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Audible is pleased to present Light in August, by Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner.
An Oprah's Book Club Selection regarded as one of Faulkner's greatest and most accessible novels, Light in August is a timeless and riveting story of determination, tragedy, and hope. In Faulkner's iconic Yoknapatawpha County, race, sex, and religion collide around three memorable characters searching desperately for human connection and their own identities.
Audie Award-winning narrator Will Patton lends his voice to Light in August. Patton has narrated works by Ernest Hemingway, Don DeLillo, Pat Conroy, Denis Johson, Larry McMurtry, and James Lee Burke, and brings to this performance a keen understanding of Faulkner, an authentic feel for the South, and a virtuoso narrator's touch.
As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Light in August, you'll get exclusive bonus audio added to your library - an interview with James Lee Burke about William Faulkner, conducted by James Atlas.
©1954, 1976 William Faulkner (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.
Not to personalize here, but I went to Vanderbilt, majored in English Lit, and read a number of Southern authors. Nonetheless, to say that this book is slow is an understatement. Molasses is quick by comparison. You need to be really into style in order to appreciate Faulkner, and frankly, I got over that in the late sixties. There may be a plot here, but I couldn't find it. I do really like the sound of Will Patton's voice, and have enjoyed a number of books that he has read. But, not this one.
The vocabulary of the author. I understood the intent of each sentence, but marvelled at the literary level of the written word. Not something you would here in everyday life now.
The depth of the characters and how they converged in life
The pace, the vocal manipulation and tonal flexibility in converying each character
pass on that one
Very insightful of human value and perspective from this era.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
It's hard to describe just what the structure of this book is. Characters we think are central disappear for long stretches. Characters we think are peripheral come to have major roles. The central plot line appears to lead nowhere. I am left with the sense that the real plot lies outside of what is reported in the book, and can only be inferred from the general shapes outlined therein. Faulkner is probably the most successful experimental writer of the 20th century. One of the few where we feel the experimental elements serve the function of the story instead of the other way around. In this book, it is the fragmented way of telling the story, and the sense of an overarching purpose that cannot be directly stated. Nowadays, the fragmented chronology has become so common that we may not appreciate how revolutionary Faulkner's work really was. One thing Faulkner is always good at is at expressing the ambiguity in a character's words or actions. Rather than simply say what a gesture means, he will leave you with a multitude of interpretations just as you are left in real life wondering what a gesture truly meant. Just as our own gestures mean more than can be neatly summed up in a tidy soundbite explanation.
It's not giving anything away to say that there are numerous allusions to the nativity story in this book, though it can be easy to forget as the story twists away in different directions. It's a very dark twisted version of the nativity story all the same. I think the underlying meaning of the book lies somewhere in the contemplation of its elements as they relate to that archetypal story.
Will Patton does a terrific job of keeping all the characters straight and of evoking the period and the people.
I love books!
I read William Faulkner or at least tried to read him in my 20's. I never really thought much about him after that until audible offered up this book as part of its Audible Modern Vanguard classic selections. The plot seemed interesting and I liked that it was narrated by actor Will Patton, who also narrates the James Lee Burke novels I enjoy, and since he's from the south where this book takes place, he had the southern accents down to a T.
This is a thought provoking book that touches on several different topics. Since it's set in Mississippi in the 1930's, it is a timepiece novel looking at that era, post Civil War but where racism still existed even all those years later. But it also touches on the hopes and dreams of people who are just trying to get by in life. It touches on the effects our parents and even out grandparents have on our lives. Did we lead the lives our parents wanted us to or did we stay true to ourselves and lead the lives we wanted to? Was it possible to do both? How did our grandparents effect the lives of their children and how then did that get passed down onto us? Many of us rebel and strike off on our own but as we get older we sometimes think that we are leading the life we were supposed to and now we've gone full circle.
Faulkner touches on all these issues in this book. Yes, it's a novel of the deep south in the 1930's but it is also universally timeless. I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would when starting out. Read it slow and think about it, as i said, it's thought provoking.
This is a master of the human psyche tells the stories of a number of different of human characters, many of which each of us has met in other incarnations. Faulkner gives us insights into what moves them. No explanations, however, as there aren't any. The discrepancy between their dreams and their reality brings to life many of my own memories. The least active character is at the same time the most realistic about what is happening around and to her.
The reader is absolutely exceptional in portraying the different characters, their emotions and "southernness". This performance is a pleasure to listen too just to hear Will Paton read Faulkner.
To praise this masterpiece by the great Faulkner would only be repeating what has already been said countless times. As a writer myself I can't understand how a man could write this good and not go mad.
What I really want to comment on is the narrator, Will Patton. This is the finest narration I have ever heard. His voice brings alive the cadence and richness of Faulkner's style. He has the southern voice, but none of the farcical tone that a lesser reader imitating a southern voice might bring to it. He captures the soul of the words so that every scene plays in one's mind as if you're standing in the middle of it. Patton is a great example of how reading is an art all on its own. Actually, this is my only concern. How different is the experience of reading a novel compared to listening to it? Especially when someone as good as Patton is on the job?
I listened until 3 hours from the end and just could not stand a moment more. I found Faulkner's story depressing, unpleasant and mostly unbelievable. The timeline jumping happened without warning, and at one point, I thought I had started another book. The biblical, racial, and sexual bigotry, along with "preacherliness" of both the story and the narration, totally turned me off--so did Faulkner's creative word-play.
Apparently, I am not sophisticated enough to enjoy or appreciate this classical writer. Luckily, I have found others whom I really do enjoy.
I have always loved Faulkner's writing and have read most of his works. This reading of Light in August was masterful. Will Patton reads this very complicated text in such a way that it becomes amazingly easy to follow. For anyone familiar with the effort required to follow Faulkner's intricate and challenging prose, this will be recognized as quite an accomplishment.
The storyline detailing the experiences of Joe Christmas, from boarding school to adoption to adulthood, and his struggle to understand and cope with his heritage, vividly illustrates the difficulty and confusion of those times.
There are many beautiful passages in this one. Faulkner is a masterful writer, but there are times when he is really in his stride. No one is better then.
Will Patton is my only saving grace as I try to finish this book. I enjoy an author that is descriptive but let a scene tell it's story and not be interrupted with a description of every movement, sound and word spoken. Some of it is brilliant but mostly I'm just saying "get on with it!". The story itself is worth the history lesson but be warned it is very depressing.
All I can say is I'm so glad it's over! I had to keep repeating segments to figure out what had just been said. I'm still scratching my head! Depressing, confusing, and very little resolution. The most redeeming part of this 15+ hour road trip was the narrator was very, very good.
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