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Light in August Audiobook

Light in August

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Audible Editor Reviews

Having grown up in the South, the daughter of someone who wrote her masters thesis on Southern fiction, the idea of writing even a 300 word review of William Faulkner’s classic Light in August is intimidating, to say the least. In the South, Faulkner is a rite of passage, someone we all read in high school or college but certainly not since, preferring to celebrate our literary legacy through more contemporary “Southern fiction light”. Faulkner is just tough — it’s dense and wrought with meaning — classic literature at its finest, but not what you would call a beach read (unless you’re my mom).

And then I listened to Will Patton perform Faulkner’s Light in August.

Faulkner’s stories are written out of chronological order, in layers, in such a way that you might come to know a story over time from hearing it told by many different people in a place. Those who have studied Faulkner say when you get really caught up in one of the author’s page-long sentences, the best thing to do is read it out loud.

It’s even better to listen. With intonation, and the honey smooth cadence of Patton’s voice, the story is suddenly clearer.

Patton introduces us to Lena Grove as she begins her journey to find the father of her unborn child, Lucas Burch. Instead she finds Byron Bunch, who feels a strong pull to take care of her, though it puts him in an awkward social position. For guidance, Byron visits the Rev. Gail Hightower, a man so haunted by not even his own past, but that of his grandfather, that he has trapped himself in his own home.

Even before we encounter Joe Christmas, the 33-year old drifter of ambiguous race, the allusions to the life and death of Jesus are thick. There is a fire and a murder, and it all unravels from there. Patton’s voice carries us through it all, enhancing the story with approachability and authenticity. The Charleston-born Patton’s southern accent is true and real—not a touch of the theatrical, overdone linguistics adopted by some other actors.

In Light in August, Faulkner addresses themes of morality and race, religion and redemption — all too deeply to address in these few words. But he does it without preaching or judgment, leaving the reader — and in this case the listener — to wonder about our own stories, and how they might be told. —Sarah Evans Hogeboom

Publisher's Summary

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 William Faulkner's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews James Lee Burke about the life and work of William Faulkner – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.

Be sure to check out Faulkner's The Wild Palms as well.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.

©1954, 1976 William Faulkner (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Nominee - Best Classic Audiobook, 2011

"For all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must turn to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for the greatness of our classics." (Ralph Ellison)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (2227 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Reuel South Bend, IN, United States 05-03-15
    Reuel South Bend, IN, United States 05-03-15

    drj

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    "Deep, moving, personal"

    Brilliantly told story with changing perspectives about human dramas, history, guilt and hope. Outstanding narration conveys the different personalities perfectly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Hamblin Sr CASTLE ROCK, CO, US 03-28-15
    Ken Hamblin Sr CASTLE ROCK, CO, US 03-28-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Awesome ."

    Embarrassed to say that at more than 70 years of literacy this is my first William Faulkner book. OMG, what a wonderful story by a super gifted writer and story teller. The narrative and production quality only enhanced it. I'm already beginning my second Faulkner book. "A Fable."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 03-19-15
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 03-19-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Captivating and well-narrated"

    This was my first work by Faulkner. His style is gripping and has a genuine feel for the time and place of the story. It does, however, go to an extreme at times.

    The narrator brings the work alive, with distinct voices for each of the characters, faithful accents, and a good pace.

    I will listen to another Faulkner, especially one read by the same narrator. Together, they really know how to tell a story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-11-14 Member Since 2016

    Retired and loving every minute!

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    "Faulkner one of my favorite authors."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Most enjoyable book. The images Faulkner paints with his words put me back in the story. Love the story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Light in August?

    Most memorable for me was the imagery of the small southern tows. I was raised in one of these small towns.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When the main character was walking down the gravel road carrying her shoes.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Good book good reader!! Enjoyable! !

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Phillips Kansas City 05-21-14
    Bruce Phillips Kansas City 05-21-14 Member Since 2007
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    "A Tiimeless Story About Race and Family"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The author does a great job of telling the story through the thoughts and deeds of various characters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Christmas and his foster father's trip to town and visit to the cafe where Christmas meets the waitress that will change his life.


    Any additional comments?

    The reader did an excellent job with each character's "voice". Listening to this book was very enjoyable and I found myself really getting into the story. There were several times I went back to listen to a part a second time just to pay closer attention to the language used. Though this book was written decades ago I think its theme of how race and family influence our lives is still important today.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda Citron Agoura Hills, CA, United States 01-23-14
    Melinda Citron Agoura Hills, CA, United States 01-23-14
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    "Not my cup of tea"
    Would you try another book from William Faulkner and/or Will Patton?

    I would not be interested in reading another Faulkner book however I thought Will Patton did good job of narrating.


    What was most disappointing about William Faulkner’s story?

    The overly descriptive nature of Faulkner's work is lost on me. I find myself daydreaming or getting lost on what he was describing or talking about. I really hated reading this book but I kept reading in hopes that it would have some redeeming ending. Not.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul winter park, FL, United States 09-27-13
    Paul winter park, FL, United States 09-27-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Amazing view into life 100 years ago."
    What made the experience of listening to Light in August the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The depth of the characters and how they converged in life


    What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

    The pace, the vocal manipulation and tonal flexibility in converying each character


    If you could take any character from Light in August out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    pass on that one


    Any additional comments?

    Very insightful of human value and perspective from this era.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 04-22-13
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 04-22-13 Member Since 2017

    I love books!

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    "a good reintroduction to Faulkner"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. H. H. 10-08-12
    D. H. H. 10-08-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Suffering from visions meeting with reality"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee G. Stringer Newfoundland, CA 09-21-12
    Lee G. Stringer Newfoundland, CA 09-21-12 Member Since 2011

    Bookhead

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stunning"

    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?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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