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Light in August a novel that contrasts stark tragedy with hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality which features some of Faulkne I’m not going to attempt to write an erudite review of this book because then I would simply be revealing the glaring holes in my Faulkner education A scholarly write up of this brilliant man’s work is best left to students of college literature classes or perhaps a well taught AP English course or another reviewer adept than I Confession I was hesitant to read this but I was determined to make another attempt after a failed one several years ago when I picked up a copy of Absalom Absalom I vaguely recall reading Faulkner in high school and the fact that I can’t uite remember the details tells me it was probably neither a poor nor an exceedingly enjoyable experience I am happy to say that this time around I was sold Light in August is not only accessible in my opinion but is also a remarkable work of fiction This is what I would call Southern Gothic fiction at its finest Jefferson Mississippi in the 1920s was rife with racism misogyny and religious fanaticism The depiction of every single character is striking Their lives are tragic lonely and often violent I couldn’t help but feel that each and every one of us must be damned in one way or another after reading this A man of mixed race Joe Christmas is the epitome of a person consumed by an identity crisis He strives to find where he belongs and in the process becomes completely alienated He cannot find his place as either a black or a white man Society feeds and inflames his feelings of alienation Nothing can look uite as lonely as a big man going along an empty street Yet though he was not large not tall he contrived somehow to look lonely than a lone telephone pole in the middle of a desert In the wide empty shadowbrooded street he looked like a phantom a spirit strayed out of its own world and lostThe other characters that populate this novel are eually compelling and I won’t soon forget Lena Grove Byron Bunch Lucas Burch Reverend Hightower Joanna Burden and many Since what truly sells me with any book is the writing itself I’m not a plot only kind of gal it would be remiss if I failed to mention the pure artistry of Faulkner’s prose – often poetic deeply emotive and highly evocative of this time and place He can remember how when he was young after he first came to Jefferson from the seminary how that fading copper light would seem almost audible like a dying yellow fall of trumpets dying into an interval of silence and waiting out of which they would presently come Already even before the falling horns had ceased it would seem to him that he could hear the beginning thunder not yet louder than a whisper a rumor in the airI feel at a loss to say about this book except that we must continue to reflect on our humanity and our obligations towards others We must as a society strive to work harder on inclusiveness and acceptance of others Faulkner’s message rings all too clear right nowIt was with tremendous sadness that on the same evening that I finished reading this masterpiece on May 22 2019 I learned that a young classmate of my daughter’s a fifteen year old young man had taken his own life A teenager who seemed always cheerful and one whose goal was to make others laugh at his charming antics He wanted to embrace others What amount of misery and feelings of isolation must have resided in his hurting soul for him to take such a drastic and irrevocable step; I can’t begin to imagine the pain he felt and now that of his grieving family

text Light in August

Light in AugustR’s most memorable characters guileless dauntless Lena Grove in search of the father of her unborn child; Reverend Gail Hightower a 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 disuiet and alienation and uncertain footsteps towards expiation daubed on to the empty canvas of Yoknapatawpha Words That sing to the tune of all human frailty with nary a care for readerly reception Words that neither bristle with indignation nor rage against injustice but flay open the heartbreak of it all The colossal human tragedy shorn of its sheen of grandiosity Now it was still uiet the fecund earth now coolly suspirant The dark was filled with voices myriad out of all time that he had known as though all the past was a flat pattern And going on tomorrow night all the tomorrows to be a part of the flat pattern going on He thought of that with uiet astonishment going on myriad familiar since all that had ever been was the same as all that was to be since tomorrow to be and had been would be the same Then it was time Words That do not merely align themselves in imperfect harmony to proudly proclaim artistic triumph but are wholly in communion with a sense of time and place Words brimming over with an abiding tenderness even when they speak of such disconcerting cruelty Race and gender and religious dogma segue into each other but it is not just the deep south that is reconstructed from this thematic patchwork but a panoramic view of all human vulnerability These are words that serenade endurance in the face of inescapable defeat Words birthing an opera of anguished voices asking for reprieve for redemption But there was too much running with him stride for stride with him Not pursuers but himself years acts deeds omitted and committed keeping pace with him stride for stride breath for breath thud for thud of the heart using a single heart Words That forgive the sins of the doomed the exiled and the dispossessed of the earth and the ones who are shrunken under the weight of history They are filled with hope in the August of their lives all of a sudden these broken beings Hope of surviving decay and flowing into a future which has already severed all ties with them now and at last they had all played out the parts which had been allotted them and now they could live uietly with one another Light arcs into this dreary abyss occasionally Light that flickers and wavers and fuels anticipation The light of new life that begets optimism in turn Who knows if it will purge the darkness of it all? But it mayWilliam Faulkner's soulful mystical words whisper into the ears of eternity this dubious message of renewal amidst degeneration

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Light in August mobi Ð Paperback read Ö moneyexpresscard ó Light in August a novel that contrasts stark tragedy with hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality which features some of Faulkner’s most memorable characters guileless dauntless Lena Grove in search of the father of her unborn child; Reverend GailLonely outcast haunted by visions of Confederate glory; and Joe Christmas a desperate enigmatic drifter consumed by his mixed ancestry 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 away a person’s choice can rob them of finding the book that will spark excitement and turn them into readers for life I believe far too many people are forced to read classics when uite frankly some of them will never be appealing For me I usually have strong reactions good or bad to the classics but I found my spark long ago For most people though they know that reading is an intelligent practice but they’re bored by what they’ve been forced to read so books are used for the perception they create rather than the pleasure of their contents While some of it is taste and a blatant unwillingness to participate in any medium straying from the instant gratification culture there are certainly a good number of masturbatory authors who are concerned with coming off as intelligent rather than relatable I believe William Faulkner is one of those writers who lets his writing get in the way of a good story Published in 1932 Light in August is written in the Southern Gothic tradition—set in Faulkner’s fictional Mississippi county Yoknapatawpha county—where the grotesue is often perpetrated by horrorromance archetypes without moral judgment from the author The plot consists of three connected strands 1 A pregnant woman Lena Grove in search of the father of her baby; 2 An enigmatic alcohol smuggler Joe Christmas struggling with his mixed ancestry; and 3 A disgraced Priest Reverend Gail Hightower who lives in near isolation after annoying the town with his sermons about his dead grandfather Much of the novel deals with the racism of the South pulling in violence and observing Judeo Christian values if they were smashed into a funhouse mirror It takes a little while to find Faulkner’s rhythm but it’s not a tough search and it’s enjoyable until you realize he won’t just tell the story The reader gets dragged through lengthy flashbacks even though the compelling plot line just found its adrenaline Then you’ll get to the part you’ve been waiting for and Faulkner will skip ahead spoiling his own story then slowly backing through the incident without any of the tension There are obscure punctuation choices too and while it’s not a major point of contention it illustrates my frustration with his style He uses six ellipses when the standard three will do The second uarter of this book about 150 pages could have easily been trimmed back to a lean 30 and even though I liked the last chapter at least 40 of the pages before that could have been cut out too but that’s not Faulkner’s style He believes in stream of consciousness where thoughts expand and ideas ramble so that you understand the deepest recesses of a character While this has certain strengths—as each character gets presented in differing ways depending on who’s viewing them—I still find the style obese and much of the information superfluous I lean minimalistic by default though even I like a little meat on the bone so I’m not a fan of reading what I think a visceral editor should have cut Nothing seems to be minor in Faulkner’s eyes As a result none of the characters feel all that major either They’re uniue distinguished but with everything else there’s just too much to appreciate it It’s