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Light in August
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William Faulkner Collection > Light in August - SPOILERS

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Melanti | 2383 comments This thread is for a full discussion of our September 2018 New School Group Read selection, Light in August by William Faulkner.

Discuss any spoilers in this thread.


siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Read this last week and loved it.


Bobbie | 101 comments I finished this yesterday, wanting to get it read before leaving on a trip about mid month, so will not say too much until others begin to comment. I will say it is not my favorite Faulkner but I did enjoy it, very thought provoking.


Kambole Mukanwa Read it early this year. I am a huge faulkner fan and this has to be my favourite and one of the best books I have ever read. One part I don't understand is why Joe's grandfather who hated him soo much went through the trouble of getting him into an orphanage and got a job there just so that he could watch over him for years.


siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments (view spoiler)


Laurene | 10 comments I have a feeling not everyone is going to agree with my comments but . . . I have read reviews about Light In August and everyone has commented that it is a wonderful novel. Don't get me wrong, finished As I Lay Dying and I thought it was wonderful. It swept me away. Even though it was depressing -- the novel moved along and the reader goes through the emotions with the family. I am having a hard time with Light In August just because Joe Christmas lived a horrible childhood/adolescence and I really do think he is headed for a miserable life. So I am questioning my understanding of the novel and conviction of finishing it. I must be missing something.


message 7: by Janet (last edited Sep 16, 2018 02:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments Laurene wrote: "I have a feeling not everyone is going to agree with my comments but . . . I have read reviews about Light In August and everyone has commented that it is a wonderful novel. Don't get me wrong, fin..." You are right that Joe Christmas is headed for a miserable life but I still think that, unless you really can't handle that, you should read this. The art that Faulkner displays in his writing, the emotions of his characters(including the way he showed that they just did not belong where they were), and the rebuke of the racist era that existed in the South at that time all make it worth reading.


Laurene | 10 comments Janet wrote: "Laurene wrote: "I have a feeling not everyone is going to agree with my comments but . . . I have read reviews about Light In August and everyone has commented that it is a wonderful novel. Don't g..."

Thank you for your comment -- I am 50 more pages in -- I absolutely agree that Faulkner's work are a piece of art. In As I Lay Dying, I felt like I was in the wagon listening to the characters -- they let me into their lives. I felt what they were feeling. I am okay with experiencing Joe's miserable life. I am continuing with Light In August.


siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments It was much more readable than I expected..and I liked it..Joe was a criminal of course and some may have moved above the circumstances and beyond the expectations of their time...but Joe was like most people stuck in the cycle...He was responsible for the crime.. (but in a way the society from kids to adults were responsible too for not giving him a chance)...
I don't know..I liked the book a lot.


Kaylee (kaylee66) | 50 comments Hi everyone, I know we're getting to the end of the month, and I've been trying to read this, but it is going very slow for me. First, there are a lot of sentences that I have to read two or three times before I can understand what he's trying to say, because of the way it's worded.

And my other problem is that Faulkner keeps "explaining" things in a way that makes no sense to me, so I have no idea what he's trying to say at all. For example, in chapter 8, one of the other boys tells Joe about girls. After that, Joe doens't go hunting with them, but goes out alone and shoots a sheep, and the next part of the paragraph is that he accepted what he'd been told. How does killing a sheep tie in with whether or not he accepts what he's been told? Why did he kill the sheep at all?

And earlier, he hit that girl, and it is explained as "I do not know yet that in the instant of sleep the eyelid closing prisons within the eye's self her face demure, pensive; tragic, sad, and young; waiting, colored with all the vague and formless magic of young desire. That already there is something for love to feed upon: that sleeping I know now why I struck that negro girl three years ago and that she must know it too and be proud too, with waiting and pride." - I had to copy this out one or two words at a time, because to me it reads like a collection of random words that conveys no sense. Can anyone tell me what that was supposed to mean? Why did he hit that girl, and why would she be proud of being hit?

I was enjoying the first part of the book, with Lena and Byron and the ex-preacher, but since that plotline got interrupted and we got shoved into Joe's head instead, I can't follow his thoughts at all.


Laurene | 10 comments My goal was to finish Light In August before October 1st. It was hard but I stuck with it. I wish Light In August was one of those novels where I completely immensed myself and I could not put it down. I found Light In August to be quite the opposite for me. I did love the descriptive language which I loved in As I Lay Dying. What bothered me the most was the main character of Christmas didn't evolve. He just stayed in a cycle without any growth or any kind of insight. Light In August was just not the novel for me. I really really wanted to like it. :( On to other Faulkner novels.


Laurene | 10 comments Kaylee wrote: "Hi everyone, I know we're getting to the end of the month, and I've been trying to read this, but it is going very slow for me. First, there are a lot of sentences that I have to read two or three ..."

Kaylee -- I completely agree!! I have read other authors which have a reputation of being a "hard" read but Light In August reminded me of a college professor I once had who enjoyed hearing himself talk. I understand Light In August is full of symbolism but I do not have any clue what the sheep represented and why Joe hit the girl. I also liked the beginning of the book also. Happy Reading!


message 13: by siriusedward (last edited Sep 29, 2018 07:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Yes,onto other Faulkner novels..but I think agter some months for me..the other books all sound difficult to read.This one I liked a lot.


Laurene | 10 comments siriusedward wrote: "Yes,onto other Faulkner novels..but I think agter some months for me..the other books all sound difficult to read.This one I liked a lot."

I agree it's going to be some months before I pick up the next Faulkner -- I just feel like I missed something huge! I have been reading other detailed comments especially the ones who gave Light In August 5 stars. Maybe Faulkner is just not the author for me.


Bobbie | 101 comments siriusedward wrote: "Yes,onto other Faulkner novels..but I think agter some months for me..the other books all sound difficult to read.This one I liked a lot."

There are others that are not difficult, especially The Unvanquished and The Reivers, which are quite humorous. Also, I read the Snopes Trilogy many years ago, my first Faulkner, and enjoyed those because they reminded me of expressions my mother used when I was a child living in MS. I also liked Absalom, Absalom. But, I agree some are quite difficult. I am trying to get through them all because of my MS connection.


siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Thabks for that Bobbie..I will read one of those next then..


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments I have not read The Unvanquished or The Reivers. However, my favorite Faulkner so far is Absalom, Absalom.


Joseph Fountain | 293 comments This was the fourth novel by Faulkner I've read [As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Absalom, Absalom!]. I'm not a big fan of Faulkner, but I liked this one best (quite possibly, because it's not written in stream of consciousness).

I liked Lena, I got the impression she wasn't quite so naïve as she seemed, but that that she kept up the story to avoid anyone’s pity. She was ready to accept help, but prepared to go it alone. She was brave, dauntless, resourceful and hopeful. It seems one hopeful person can make a difference for me.

My full review: http://100greatestnovelsofalltimeques...


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