of his books, it has so many powerful offerings, I have overlooked the occasional polemics (instead of conversation between characters) to give it a very good rating. It's heart is in the right place and most of the writing is too.

Lucas Beauchamp has been arrested for the murder of a white man; for shooting him in the back of all things! And there the story would lie except that a white boy, an older white woman
Natalie Richards
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-book
I`ve rated this 4 stars because I really enjoyed the story and some wonderful characters, once I`d got my head around it! There seemed to be pages and pages of nothing (sorry Mr Faulkner) but rambling. This is the first book of his that I`ve read and others have told me that this is not the best one to start with. I may leave it a little while before trying another. ...more
Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Diane Barnes
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This one brought back many of my favorite characters from Yoknapatawpha County. Lucas Beauchamp is one of a kind, a black man with an attitude; that attitude being that he is just as good (and maybe better than some) as any white man. This took a certain amount of courage in 1940's Mississippi. After being accused of murder, being found standing over the dead body of a white man with a smoking gun in his pocket, he is arrested, and the town prepares for a lynching. Enter Gavin Stevens, county la ...more
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well I'm done. I think the correct word is cadence, but I'll tell you what , I really have trouble getting into the rhythm of Faulkner's writing. Calling a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author a rambler is probably a bit rude but to say his sentences just go on and on really is putting it mildly as many of them may or might not even perchance take up an entire that is to say possibly the complete page. And punctuation, (what do double parentheses mean?? )
'Nemmine that'
Easier to read than Th

Description: 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 ray of hope the character of the young white boy who repays an old favour by proving the innocence of the man who
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
Intruder in the Dust is the first work that I have read by Nobel-prize winning author William Faulkner, but it certainly won't be the last. This book, published in 1948, centers around black man Lucas Beauchamp accused of murdering a white man and being held in protective custody to prevent his lynching. He ultimately is exonerated due to the efforts of two teenagers, one white and one black, and along with the aid of an elderly spinster. Throughout this novel, are echoes of the Civil War and th ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Kirk Smith
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Faulkner is an acquired taste it has taken me years to become accustomed to. This is a nice plot-driven mystery narrated by young Charles Mallison. Published twelve years prior to TKAM it begs for comparison. I'm absolutely impressed that Faulkner took on this subject matter at such an early date. His social commentary,although sometimes a bit wordy, was nonetheless quite valid. This is among my favorite Faulkners now, and I'm still a little surprised I had never been exposed to such an importa ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure whether to give it 3 or 4 stars! Faulkner's books give you joy and headache at the same time!
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: william-faulkner
It was like something you have dreaded and feared and dodged for years until it seemed like all your life, then despite everything it happened to you and all it was was just pain, all it did was hurt and so it was all over, all finished, all right.
[...] it was only now that he understood what he himself had said. It was only after hearing someone else say it that he comprehended not the enormity of his intention but the simple inert unwieldy impossible physical vastness of what he faced;
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
Jason Koivu
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime, fiction
While this is a damn good book, it's still not one of Faulkner's best. Perhaps that's because it's more accessible than his other novels. Their dense, mystical and mysterious nature is part of their appeal. Essentially Intruder in the Dust is just a murder mystery, almost Hardy Boys-esque at times. However, Faulkner's incredible use of language, acrobatic sentences, and moral theorizing elevate this book well beyond the basic dime store novel.
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
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-lit, fiction
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
Jacob Appel
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You know you're in unexplored territory when William Faulkner writes a murder mystery, although "Intruder in the Dust" is more of a 1940s police procedural set in the Deep South and narrated by a sixteen year old boy (albeit in the third person) than a traditional whodunnit. That boy happens to be Chick Mallison, who also appears elsewhere in the Faulkner canon (eg. The Town, The Mansion). And the chief suspect is Lucas Beauchamp, another Faulkner regular. (No Snopeses or Sartorises to speak of ...more
Lene Fogelberg
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was blown away by this novel; to me it captured everything a story ought to be, the language, the storyline, the tension. Intruder in the Dust is a murder mystery to be solved, written in the voice of a young boy. The stream of consciousness can be overpowering, but to me that makes it even more riveting. I remember the exhaustion of reading one sentence stretching over several pages. I felt it demanded an effort from the reader, but it was so worth it, in what you gained in getting close to t ...more
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who love the world of Faulkner
Recommended to Lawyer by: With Thanks to Maxine Lustig
Intruder in the Dust: Not for Kudos or Cash

Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner was selected by On the Southern Literary Trail as a group read for February, 2016. Special thanks to Diane Barnes for nominating this work. Come join us.

“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 mone
Christina Zanakos
Feb 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 and 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 se ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Daniel Gonçalves
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it

Faulkner's revolt against unlawful persecution of black people, while discussing racial profiling - a problem ingrained to this day....

Every year some complain about Nobel Prize Winners. Mainly in literature. People have a right to argue, and to be unhappy, yet the prize almost always goes to the timeless– people whose work transcends society.

William Faulker's writing style might shy away unmotivated readers, but his work is undoubtedly timeless.

Intruder in The Dust is perenial, much like his cr
Lorraine Montgomery
Wm. Faulkner has a writing style all his own. The hero of Intruder in the Dust (1948) is a 16-year-old white boy who, along with his boy, Aleck Sander (same age as our hero, his friend, and black), and a spry elderly lady, Miss Habersham, set out to disprove the accusation of murder against one, Lucas Beauchamp.

The boy’s name is Chick (his mother calls him Charlie) Mallison, but he’s always referred to in the 3rd person throughout the book.  Part way through, his mother calls him by name whe
Mike Moore
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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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

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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 bank either. Just refuse to bear them.” 188 likes
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