Light in August – William Faulkner, 1932

Yikes, my perfectionist streak is causing me trouble again… this was the August book for the Forbes Great Books discussion group, and a) the September meeting is tomorrow so it’s been a full month since I finished it; b) I ran out of renewals and so am paying 10 cents a day for the privilege of holding on to this copy while I procrastinate about writing this post. No more!

Aside from “A Rose for Emily,” I never could read Faulkner until we started reading him in Great Books. So far we’ve done The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom, and As I Lay Dying, and I loved them all, even though Southern Gothic is not my favorite. But this one has the Gothic turned up to 11 and it felt like too much. We had an interesting discussion and I appreciated it somewhat more through the eyes of the others, who mostly really enjoyed it. Lena’s character is interesting and fresh, but to my mind Joe Christian is too much of a symbol and not enough of a real, believable person. And the two-words-glued-together neologisms (“branchshadowed,” “flabbyjowled,” “womansign,” ), which many people found effective,  started to get on my nerves.

I’m just going to dump a bunch of quotes (punctuation is [sic]) in here and call it a night… for this writing to be a pleasure and not a chore, I need to get it done more promptly, or give up on it!

…[T]he town believed that good women dont forget things easily, good or bad, lest the taste and savor of forgiveness die from the palate of conscience.

“I said, there is your home.” Still, the child didn’t answer. He had never seen a home, so there was nothing for him to say about it. And he was not old enough to talk and say nothing at the same time.

Mrs Hines was already turning back, as though to open the door. …[S]he halted in the act of turning, as if someone had hit her lightly with a thrown pebbly. “Caught who?” she said.

…[T]he Grand Jury was preparing behind locked doors to take the life of a man whom few of them had ever seen to know, for having taken the life of a woman whom even fewer of them had known to see.

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