I loved this book but what made it unforgettable for me is the outstanding narration by Will Patton. Faulkner isn't always easy for me to read but Will Patton's reading was fabulous. The character development by Faulkner in this book is oustanding.
I do like many classics but hadn't read any Faulkner in decades. So when I started Light in August I was ready for a really good read. Unfortunately for me, it was agony waiting for him to spit the words out, to please just get on with it. This is not the fault of the book, it's a fault of our times that we need quick answers, instant gratification, speed. Will Patton is the perfect reader for this work, but his slow southern drawl makes it even more tedious for those of us who don't remember how to relax and enjoy all the nuances in a well written book.
This book takes time, time that many of us just don't have. And if we do have it, we don't like to dawdle. Fifteen minutes to describe a printed sign is bad enough, but then to revisit it again has many of us shrieking, "Just get on with it!" Yet, it seems Faulkner is trying to get us to realize that there is so much more to small things than simply stating them. Just a turn of the head, or NOT turning the head evokes, illustrates, says so much that it takes him pages to relate it.
So, I have to say that it is a good book, but that I just wish I had the patience now for reading it that I had when I was younger.
I almost backed out of this purchase when I read that it was an Oprah recommendation but,, having missed out on High School Faulkner due to an Australian education, decided it was worth the risk.
I was hooked from the start. The language is truly amazing and the narration superb. I felt like the book gave me a true sense of race and racism. What cold, tragic, loveless lives these people led.
In this story he portrays the true tragedy of ignorance and racism as it's played out in a small southern town in the 30's.
An orphan boy, abandoned on the steps of an orphanage by his insane grandfather after his mother dies in childbirth ends up as tragically as one might suspect. Other characters are twined around and through the story of Joe Christmas, so called because he was found at Christmas, their stories as tragic and filled with pathos as his.
This was probably the most tedious book to which my wife and I have ever listened. The only thing that got it even a 2 was the narration of Will Patton. The story line is convoluted and I only finished it because I listen to books while I jog - it was kind of like going to sleep with the TV on, it's noise and it was distracting. It's a good thing I can't sleep while jogging.
If you love vivid imagery then this book is for you. There is too much imagery and not enough of the characters - so much so that I don't even care about what happens to them, that's when I know to give up. I made it through chapter 5 then started flipping ahead chapters - it is SOOOOO tedious. I don't normally drop books, but this one is a chore.
Tell us about yourself! I am a former high school history teacher and now, a semi-retired physician assistant.
Advertised as an accessible Faulkner, the story is excessively bleak. I had hoped that Will Patton could save it, but even his wonderful narration couldn't turn on the Light in August. The characters are sad losers made more pitiful by the depression, wanton murder, and racial prejudice. Steinbeck did it better in The Grapes of Wrath.
I haven't finished this one yet; I'm about three-quarters of the way through, and I'm not sure I have the patience to finish! TEDIOUS!
When I started I thought, "Wow! Faulkner! I'm on hollowed ground!" But now I know why I'd never read him before. There is a reason why "The Classics" aren't read much outside of the demands of some teacher or professor, and it can be summed up in one word: TEDIOUS!!! My God! It just keeps dribbling on and on!
Books like this, and other "Classics" were written, and enjoyed, by people who had nothing better to think about. If Faulkner were writing today he could say whatever he has to say in half the words—and they would be couched in a more vigorous story.
Did you see the movie Amadeus? Remember when a Mozart work was criticized for having "too many notes?" Well, that's what is wrong with the old writings: Too many words.
Faulkner uses words like tea leaves to brew deep mysterious worlds that we forget existed here not so very long ago. How ardently one longs for the trust and simplicity that resonates in the background of the melody he creates with living breathing humans. Read this with your grandchildren and make sure they know that we rose to greatness before TV and smart phones. Teach them that people believe and decieve each other and that family is what family does... Tender as all Faulkners work the characters here play out our fears and hopes. It is a story that makes you think... do that ... think... this book will help.