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The Reivers

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Dust cover: The Reivers is, with no reservations whatsoever, one of the funniest books in our literature. It is a comic classic that will be universally read and reread, not only today, but as far into the future as any fiction of our time can continue to delight, interest, and inform the world of tomorrow. To seasoned readers of William Faulkner, The Reivers will come as no surprise, for they are already aware that his great gift for comedy is one of the most brilliant facets of his genius. But to those readers who have only sampled his work, The Reivers will be an especial delight.

To reveal too much of the plot would be a discourtesy to the reader, for this is a book which moves on the wheels of breathless suspense. It may be said, however, that one day in 1905 eleven-year-old Lucius Priest—certain to become one of the most cherished striplings in literature—"borrowed" his grandfather's automobile, with the tacit connivance of two older friends: the part-Indian Boon Hogganbeck and Ned William McCaslin, a Negro. In that nostalgic day, their ensuing expedition in the car from Jefferson, Mississippi, to Memphis called for the fearless hardihood of pioneers. The account of the heroic trio's journey is as exciting as it is hilarious—but it is just a pale prelude to the adventures that await them in Memphis. These being when Ned—a long-shot gambler and manipulator of Homeric stature—trades Grandfather's car for a dubious race horse. How the three reivers* grapple with the ensuing crisis is the mainspring of the story. Beginning with a night of whispered conspiracy in Miss Reba's brothel (made famous by the authors Sanctuary), it ends only after a conflict with the law, and some of the most hair-raising and bizarre horse racing in the history of fact or fiction.

The wild humor, the racy language, and the frenetic action will not, however, blind the perceptive reader to the fact that The Reivers, like all of William Faulkner's work, is also a book about moving and tender human relationships, with profound moral insights into human conduct.

*reive (reave): take awya by stealth or force; plunder.

305 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1962

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About the author

William Faulkner

1,038 books8,743 followers
William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

The majority of his works are set in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel." Faulkner has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature. Faulkner was influenced by European modernism, and employed stream of consciousness in several of his novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 513 reviews
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,425 reviews3,392 followers
November 29, 2022
Folks I’ve just been down, down to Memphis town…
Some journeys undertaken in one’s childhood are capable to make an indelible imprint on the entire life… And The Reivers is a story of one such pivotal journey…
Then Grandfather bought that automobile and Boon found his soul’s mate… My grandfather didn’t want an automobile at all; he was forced to buy one. A banker, president of the older Bank of Jefferson, the first bank in Yoknapatawpha County, he believed then and right on to his death many years afterward, by which time everybody else even in Yoknapatawpha County had realised that the automobile had come to stay, that the motor vehicle was an insolvent phenomenon like last night’s toadstool and, like the fungus, would vanish with tomorrow’s sun.

Automobile and horse – the future and the past…
A horse would a been different. Even if you hadn’t even paid a hundred dollars for a horse you’d a had me out there at daylight lunging him on a rope just to keep his guts working.

Two eras collide – the left behind era of nature and the forthcoming era of machine.
Time flies onward without ever heeding what it leaves behind.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
458 reviews3,241 followers
December 21, 2020
An old man is reciting the unusual yet true story to his own grandson, named after him of long ago when he was eleven, Lucius Priest a comfortable but uninspired life he led, in the small town of Jefferson, northern Mississippi with his parents and three younger brothers, the year 1905. His father makes him work at the family's livery stable every Saturday, for 10 cents a day to know the benefits of employment. But the dullness will soon evaporate, Boon Hogganbeck all six foot 4 inches tall, wild ( some say crazy) man, his temper underneath is always ready to explode and get him into major trouble, has a plan ... "Borrow" not steal, Lucius's grandfather's renowned Winton Flyer automobile, one of the first two in the area, for a fun visit to vibrant, dynamic, Memphis, Tennessee only eighty miles distance from quiet Yoknapatawpha County where the prosperous Priest family resides. The "Boss" ( real name Lucius, also) the boy Lucius's wealthy banker grandfather, is leaving along with his parents and other members of the family by train, to Bay St. Louis in the southern part of the state for a funeral, his mother's father has ceased living. Lucius hardly knew him and feels little, he will stay behind with the servants and his siblings. The conspirators carefully make sure nobody sees the thief, the plan begins though inauspiciously, when Ned McCaslin a black man who works for the family in the livery stable ( an unstated cousin) as does Boon, is soon discovered hiding in the backseat of the Winton Flyer. After the many difficulties of procuring the vehicle this calamity, Boon angrily threatening him with expulsion... thinking further they decide to take him to Memphis, just too far to walk back home. The roads are bad when there are any, getting stuck in a mud hole Hell Creek, after numerous muddy failures to escape, paying six dollars to the owner of a couple of mules, for help Boon is not happy still it beats the strain of pushing the automobile up the hill. Their first stop in the exuberant city is a house of ill repute, the boy is both fascinated and apprehensive, he doesn't know... but finds out quickly from another kid Otis in the know, the strangeness, with the abnormal and exhilarating atmosphere, this is not Jefferson... falling in love with the affable Everbe Corinthia ( Miss Corrie) a pretty, tall lady who is employed by the establishment. Boon complicates the situation, he also likes her very much the real reason for this audacious trip. Catastrophe occurs, Ned trades the car for a horse while the others aren't around, ( living in the "Boarding House") in the middle of the night, later Ned says the Boss never wanted the automobile but had to buy one to keep up with an arch rival. A horse race in the nearby village of Parsham can get them the funds to take back the Winton Flyer, problem solved if the animal wins, it never has otherwise, how can they the fugitive trio ever return and face the Boss, nevertheless there is something that he the confident Ned is concealing, has he manipulated the crisis for some reason? A rather different kind of story from this celebrated author, an amusing, lighthearted narrative a comedy which for those in the right mood will greatly be enchanted by it.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
June 25, 2020
“It was too late. Maybe yesterday, while I was still a child, but not now. I knew too much, had seen too much, I was a child no longer now; innocence and childhood were forever lost, forever gone from me.”

Lucius Priest is almost proud of his innocence, an innocence that is easy to maintain as long as he stays in Yoknapatawpha County Mississippi, but when two family retainers by the name of Boon Hogganbeck and Ned McCaslin decide to go on an adventure and convince him to be a part of their ludicrous scheme his veil of innocence, in short order, is in tatters.

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Winton Flyer detail

It all starts with the death of one grandfather which puts most of the family on a train to attend the funeral including the other grandfather who happens to own the conveyance that provides the impetus for four days of mayhem. This automobile which was bought only because grandfather or Boss as he is called by employees and family alike decided he needed to own one. It is a Winton Flyer and in 1905 automobiles in this section of Mississippi or Missippi, as the characters of this novel refer to their fair state, are rare. Even a short ride in a car provides much excitement, enjoyment, and fear. A word of caution if you are riding in the rear watch yourself when the Boss turns his head to relieve himself of some juicy brown tobacco spit.

BoonHogganbeck_zps1cf60611 photo BoonHogganbeck_zps1cf60611.jpg
Steve McQueen plays Boon Hogganbeck in the 1969 movie.

Of the three Amigos that get involved in this hair brained idea Lucius is by far the youngest, but miles ahead of the other two in intelligence. After they steal the car and head for Memphis he has many moments of doubt in which he wished he were older and better able to handle the responsibility of being...well...bad.

”I realised this too now all my life that who dealt with Boon dealt with a child and had not merely to cope with but even anticipate its unpredictable vagaries; not the folly of Boon’s lack of the simplest rudiments of common sense, but the shame of my failure to anticipate, assume he would lack them, saying, crying to Whoever it is you indict in such crises Don’t You realise I aint but eleven years old? How do You expect me to do all this at just eleven years old? Dont you see you are putting on me more than I can handle?

Before this adventure even leaves town I’m already thinking that Lucius better stress the fact that he is only eleven when The Boss catches up with this madcap trio.

Roads aren’t made for automobiles yet and before they’ve gotten very far they find themselves bogged down in a mud hole. Now amongst the people they know when you get in trouble, like say getting stuck in a mud hole, your neighbors offer a helping hand. The farmer that stakes out this mud hole in the road with a pair of mules is more of an entrepreneur. He extracts six hard earned dollars from Boon before he will put his mules to work getting them sucked back up onto dry land. Lucius learns a first lesson about how the world works outside his home county.

WintonFlyer_zps6ff33611 photo WintonFlyer_zps6ff33611.jpg
And they are off!

BONUS This book is laden with fascinating historical facts about how to care and keep an automobile in 1905.

After many trials and tribulations of which even Don Quixote would have decided to turn around and go back home to his books of chivalry and romance, they arrive in Memphis. They are staying at a boarding house of a lady friend of Boon and there is something really different about this place that leaves Lucius a bit confused and on the verge of even more revelations.

”It was like any other hall, with a stairway going up, only at once I smelled something; the whole house smelled that way. I had never smelled it before. I didn’t dislike it; I was just surprised. I mean, as soon as I smelled it, it was like a smell I had been waiting all my life to smell.”

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never been in a bawdy house, a whore house, on a bunny ranch or even in the flophouse of a lady of the evening so at 45 ...damn... I mean 46. Lucius Priest is way ahead of me at the age of 11. He’s not all that happy about it.

”I wanted my mother. Because you should be prepared for experience, knowledge, knowing: not bludgeoned unaware in the dark as by a highwayman or footpad. I was just eleven, remember. There are things, circumstances, conditions in the world which should not be there but are, and you cant escape them and indeed, you wouldnt try to escape them even if you had the choice, since they too are a part of Motion, of participating in life, being alive. But they should arrive with grace, decency. I was having to learn too much too fast, unassisted; I had nowhere to put it, no receptacle, pigeonhole prepared yet to accept it without pain and lacerations.”

RupertCrosseTheReivers_zpsf02c5458 photo RupertCrosseTheReivers_zpsf02c5458.jpg
Rupert Crosse won an Oscar for his portrayal of Ned McCaslin.

Now Ned trades the Winton Flyer for a horse named Coppermine and the whole rest of the novel is spent with trying to undo what even the two less intelligent members of the group realize is a situation that might lead to more trouble than they can handle. There are horse races, sardine doping, pugnuckling, a knife fight, brawls with sheriffs, whores reforming at inopportune moments, rail hopping, gold tooth theft, and in the midst of it all is Lucius Priest watching his innocence soar away into a blue sky never to be seen again. He is a man in all but size by the end of this novel.

Because this book is written in a straightforward manner with none of the experimental writing that adds “weight” to his other novels critics have said and will continue to say that this is a lesser novel. I have read in the last year two other Faulkner novels: Absalom! Absalom! and The Hamlet, and all three novels have provided me with very different styles of writing that shows me the breadth and genius of a writer capable of writing any kind of novel he would choose to lend his mind to.

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William Faulkner

He won the Pulitzer for this novel and the novel The Fable. For me Absalom! Absalom! is a six star book, but because we have a smaller scale to work with I had to settle for giving it a mere five stars. Thus the other two Faulkner’s had to settle for four stars. You may say to yourself is it fair that Faulkner has to compete with himself? Who else is he supposed to compete with? He is a man standing alone on a craggy peak in a universe of his own making and other writers have tried and are still trying to make there way to the summit.
Profile Image for Lawyer.
384 reviews831 followers
October 11, 2014
The Reivers: William Faulkner's Final Gift

This novel was a group read for members of On the Southern Literary Trail in January, 2013.

William Faulkner, The last dust-jacket photo. Reviewer's copy.

"Your outside is just what you live in, sleep in, and has little connection with who you are and even less with what you do.”

The Reivers is a Grandfather tale. So I beg the reader's patience while I write about my own Grandfather a bit. It is a Grandson's tale. There is a point to it.

Any boy who ever hopes to amount to anything must learn to become a man. It is a task I cannot think of accomplishing without a teacher. The right teacher was once a child, too, making his or her share of mistakes, just as we all do. For most menthat teacher is their father. For some boys, it's a single mother, an uncle, grandparents. God help them, but there must be some one.

My mother and father married young. They eloped to Columbus, Mississippi, where the legal age to marry without parental consent was younger than in Alabama. It was a real lark. They double dated with another couple who were going to get married, too. The other couple chickened out. My folks didn't.

My father joined the Navy during my mother's pregnancy. He sectioned eight out. Bad sign. He was foolish enough to tell my grandfather that he had decided he was too young to be a father and was going to cut out. I'm told my grand father said he would kill him if he left that girl before she had their baby. My grandfather had gotten him work as a plumber's apprentice and they worked together. From what I learned of my grandfather through the years, I think he would have. It wouldn't have been a great loss to the world.

A week after I was born, my mother went to the grocery store. My father had rounded up all his high school buddies to come over to the little half duplex they had rented. He and his pals cleaned the place out with the exception of the crib with me in it, a bottle of formula and thirteen cents. Yeah, too young to be a father.

Good old Dad gleefully signed over custody and visitation in exchange for no alimony, no child support, and no responsibility. He called me on my wedding night saying, "Mike, this is your Father." It had been a long twenty-one years. My response was a cold, "The Hell, you say." It hung him up. "You know, you don't miss something, you've never had."

Personally, in later life, I felt he should have been held responsible. For a brief time I dealt with dead beat dads far in arrears on child support payments.

My father came from a well to do family, was spoiled. If held accountable, my mother would not have had to work at menial jobs for many years to support me. However, she was a strong willed and independent woman. In her opinion, being exposed to him and his indulgent family was not in my best interest. I will never know.

I grew up in my maternal grandparents' house. My grandfather's was Robert Hayward McConnell, though he was simply known as Mack to his friends. My mother and grandmother taught me my manners. My grandfather reinforced and enforced them. He taught by example, but was never at a loss for an explanation on the reason I should behave in a particular manner. I was raised old school. "Boy, you weren't born in a barn."

He was a Yellow Dog Democrat, who carried quotes from FDR and Harry Truman in his billfold. He was a Union man, an Organizer in the 1940s and 1950s. He was shot at more than once, but by the time he was done, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was a Union town. So was much of the state.

I called him Papa. He tried his hand at politics, running for a place on the City Council in 1960. He ended up in a run-off with a man who called him a Communist because of his labor stand. He lost, never looked back, and contributed to our community in every capacity he could.

His lessons to me might be considered cliches these days.

"Your word is your bond."

"Never start a fight. But finish one."

"Don't take advantage of someone less fortunate than you."

"Never hurt a woman, a child, or an old person. No body likes a bully"

"If you say you're going to do something, do it."

"Never think you're beneath anyone, but don't think you're better than anyone else."

"If you can help someone, do it."

I could go on. But I think I've given the gist of it. I also know there have been times I didn't live up to each and every one of those things on every occasion. We had our talks about that. And there have been times I've wished I could have had more of those talks.

Many times I've heard my grandfather referred to as a gentleman, something that goes beyond simply being a male. That's what he expected of me. I've done the best I could.

My grandfather taught me to drive in a 1963 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 that seemed about a block long. He could be practical. He told me he knew I'd want to scratch off as soon as I got out of sight of the house so I might as well learn how to do it right. He demonstrated. Then he dryly said "Those black marks on the pavement are part of your tires. When I give you this car, you buy your own tires." I got the idea.

The other lesson about driving and cars was real simple. "Son, you know you can get a girl in trouble in the back seat of one of these." What could I say, but, "Yes, sir." He then ventured to ask if I had any questions, his tense shoulders relaxing, when I said, "No, Sir."

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My 1963 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, not the most stylish car, but with a backseat built for trouble. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything.

My grandfather was a reader--always. So was my grandmother and my mother. I came by it honest. Over the years it became my tradition to give each of them books for holidays or what I call "Happy for the Hell of Its." They gave them to me, too.

As far as I know, my grandfather never read William Faulkner. I have good reason to believe that, because whenever I gave him a book that just didn't quite strike his fancy, he'd say, "Well, Son, it was all right, but I thought it skipped around a good bit."

That sounds familiar when you're talking about Faulkner. He makes you think by all the skipping around he did from narrator to narrator, from those different points of view, the digressions, the asides. But I think my grandfather would have liked "The Reivers." It doesn't skip around.

There's one narrator, Grandfather, reminiscing to his grandchildren about an adventure that happened in 1905 when he was only ten, a road trip from Jefferson, Mississippi, all the way to Memphis, Tennessee, in his grandfather's Winton Flyer. Young Lucius Priest spends the night in a whore house, gets in a knife fight defending the honor of one of the ladies that works there, and must run a horse race on a horse traded by one of his traveling companions for his Grandfather's car. The horse is stolen, by the way.

Grandfather's 1905 Winton Flyer as shown in Mark Rydell's 1969 film "The Reivers"

When William Faulkner published The Mansion in 1959, he told Random House it would be his last book. However, Faulkner had been thinking about a Huck Finn type novel for twenty years prior to the appearance of "The Mansion." In fact, Faulkner received a $5,000.00 advance on it. Bits and pieces of "The Reivers" appeared in Faulkner's stories over more than a decade.

On July 2, 1960, Faulkner received news of Hemingway's suicide while visiting with daughter Jill and her husband in Virginia. It affected him deeply. He strongly disagreed with what Hemingway had done.

A few days later, Faulkner presented Joseph Blotner, his master biographer, the first three chapters of a novel he called "The Horse Stealers." Boon Hogganbeck, Lucius Priest, and Ned McCaslin were all there. Boon's mission is to "borrow" grandfather's Winton Flyer and make it to Memphis to see his "sweetheart," Miss Corrie, a whore working at Miss Reba's house, yes, the same Miss Reba who appeared in Sanctuary written back in 1931.

Boon as portrayed by Steve McQueen

Miss Corrie as portrayed by Sharon Farrell

Prior to Hemingway's suicide, Faulkner had been in Oxford. "The Horse Stealers" seemed to be on his mind. He was downtown on the square in Oxford at Gaithwright and Reed's drug store, a frequent destination.

He was speaking with a friend, Taylor McElroy. McElroy told him, "Bill, you're one of the finest writers. Why don't you write something of the kind that your friends here would really appreciate?" Faulkner dropped his head, smiled, and said, "I may do that." He had done it with this book, or at least come closer than he had done before. (Blotner, A New Life October 1960-1961.)

By now, Albert Erskine had become Faulkner's editor at Random House. The title changed from "The Horse Stealers," to "The Stealers," to finally, at Erskine's recommendation, "The Reivers," a Scottish phrase for thieves.

As was his custom, after finishing "The Reivers," Faulkner walked down to Gathwright & Reed, telling Reed, he didn't have anything to put his manuscript in. As usual, Mac packaged the manuscript and posted it to Random House. Faulkner told Reed, "I been aiming to quit this foolishness. The package was sent off just before Faulkner's 63rd birthday.

As it turns out, Faulkner said he still had one more book in him. It would be about his favorite activity, fox hunting which he had picked up in Virginia. It never happened. After several falls from horses, binges of drinking, Faulkner died of a heart attack on July 6, 1962.

The critical reception of Faulkner's "The Reivers" was mixed. As usual he had his detractors and conveyors of back handed compliments. For the majority of Faulkner's critics this was another "minor" work. Yet, this minor work was of sufficient note to garner one more Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1963. A vote of sympathy by the Board? I don't think so. Too often the Board has elected to award no prize in varying categories.

I consider that Faulkner left us one last gift and it is a golden one. Yes, there are elements of Huck Finn at hand. Lucius experiences a loss of innocence and learns what it takes to see a project through and accept responsibility for his actions.

This book is different from anything Faulkner wrote. Immediately detectable is the story told by one narrator, the Grandfather. And to whom is the story told other than his grandchildren? Noticing the dedication, the book was written for Faulkner's grandchildren. Not only his son by daughter Jill, but the step grandchildren by Estelle's children.

Mention has been made that "The Reivers" does not engage the reader as "The Sound and the Fury." No, it doesn't. But I don't think Faulkner intended it to do so.

Making his first appearance at the University of Virginia as the Balch Lecturer in American Literature, on student asked if he was the same writer he was as he had started out. I loved Faulkner's response. "I hope not. I like to think anyone grows as he becomes older...He may not have the power and drive he had at 20, but he prefers to believe he understands more. He's not always able to forgive human folly, but he is able to understand it."

There is much human folly to understand in "The Reivers." Perhaps that is why I have come to love it so much. I first read "The Reivers" forty years ago. I would like to think I have come to understand my fellow humans wandering across the surface of this spinning planet. My grandfather would have nodded his head at the following passage:

“I lied," I said. ...
"I know it," he said.
"Then do something about it. Do anything, just so it's something."
"I cant," he said.
"There aint anything to do? Not anything?"
"I didn't say that," Grandfather said. "I said I couldn't. You can."
"What?" I said. "How can I forget it? Tell me how to."
"You cant," he said. "Nothing is ever forgotten. Nothing is ever lost. It's too valuable."
"Then what can I do?"
"Live with it," Grandfather said.
"Live with it? You mean, forever? For the rest of my life? Not ever to get rid of it? Never? I cant. Dont you see that I cant?"
"Yes you can," he said. "You will. A gentleman always does. A gentleman can live through anything. He faces anything. A gentleman accepts the responsibility of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences, even when he did not himself instigate them but only acquiesced to them, didn't say No though he knew he should.”

I can hear my Grandfather in those words. I can hear him whisper, "See, it's just as I always told you."

In Memoriam my grandparents, R.H. "Mack" McConnell, Ovilea Beasley McConnell, and mother, Margaret Ann McConnell Sullivan, readers all

Robert Haywood & Ovilea Beasley McConnell


"Snaffles and Derbies: Horseracing and Southern Folk Culture in William Faulkner's The Reivers," Frank P. Fury, Monmouth University, Mississippi Quarterly, June 1, 2006

Blotner, Joseph, Faulkner: A Biography. New York: Random House,

Shelby Foote on William Faulkner

Faulkner and Hemingway: a Literary Rivalry>

The Reivers Official Movie Trailer

The Reiver's Soundtrack Suite by Composer John Williams
Profile Image for Dream.M.
454 reviews90 followers
February 3, 2022
اینکه کتاب خیلی باحالیه، آی ایرانیان مقیم گودریدز! چرا اینو کم خوندید پس؟
این کتاب رو با تیم خفن حرامیان خوندم که خیلی زیاد اطلاعات و سواد دارن و اصلا چی بگم :)
ممنون از آرمان ، سپهر ، سعید به ترتیب حروف الفبا که کلی چیز ازشون یاد گرفتم♡♡♡
تشکر ویژه تر از سعید که کتابو اسکن کرد برامون تا بتونیم بخونیم . ماچ خدایان مونث بر او
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
September 22, 2021
I’ve come to expect a somber, dark tone to William Faulkner’s work but this, his last novel, was a picaresque about a mischievous joyride to Memphis in the early 1900s.

I smiled frequently and laughed out loud a couple of times, this was a comic gem.

Faulkner won his second Pulitzer Prize for this 1962 publication. (Awarded to him posthumously as he died in July of that year). The author had previously won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1954 novel A Fable, making him one of only four authors to have won the Prize for Fiction more than once – the others being Norman Mailer, John Updike and Colson Whitehead. (Several writers have won the award multiple times in the categories of drama and poetry.) Faulkner had earlier won the Nobel Prize for his work in 1949 for "his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel".

A Reiver - Archaic One who reaves - One who reaves or robs; a plundering forager; a robber.

Lucius Priest, an eleven-year-old boy growing up in Faulkner’s Jefferson Mississippi, county seat of Yoknapatawpha County (Faulkner’s fictional setting of many of his best known works and based upon Oxford Mississippi) finds himself caught up in a surreptitious trip to Memphis along with the roguish Boon Hogganbeck and the quietly heroic Ned McCaslin. The three have “borrowed” Lucius’ grandfather’s automobile for the trip, one of only a dozen or so plying the dirt lanes for the eighty-mile adventure.

Once in Memphis they get into trouble in a whorehouse and end up involved in a horse race trying to win back the car.

Faulkner’s recitation, from an older Lucius decades later, reminded me of the playful narration of the 1983 film A Christmas Story, which was based upon a Jean Shepherd book from 1966. This made me think that the later story and film had been influenced by Faulkner’s tale. The older Lucius’ asides and subtle explanations of the earlier time made this even more enjoyable.

Faulkner explores themes of family, sexism and racism. There was also an underlying conflict, especially for the young Lucius about virtue and doing the right thing and expectations as to behaviors that are expected of him.

As in The Sound and The Fury, the most interesting and affable character is African-American – this time in the person of Ned McCaslin. (Interestingly, in the 1969 Mark Rydell film starring Steve McQueen, Rupert Crosse, the actor who portrayed Ned, was nominated for the Academy Award for his performance). Faulkner casts the racism found in Memphis to be harsher than that in Jefferson and Lucius reflects that he had been raised never to refer to anyone by their race or religion. We see the characters from Jefferson treat each other with greater respect regardless of race than in Memphis. In several scenes, Lucius feels more kindred with the African-American folks than he does the characters from the larger city and he has a special relationship with Ned.

Also akin to The Sound and The Fury, Faulkner has created an archetypal villain – this time in the person of Butch, a law enforcement officer from Tennessee who abuses his office and demonstrates racism and sexism in all his actions.

A standout in Faulkner’s storied canon.

Profile Image for Maziyar Yf.
493 reviews240 followers
December 31, 2022
حرامیان داستان شاد و سرخوشانه ای ایست از ویلیام فاکنر ، نویسنده سرشناس آمریکایی . نویسنده روایتگر زندگی مردمان شهر خیالی يوكناپاتافا در اوایل قرن بیستم شده . زمانی که نخستین اتومبیل ها به شهرها و روستاها وارد شده و با خود نسیم تغییر در روابط ، زندگی ، کشاورزی ، بانکداری و در یک کلام سرمایه داری را همراه آورده اند .
راوی داستان و یا قهرمان کتاب او لوسیوس ، یک نوجوان یازده ساله سفید پوست از خانواده ای ثروتمند در می سی سی پی ایست که سخت به رنگ پوست و نژاد حساس است . او در جریان سفری حماسی از خانه خارج شده و نه تنها با شهری دیگر و مردمانی دیگر آشنا می شود ، بلکه با رفتار ی که در صداقت معصومانه او ریشه دارد هم زندگی آن زن جوان در نجیب خانه را دگرگون می کند و هم زندگی بون را .
فاکنر، یوکناپاتافا و آدمهای نجیب
انسانهای یوکناپاتافا ، افرادی مودب و با شخصیت و کاراکتر اشرافی هستند ، نمونه آشکار آن خود لوسیوس است که سلام همراه با احترام او برای افراد دیگر آن قدر عجیب است که آنان را به خنده وا می دارد . فاکنر خود سخت مبادی آداب است ، برای نمونه به جای واژه روسپی خانه یا فاحشه خانه از نجیب خانه استفاده کرده، لوسیوس هم آن قدر به اخلاق پایبند است که نمی تواند کسی را در آن خانه و هنگام رابطه تصور کند . واکنش صادقانه و نجیبانه اوست که حرفه و زندگی اورب ، زن جوان را تغییر و البته بساط عیش ونوش بون هاگنبگ را بر هم می زند .
فاکنر با مهارت فضای زندگی در یک خانواده اشرافی و اهمیت حیوان خانگی ، اسب را ترسیم کرده . بخشی از کتاب را شاید بتوان ادای احترام نویسنده به این حیوان نجبیب که بخش زیادی از بار پیشرفت انسان در قرون گذشته به دوش آن بوده دانست . حیوانی که با آمدن اتومبیل گرچه بسیار ابتدایی در حال از دست دادن نقش یگانه خود است . زندگی دریوکناپاتافا خیالی هم که باشد صحنه جدال سنت و مدرنیته ، اسب و اتومبیل ، اشراف و عوام ، شهر و روستا ، وخیر و شر و تقابل دنیا نو با جهان کهنه است .
فاکنر در حرامیان گرچه فریاد بلندی در نفی نژاد پرستی سر نداده اما در کتاب او می توان زندگی سیاهان و طرز برخورد با آنان را دید . نمونه آشکار آن شخصیت بسیار کلیدی ند است که کل نقشه های شگفت آور مسابقه کار ذهن سخت خلاق اوست اما شرایط زندگی او تفاوت چندانی با اسب و اصطبل آن ندارد .
احساسی را که در درازای سفر به لوسیوس دست می دهد را تنها می توان شرمندگی دانست ، او از دیدن وضع زندگی عمو پارشام ،از اینکه اورب قربانی بی پناه و شرمنده یک اصل اخلاقی ایست ، از اینکه هر کس قربانی ناتوان و بدبخت زندگی می شود شرمنده و از زندگی و دنیا که تا دنیاست و نسل بشر منقرض نشده در بر همین پاشنه می چرخد متنفر می شود .
در پایان و با بازگشت لوسیوس به خانه و روبروشدن او با پدربزرگ یا رئیس خانواده ، او مهمترین درس سفرش را می گیرد ، این که اعمال انسان هیچگاه فراموش نمی شوند و تا آدمی زنده است هرگز از شر آنها رها نخواهد شد . اما باید آن ها را تحمل کرد ، با هر چیزی رودررو شد ، مسئولیت اعمال را پذیرفت و عواقب آنرا باید پذیرفت . درسی که شاید ارزش از دست دادن کودکی و معصومیت آنرا داشته باشد .
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,495 reviews962 followers
November 28, 2022
"Sometimes you have to say goodbye to the things you know and hello to the things you don't!"

I confess I knew what to expect before starting the book and was really looking forward to reading the text the 1969 movie was based on. The quote above is from this Steve McQueen movie, one of my all-time favorites despite McQueen's apparent disappointment in his role.

The book surpassed my expectations. I have read Faulkner before, but never was I moved to laugh out loud like here. A grandfather recounts to his nephew the adventure of a lifetime, experienced at the tender age of 11, in the year 1905. The text exudes a golden glow of the age of innocence, of a generation that has yet to experience the horrors of the Somme or the degradation of the Great Crash, living in an almost mythical Yoknapatawna County where everybody knew everybody and was related in a tangled web of cousins and uncles.
In this Arcadian paradise enters the modern age in the shape of an Automobile, the very first (or more accurately second or third) machine to grace the streets of Jefferson, Mississippi. And a young boys life will never be the same again.

This is a lush novel that refuses to be rushed. I can picture myself in a rocking chair on a deep verandah with a chilled glass of mint julep by my side, chuckling affectionately as I re-read for the third time the same paragraph about why cats, mules and rats are more intelligent than horses.

The lessons to be learned are not always wine and roses. Pain and tears mark the loss of innocence, and the Belle Epoque nostalgia reveals also the cruel streaks of intolerance, envy and racial abuse. Yet there is hope, as Faulkner probably intended to stress, in the respect for a traditional set of values.

The novel is the last published by the author and it won a Pulitzer prize. I think it and the movie deserve more attention and I recommend them without reserves.

[edit for spelling]
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,079 reviews712 followers
August 24, 2021
This is a tale of the Old South that is intended to be quaint and funny. However, it also contains enough reality of life from the early twentieth century to include segregation of the races, illegal gambling, prostitution, and car theft. Therefore, it's like a lot of funny stories—its funny as a story about adventures from the past, but in real life it has a dark side.

The story is told in the voice of an old man in the early 1960s telling his grandson about adventures he experienced as an eleven year old boy during the first decade of the twentieth century. The plot basically is about how he and two adult men—one black the other white—"borrowed" his father's automobile without permission and drove from rural north Mississippi to Memphis, TN, visited a bordello, traded the car for a horse, and raced the horse with wagered money in an attempt to repossess the car.

The details are more complicated than the above plot summary, and indeed it's a madcap adventure with unpredictable turns as the story progresses. But it involves rouge law enforcement, fist fights at the slightest insult, an eleven year old boy learning about the workings of a house of prostitution, and telling of lies so the parents won't know they're gone and where they are. These are all exciting things when there's a happy ending, but it's not something I would suggest for others to emulating in real life.

This book, published in 1962, is the last novel by the American author William Faulkner. The bestselling novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1963. The book has the tone of an older skilled story teller spinning tall tales from his past, which is exactly what William Faulkner was. An example excerpt follows. It doesn't have much to do with the story's plot, but is an example of getting sidelined while telling a story.

In the following excerpt the story's narrator is comparing the intelligence of the rat, cat, dog, mule and horse:
A mule which will gallop for a half-mile in the single direction elected by its rider even one time, becomes a neighborhood legend; one that will do it consistently time after time is an incredible phenomenon. Because, unlike a horse, a mule is far too intelligent to break its heart for glory running around the rim of a mile-long saucer. In fact, I rate mules second only to rats in intelligence, the mule followed in order by cats, dogs, and horses last—assuming of course that you accept my definition of intelligence: which is the ability to cope with environment: which means to accept environment yet still retain at least something of personal liberty.

The rat of course I rate first. He lives in your house without helping you to buy it or build it or repair it or keep the taxes paid; he eats what you eat without helping you raise it or buy it or even haul it into the house; you cannot get rid of him; were he not a cannibal, he would long since have inherited the earth. The cat is third, with some of the same qualities but a weaker, punier creature; he neither toils nor spins, he is a parasite on you but he does not love you; he would die, cease to exist, vanish from the earth (l mean, in his so-called domestic form) but so far he has not had to. (There is the fable, Chinese I think, literary I am sure: of a period on earth when the dominant creatures were cats: who after ages of trying to cope with the anguishes of mortality—famine, plague, war, injustice, folly, greed—in a word, civilized government—convened a congress of the wisest cat philosophers to see if anything could be done: who after long deliberation agreed that the dilemma, the problems themselves were insoluble and the only practical solution was to give it up, relinquish, abdicate, by selecting from among the lesser creatures a species, race optimistic enough to believe that the mortal predicament could be solved and ignorant enough never to learn better. Which is why the cat lives with you, is completely dependent on you for food and shelter but Iifts no paw for you and loves you not; in a word, why your cat looks at you the way it does).

The dog I rate fourth. He is courageous, faithful, monogamous in his devotion; he is your parasite too: his failure (as compared to the cat) is that he will work for you—I mean, willingly, gladly, ape any trick, no matter how silly, just to please you, for a pat on the head; as sound and first-rate a parasite as any, his failure is that he is a sycophant, believing that he has to show gratitude also; he will debase and violate his own dignity for your amusement; he fawns in return for a kick, he will give his life for you in battle and grieve himself to starvation over your bones. The horse I rate last. A creature capable of but one idea at a time, his strongest quality is timidity and fear. He can be tricked and cajoled by a child into breaking his limbs or his heart too in running too far too fast or jumping things too wide or hard or high; he will eat himself to death if not guarded like a baby; if he had only one gram of the intelligence of the most backward rat, he would be the rider.

The mule I rate second. But second only because you can make him work for you. But that too only within his own rigid self-set regulations. He will not permit himself to eat too much. He will draw a wagon or a plow, but he will not run a race. He will not try to jump anything he does not indubitably know beforehand he can jump; he will not enter any place unless he knows of his own knowledge what is on the other side; he will work for you patiently for ten years for the chance to kick you once. In a word, free of the obligations of ancestry and the responsibilities of posterity, he has conquered not only life but death too and hence is immortal; were he to vanish from the earth today, the same chanceful biological combination which produced him yesterday would produce him a thousand years hence, unaltered, unchanged, incorrigible still within the limitations which he himself had proved and tested; still free, still coping,
Profile Image for Sepehr.
112 reviews79 followers
February 4, 2022
پایانِ خوبِ عمو ویلی :

حرامیان آخرین و خوش‌پایان ترین کتاب فاکنر ( منظور همون هپی اندینگ )، و ساده‌ترین کتابی بود که از فاکنر خوندم. روایت پر کشش و با همان مضمون‌های همیشگی فاکنر، منتها با روایتی خطی و متکی به ماجرا. طی هم‌خوانی انقدر درباره‌ش حرف زدیم که من یکی واقعا خالی شدم و نمیتونم ریوویو بنویسم. اینم یه تجربه شد که بعد این قبل از جمع‌بندی نهاییمون، ریوویوی خودم رو بنویسم :)

از هم‌خوان‌های خوبم، آرمان، رویا و سعید ممنونم که پایه‌ی خوندن این کتاب بودن و واقعا حال داد.

بهمن هزار و چهارصد
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,545 followers
January 28, 2022
More of a memoir than a real Faulkner book, Reivers takes us with our protagonist/narrator Lucius on a Huck Finn-inspired jaunt from Jefferson to Memphis with a stolen horse and a parcel of prostitutes. It was clearly not on par with the truly exceptional works of Faulkner, but as the master had just passed away after winning a Nobel Prize, I feel that the Pulitzer committee gave it to him more out of guilt for passing over, say, The Sound and the Fury in 1929, than for the quality of this particular last gasp. What is regrettable, is that there was another book that was far more deserving that went unrewarded: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
As for Faulkner canon, this closes one or two Yoknapatawpha County loopholes, and it is humorous, but at the same time, it has a clearly sexist overtone to it and it has not aged well.
Profile Image for Sue.
1,243 reviews534 followers
January 26, 2013
Some initial thoughts---the often matter-of-fact relations between black and white in trying situations, when they (in this case men) sit together and actually talk some things out. Not equal but as co-conspirators on this earth.

Women--sacred or profane, little seen or altogether too much present. I want to read so much more and see more Faulkner women.

The young---of body (Lucius) or mind (Boon) certainly led us on a wonderful chase but without the wiles of Ned (the fool?) there would have been no real fun.

So Shakespearean!

And now on to my review!

My second Faulkner in a few months and this was really a delightful experience; not an easy read as Faulkner never really is, but full of fun, youthful (and not so youthful) escapades, wily tricksters, potential evil villains and the final test--the horse race for everything.

The story centers on a car. It's 1905 and cars are little more than a novelty. Lucius Priest's Grandfather owns one and it becomes a temptation to his employee Boon when all the adults in the family must leave town by train for a funeral. Lucius, the needed voice of reason, has difficulty fighting the lure of the road. He's tortured by his behavior but at each step, he's committed to moving further on in the plan with Boon and Ned of the "colored" McCaslins.

"I will never lie again. It's too much trouble. It's
too much like trying to prop a feather upright in a
saucer of sand. There's never any end to it. You never
get any rest. You're never finished. You never even
use up the sand so that you can quit trying." (p58

He's only 11 and over his head. Life was moving a bit too fast for him on this trip.

"...what I wanted was to be back home. I wanted my mother.
Because you should be prepared for experience, knowledge,
knowing: not bludgeoned unaware in the dark as by a
highwayman or footpad. I was just eleven, remember.There are
things, circumstances, conditions in the world which should
not be there but are, and you can't escape them and indeed,
you would not escape them even if you had the choice, since
they too are a part of Motion, of participating in life, being
alive. But they should arrive with grace, decency. I was having
to learn too much too fast, unassisted..."(p155)

And a few pages later..."I was a child no longer. Innocence and childhood were forever lost."(p175) But it's not as simple as that in this rambunctious tale of three young males on a weekend lark to Memphis. They all experience a lot, see more than they ever expected or wanted, learn about themselves and others. Each in their own way emerging knowiing himself a bit better, whether he likes it or not.

Now lest it seem this is too serious a story, I must recommend a moment that needs to be read, Ned's heirarchy of animals, rating rats, mules, horses, cats and dogs in order by their usefulness and degree of "parasitic" nature upon man. FIND A COPY OF THIS BOOK AND READ THIS. In my book, page 121. You may guess the ratings but never the description.

I know I'm rambling now, and it's difficult to summarize. This is a wonderful picaresque novel, a traveling tale, coming of age novel, loaded with wonderful and well drawn characters. It explores a long-gone time that seems more colorful than our own and also shows relations between races in an interesting way. This novel leads me to want to know more, Isn't that the best tribute to any piece of writing.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,230 followers
January 10, 2020
The automobile has come to the deep South and it causes the menfolk to lose their heads momentarily. They take a trip into the big city of Memphis, visit a whorehouse and get themselves neck deep in trouble. Somewhat ironically, because of a car, a horserace breaks out. In the midst of it all is our narrator, an 11-yer-old boy.

There were times when Faulkner's usually enjoyable molasses-slow writing style combined in an unpleasant way with repetition, creating a bit of a bore of a book. I might have given this only 3 stars, but some nostalgia slipped in and bumped it up a notch. The Reivers is a later comedy that refers back to Faulkner's earlier work in a comforting way. The names he drops are familiar to those who have read The Sound and The Fury, Absalom, Absalom! and others. By forced proxy, the shine of those brilliant books rubs off on this one.

This does not have the sort of biblical import of his most well-known works. It is much more...I almost said mundane, but let's go with accessible. Read this one for the adventure and the laughs, not the sound and the fury.
Profile Image for Bonnie G..
1,300 reviews188 followers
May 19, 2022
I figure if I am going to 3-star a Pulitzer Prize winning Faulkner novel I’ve got some ‘splainin to do.

I have a checkered history with picaresque novels. I could not finish Don Quixote but The Adventures of Augie Marsh is one of my favorite books. I loved The Goldfinch but Kim almost turned me off reading forever. It’s a tricky balancing act creating over-the-top stories that are not irritating and that line is in a different place for every reader. Perhaps the best-known American master of the picaresque novel is Mark Twain, and from the moment this book started Twain was all I could think of. If I had read this book without attribution and was asked to guess the author I would not have thought twice before naming Mr. Clemens. I have a bit of a love-hate thing going with Twain as well. I love Huck Finn, and have read it half a dozen times, including two reads with my child. I neither love nor hate Tom Sawyer (which I had 4-starred here on GR, but that is inaccurate) and I despised Pudd’nhead Wilson. Pudd’nhead is the first book I can recall hurling against the wall when it was assigned in my 1st year lit class. This book had elements of all three of those books, and in the end my heart tells me this is a weak 3-star. I would be remiss if I did not mention another book it held a VERY strong resemblance to – Amor Towles The Lincoln Highway was the Northeastern version of this Mississippi tale. My friends who did not like that book, (I actually did, though I did not adore it) you ought to steer clear of this one.

The very basic outline of the story is strong. Our band of merry reivers includes a buffoon (Boon), a resourceful black man (Ned, who was part of the same family as the white characters but this is Mississippi in the early 20th so black and white people being part of the same family meant something different from what it would now), and 11 year old Lucious Priest, (which is a fine name!) who was left in their care while his parents attend a funeral. The reivers steal a car, sell it for a horse, hang out in a brothel where they make friends aplenty, somehow get the horse to another town where they race the horse using questionable tactics, and get the car back. This is Faulkner’s last book (the Pulitzer was awarded posthumously) and it mostly reads like the ramblings of an old man. Faulkner was only 63 when he finished this book but he sounds like celebrated old crank Andy Rooney. Here we have Faulkner recalling a moment when the world began to change from horses to cars and trains. He is telling that story of change 40 years later as the country lives through another seismic shift. This is written immediately in the wake of the decision in Brown v. Board of Education and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and at a time when Kennedy was in the White House. Faulkner would have heard that MLK was championing the Second Emancipation Proclamation and would have watched peaceful marchers attacked by police in segregated Albany GA (we say Al-Binny down south btw.) Perhaps most impactful, he likely watched out his office window when riots erupted on the campus of Ole’ Miss when snarling white folks fought to block James Meredith, a black Air Force veteran, from attending classes.

I think Faulkner was a relatively good man (well, he prodigiously and publicly cheated on his wife, but I don’t judge) who knew he was wrong in opposing desegregation. I believe he publicly said something along the lines of it being a good idea that should not be forced. I expect as he was watching the racist melee out of his office window at Ole Miss he had some feelings to work through. He saw the parallel, the fear of change that to him was reminiscent of the resistance to the necessary changes wrought by the industrial/automotive age he saw as a boy. I suspect for all his “go slow” public statements about desegregation he knew that without force we would never see desegregation. I think I see what he was doing here, and it is intended to be a noble thing. But the book still didn’t work for me. The fact that this, his last novel, showed nostalgia for travel by horse is ironic in light of the fact that his death immediately after finishing the book was caused by injuries sustained after a fall from a horse. Resist change at your peril.

A couple notes: I am a Faulkner fan. I really love his books I have read from the 20s and 30’s but I don't connect with Yoknapatawpha County and I don't think his stabs at the comic novel worked. I was not crazy about this, and I stopped reading Wild Palms after perhaps 25 pages because it didn’t work for me. Also, the N-word is tossed around casually and frequently here, and the black characters are portrayed in stereotypical ways for the most part - they really know how to party and are content to live lives in the shadow of the white folks who have so much less fun than they do. Women fare no better, though he acknowledges that most all of the women's lives are made worse by men. Mostly the women we spend time with are hookers with hearts of gold and deep desires to do men’s laundry and have sex with other men to get their chosen men out of trouble. No question it is offensive, at least to me. That said, I imagine it reflects his memory of how white people thought and talked in the early 20th in Mississippi, and I expect it was not a wholly inaccurate recollection. Faulkner certainly had more information to work with than I when he made these choices.

Okay, I will shut up now. Hopefully, this is enough to let you know if you should read this one.
Profile Image for Alexander.
149 reviews38 followers
October 16, 2017
Eine humorvoll- ernste Geschichte aus den „guten alten Zeiten“ in den Südstaaten- mit einem Auto, einem Pferd und einem Goldzahn. Zeit, mal wieder Mark Twain zu lesen...
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,738 reviews1,469 followers
February 20, 2016
I am annoyed - a bad end to a bad book. I wrote a review and somehow lost it before saving it! Here follows a second try.

Wordy, confusing and boring. Those are the three adjectives I would use to describe this book. Simplistic too.

My biggest complaint is the wordiness. Was Faulkner taking part in a contest to see who could come up with the most synonyms for each word? Someone should count how many times "or" is found in this book. Faulkner begins with an oblique statement, and then it is repeated umpteen times with other words so that the meaning is hammered into the reader. This bored me and started putting me to sleep.

The plot is straightforward and simple. Faulkner uses none of his complicated literary techniques typical of his other novels. Nevertheless, I think he likes to confuse. Why does he never say something once, simply? There is a plot twist at the end that threw me.

So what is the theme of the book? It is a coming of age story, set in 1905 in Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. An adventure story spread over four days. Lucius Priest, a pampered white eleven-year-old, the story’s main character, learns the difference between the real world and the ideal world taught to him by his elders. What we are told and the way it really is. That is it in a nutshell. The four days start with the stealing of a car, followed by the crossing of a muddy creek, betting, horse races, a bordello and of course prostitutes. (Reivers means the stealers!). Yet the story is so innocent, the message so cute. Too cute. Honestly, I think the book is more appropriate for kids. It says nothing to an adult.

It draws for me a rather tame picture of the South in 1905.

The audiobook narration by John H. Mayer was easy to follow, yet I detested his intonation of Ned McCaslin's "hee-hee-hee". Ned is black. He plays a central role. The intonation made him sound stupid, and he wasn't stupid at all!

Profile Image for Paulla Ferreira Pinto.
224 reviews29 followers
March 14, 2018
Ainda não percorri toda a obra do Faulkner, nem sequer tenho seguido qualquer ordem na leitura de cada um dos seu livros. Na verdade, tenho-o feito à medida que os vou encontrando disponíveis.
Apesar disso, ou se calhar por isso mesmo, ainda não consegui vislumbrar onde está o “lesser Faulkner” de que tanto se fala por referência às suas obras mais tardias.
O que tenho vindo a constatar é que, à medida que me vou embrenhando neste universo, mais capaz me sinto de perceber as suas subtilezas, de reconhecer rapidamente as inflexões e sugestões que inicialmente me deixavam algo perplexa, por vezes mesmo um pouco à deriva; no fundo, de navegar por entre a trama e os seus actores, com o prazer de desfrutar da inigualável escrita que nos guia através dos acontecimentos, saboreando todos os pedaços de prosa, com um gosto quase orgulhoso, presunçoso até,em desbravar todas as suas nuances.
342 reviews21 followers
June 15, 2012
An imagined meeting between William Faulkner and Random House marketing executive James Inge:

James Inge: Bertie! Great to see you my man. Congratulations on finishing up your big trilogy. Boy, those Snopeses, am I right? Pull up a seat.

William Faulkner: Hello James, thanks. I want to talk with you about my next book. There's something that's been bothering me.

JI: Is it the pressure of history, the force of a host of ancestors or past decisions like vengeful furies breaking into the present and pushing hapless mortals into well worn paths of destruction?

WF: No, it's not that.

JI: Is it the tyranny of relationships that bind us like puppets who see their strings but can't understand them, playing out a hideous trope that leads inexorably to a dismal end?

WF: No, that doesn't trouble me.

JI: Is it the horror of living in and loving a society and culture whose fundamental precepts you abhor? The endless reminders that everything you admire and hold dear is somehow tied to the most small minded and base motivations? The dissolution and depravity of...

WF: No, no, I'm fine with all that. Look at this review (pulls out a newspaper and hands it across)

JI: I don't see the problem, this is pretty positive. "Intensely dramatic" is nice.

WF: Now read the next one down.

JI: "Archie's car breaks down on the way to a pep rally. Hijinks ensue."

WF: See, this is what I'm talking about. Not a lot of wasted words, no talk about how it's a gripping sociological study. That phrase "Hijinks ensue" tells you everything you need to know.

JI: I don't see where you're going here.

WF: I'm talking about my novels. I've been up all night trying to write a plausible short summary of one with that phrase. I thought I had something with "As I lay Dying": "A cuckold goes to bury his dead wife with her wildly oversexed and/or neurotic children, hijinks ensue", but it doesn't quite fit somehow.

JI: Wasn't that the one about the enslavement and destruction of a man's children in the service of his narrow-minded vanity? "Hijinks" are supposed to be lighthearted and funny.

WF: Why doesn't anyone get my jokes? I may need to work on my delivery.

JI: Billie... William... This just isn't your thing. Your books are full of murder, suicide and rape, figurative and literal. You need to get this hijinks thing out of your head and play to your strengths.

WF: No James, I've made up my mind and I'm determined. I'm going to write a novel where hijinks ensue.

JI: Let me get this straight, You're going to write a book that's not a deep consideration of the systematic subjugation of people based on race and gender, isn't steeped with the existential angst of vainly struggling against ones own nature, past and society, won't be a psychological examination of the Southern identity as a tragic curse of high ideals weighed down in bigotry and ignorance?

WF: No, no. All of that will be in there. But the focus is going to be on the hijinks.

JI: It'll never work. Everyone will hate it.

WF: It's a natural, I'll probably win a Pulitzer.


My review of the Reivers:

An 11-year-old William Faulkner surrogate and two Yoknapatawpha natives personifying social and racial divides take a stolen car to a brothel in Memphis. Hijinks ensue. Won a Pulitzer.
349 reviews57 followers
January 26, 2021
The Reivers is laugh out loud gem and the opposite of Faulkner's Sound and Fury which I am reading now which is horribly depressing. This shows what an exceptional writer Faulkner is as he runs the gamut from comedy to tragedy-sheer brilliance !!
Profile Image for محمود المحادين.
227 reviews34 followers
May 26, 2023
-إذن ماذا أقدر أن أفعل؟
-عش وأنت تحمله!
-أعيش معه؟ إلى الأبد؟ طيلة حياتي؟؟ دون أن أتخلص منه أبداً؟ لا أقدر! ألا تفهم أنني لا أقدر؟
-بلى تقدر، وستفعل ذلك، الرجل يستطيع أن يعيش مع أي شيء، يواجه أي شيء، الرجل يتقبل مسؤولية أفعاله ويتحمل ما ينتج عنها، وإن لم يكن قد اشترك هو نفسه بالتحريض عليها، بل أذعن لها فقط ولم يقل لا، مع أنه كان يعرف أن عليه ألا ينصاع لها!

وعبرنا الشارع نحو البيت، هل تعرف ماذا قلت في نفسي؟ قلت (لم يطرأ عليه شيء)، لأنه كان يجب أن يتغير، كان يجب أن يتحول بطريقة ما، ولو قليلاً، لا أعني أنه كان يجب أن يتغير من تلقاء نفسه، بل مما جئت أحمله له، مما اختبرته وعرفته في الأيام الأربعة الحافلة بالكذب والغش والإحتيال واتخاذ القرارات وعدم اتخاذها، والأفعال التي فعلتها والأشياء التي رأيتها وسمعتها والتي ما كان أبي وأمي ليسمحا لي بأن أفعلها أو أراها أو أسمعها أو أتعلمها، والأشياء التي تعلمتها ولم أكن مستعداً لها، لو أن هذه كلها لا تجد مكاناً تخزن فيه أو توضع فيه، إذا كان هذا كله لم يغير شيئاً، وظل كل شيء كما كان لم يصبح أصغر أو أكبر أو أكثر هرماً أو أحكم أو أدعى إلى الشفقة، إذن لضاع شيء ما، ألقي جانباً، صرف دون مقابل، وفي هذه الحال، إما أنه كان خطأ وما كان يجب أن أبدأ به، أو أنني أنا الذي كنت خاطئاً أو ضعيفاً، أو على الأقل لا أستحق ما حدث.


ضرب المرأة لا يؤذيها لأن المرأة لا ترد الضربة شأن الرجل، بل تستسلم لها، حتى إذا ما أدرت ظهرك تناولت فأساً أو سكين جزار، لهذا كان ضربهن لا يكسر شيئاً، كل ما هنالك أنه يترك قرب عينها علامة سوداء، أو يجرح فمها قليلاً، وهذا لا شيء بالنسبة للمرأة، لماذا؟ لأن لا شيء أحب للمرأة من أثر ضربة تلقتها من رجل يفكر فيها.

إن الإستمرار في قولك لا أصدق يمكن أن يفيد في البرهة نفسها لكن حالما تموت الكلمات والضجيج، يبقى كل شيء هناك :الغضب والحزن والحنق وكل شيء آخر دون تغير.
وتحركوا، وبقيت وحدي وشعرت بالوحدة، لم أشعر بغير الوحدة، كنت جزيرة وسط تلك الحلقة من القبعات والقمصان التي بلا ربطات عنق، وبزات العمل والوجوه التي بلا أسماء التي انصرفت عني دون كلمة نعم أو لا، أو إذهب أو ابق، ورأيتني أنا المتروك، أُترك ثانية، فعندما تكون في الحادية عشر فقط لا تكون كبيراً حتى تستحق هذا القدر من الهجر، هذا يجعلك تُطمس، تُمحى، تنحل، تتبخر تحت وطأته.

-هل وعدت أمك أيضاً بأن لا تسرق؟
-لا حاجة لمثل هذا الوعد، الإنسان لا يأخذ ما ليس له
-لكن هل كنت ستعدها لو سألتك ذلك؟
-ما كانت لتسألني، لا يأخذ الإنسان ما ليس ملكه.


لكنني لم أفعل هذا! لأنني لم أعد أستطيع، كان أوان ذلك قد فات، ربما كان ذلك ممكناً في اليوم السابق، عندما كنت لا أزال طفلاً، لكن ليس الآن، كنت قد عرفت الكثير ورأيت الكثير، ولم أعد طفلاً، لقد فقدت البراءة والطفولة إلى الأبد.

كرهت هذا الوضع كله، كرهناه جميعاً لكوننا ضحايا ضعفاء أمام الحياة، لإضطرارنا إلى البقاء أحياء، كرهت افربي لكونها ضحية عاجزة، قابلة لتلقي الأذى، وكرهت بون لأنه هو أيضاً أصبح عاجزاً وعرضة للأذى، وكرهت العم بارشم وكلوغيروس لوجودهما حيث اضطرا أن يقفا عاجزين يراقبان البيض وهم يتصرفون بتعال وتبجح، كرهتهم جميعاً مثلما كرهت اوتيس حين أخبرني عن تصرفات أفربي في اركنساس، وكرهت افربي التي عجزت أن تتمرد على كونها وسيلة مسخرة للانحطاط الإنساني كما حدثني عنه اوتيس، كرهت نفسي لأنني استمعت إلى ذلك الحديث وعرفت به وفهمته، ولم أكرهه لمجرد كونه قد حصل بالفعل، بل لأنه شيء حتمي وضروري يجب أن يحصل كي تستمر الحياة ويشارك النوع البشري فيها.

كل من يخدم الفضيلة يعمل منفرداً ودون مساعدة، لكن حين تبيع نفسك إلى اللافضيلة ستجد أن الجوار كله مليء بالمتطوعين لمساعدتك.

قصة مدهشة ورائعة ومحبوكة ببراعة وإتقان مغلف بقالب كوميدي ممتع وشيق وساحر يسرق الأذهان ويجبرها على متابعة تلاحق الأحداث الطريفة لبطل القصة صاحب ال11عام واللي بسافر مع إثنين من العبيد الزنوج اللي بشتغلوا عند جده برحلة بستغلوا من خلالها غياب الجد لمدة أربع أيام... بسرقوا السيارة اللي كانت من أوائل السيارات في المنطقة وبسافروا لمنطقة بعيدة ببحثوا فيها عن لهو وتسلية ومتعة....

كثير كنت أوقف وأسأل نفسي أنا ليش قاعد بقرأ بقصة هذول الأغبياء السذج اللي بتشاجروا لأتفه الأسباب بس ما تركوا بعض واستمروا لأنهم تورطوا بهاي الرحلة ومعهم طفل صغير مضطرين يورطوه معهم بكل أخطائهم وتصرفاتهم وهو كان ببدي ردات فعل مناسبة لبرائته وتربيته وطفولته.... لهيك كنت أصفق بعقلي للكاتب اللي أذهلني بطريقة سرده وحقق الهدف الرئيسي لكتابة الرواية وهو المتعة وفعلاً أبصم له إنه قدم قصة ممتعة ومليانة حكمة مبطنة وبتصور المشهد بدقة في عصر العبودية وبداية ظهور السيارات والتطور بنهاية القرن التاسع عشر في بعض الولايات جنوب أمريكا....

الرواية على شكل ذكريات لهذا الطفل اللي صار جد وقاعد بحكيها لحفيده وبوصفله أحداث هاي الرحلة العجيبة اللي غيرت شكل حياته وأدخلته عالم الكبار فجأة وخلته يشوف ويسمع ويخوض أشياء أكبر من عمره برفقة ند وبون اللي كان عندهم خبرة في الحياة وكان عندهم رغبة في البحث عن التسلية والمرح واللعب....

Profile Image for Kuszma.
2,197 reviews154 followers
October 24, 2019
Ezt a regényt a szerző jókedvében teremtette. Azt hiszem, ebből a műből válik nyilvánvalóvá, hogy Faulkner szerette azt a mélydélt, aminek csúfságába oly sokszor nyomta bele az orrunkat. Karosszék-regény ez a felnőtté válásról, nagypapa szájába adva, egy hosszú mese a soha-vissza-nem-térő múltról – az eltűnt idő az eszköz, ami megteremti a könyv finom nosztalgikus alaptónusát. A legkönnyebben feldolgozható Faulkner-írások egyike, talán mert nem a biblikus atmoszférához nyúl vissza, hanem Huckleberry Finn-hez: épp csak annyi balladai homály van benne, hogy elmélyítse a mese mágikus realitását. Mert ez végtére is mese, mégpedig meghökkentően szép kópémese ellopott autóról, ellopott lóról, bordélyházról – és részben pont az a meghökkentő, hogy Faulkner ezekben a dolgokban is megtalálja a szépséget. Belenyúl a sűrűjébe, gumikesztyű nélkül, kiemel valamit, és láss csodát: csillog. Mert úgy fest, Faulkner ehhez is ért. Nem úgy zseniális, mint mondjuk a Fiam, Absolom! – hanem máshogy. De éppúgy zseniális.
Profile Image for Magdalith.
329 reviews102 followers
May 14, 2019
Ostatnia, napisana przez Faulknera tuż przed śmiercią powieść (i niestety ostatnia już jaka mi pozostała do przeczytania), której akcja toczy się co prawda - jak prawie wszystkie inne jego powieści - w wymyślonej krainie Yoknapatawpha, ale jednocześnie jest jawnie autobiograficzna. Faulkner wspomina tu 11-letniego siebie i przygodę jaką przeżył, gdy wplątał się w kradzież samochodu, co pociągnęło za sobą dalece idące i niespodziewane konsekwencje.

Początek XX wieku na zapadłym amerykańskim Południu odmalowanym tak, jak to tylko Faulkner potrafi. Trochę powieść łotrzykowska, a trochę powieść drogi. Idealnie, wydawałoby się, współgrające ze sobą światy białych i czarnych. Ucieczka z domu, kradzież samochodu, przemyt konia pociągiem, wizyta w burdelu, przyjaźń z prostytutkami, bijatyka o honor damy, start w wyścigach konnych, niezmienianie skarpetek przez tydzień (!). Odkrywanie świata dorosłych, świata przemocy, oszustw, niesprawiedliwości, "Nie-Cnoty". Zarazem niezgoda na ten świat, jak i fascynacja nim. Siedem dni, które wstrząsnęły życiem chłopca. I chociaż brzmi to wszystko bardzo serio, ton powieści nie jest ciężki i nawet jeśli kilka razy jesteśmy poruszeni czy wzruszeni, to czyta się to jak najlepszą, przezabawną, soczystą przygodówkę. Wszystkie postaci są odmalowane tak, że prawie stają nam przed oczami, prawie jakbyśmy oglądali film (w doborowej obsadzie) - i tym razem jest to z mojej strony komplement ;)

Do tego przecudowne tłumaczenie Mistrzyni Anny Przedpełskiej-Trzeciakowskiej. Literatura przez duże L. Choć o wiele mniej efektowna i napisana z większą prostotą, stylistycznie uboższa, niż reszta książek Faulknera. Być może właśnie dlatego, że autobiograficzna. Nie trzeba było kombinować i eksperymentować, pamięć przemówiła sama.

Tak dobrze mi się czytało, że teraz chyba zacznę czytać cały cykl Yoknapatawpha od początku...
Profile Image for Bruce Beckham.
Author 33 books405 followers
May 27, 2020
My first few attempts at reading The Reivers felt a bit like sleepwalking the wrong way on an escalator; I kept finding myself back at the start with my Kindle lying on my face.

Almost from the word go the narrative marches off into the Land of Digression, and soon reaches Deviation, the capital city – a place where sentences may ramble across a whole page and individual phrases can contain detours.

A breakthrough arrived, however, when I risked throwing good money after bad and bought the audiobook. Suddenly I gained traction.

If I’m being honest, I found quite intriguing the opening scene – an escapade in which Boon, one of three protagonists, embarks on a fortuitously unsuccessful shooting spree whilst in the throes of a fit of pique.

A second aspect of the novel’s ‘stickiness’ is the POV – the ‘point of view’ – that of eleven-year-old Lucius – narrated by his older self. This clever technique enables the author to deliver pathos and comedy in the same breath.

And a plot begins to emerge that owes something to Jack And The Beanstalk meets Kidnapped - skilfully interwoven with a two-pronged tale of coming of age and the failings of the human condition. Very good.

Twenty-three skidoo!
Profile Image for Algernon.
256 reviews12 followers
August 17, 2008
At my high school, they introduced us to Faulkner with SANCTUARY. I never returned to him until this summer, when somewhere or other I picked up a copy of this, Faulkner's last novel, published a month before he died in 1962. The following year, it won a Pulitzer, yet it is one of his least-known works.

I am convinced this is the novel with which to introduce readers to Faulkner. It is set in the fictitious Yoknapatawpha County that is the setting of several of his novels, a landscape with a rich geneaology of characters.

For his last novel, Faulker wrote a delightful coming-of-age "reminiscence" set in 1905 - funny, wise, and wistful in tone, with some excellent characters. In particular, note the complexity of the relationships between white and black characters throughout.

The prose is distinctly Faulknerian yet more linear and accessible than some of the bigger works from which Faulkner earns his more intimidating reputation. It may not be considered one of his masterpieces, yet it is funny and touching, excellent quality, and enjoyable to read.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,677 reviews280 followers
March 17, 2016
(Note: I have been making my way through the 1962 list of My Big Fat Reading Project for too long. At the beginning of the year, I committed myself to reading at least one a week from the list. So I hope my readers here are not bored by so many old books. Some of them are still worth reading if you never have read them before.)

The Reivers was the #10 bestseller in 1962 and Faulkner's final novel. In fact, he died that year.

I wasn't too excited about reading it. I have read most of his novels over the years. Some I have loved, some I barely understood, some bored me. I felt I was done with Faulkner and went into the book with the feeling of completing an assignment. As it turned out, The Reivers was, for me, one of the best!

It is set in Faulkner's imaginary county, Yoknapatawpha. The grandfather of one of the families tells his grandson a story from 40 years ago. Many of the Yoknapatawpha characters come into the story and I realized I almost know that place as though I'd lived there because of all the novels and because of how deeply I had become invested in those people.

The time period of the grandfather's story is just a bit post WWI, when he was a lad of eleven. The automobile has made its way into the area as well as other modern developments, all viewed with suspicion. But Lucius Priest's grandfather, one of the bankers of the town, has acquired a car. He mostly keeps it locked up in his garage. Lucius's tale from his younger years turns out to be the ultimate road trip/coming of age tale, the trip being taken in that car.

Being Faulkner, it is also an account of the ambiguities of good and evil along with yet another rendition of the intricate balance between whites and blacks in the South before Civil Rights changed things.

I guess it helped that I had read all those earlier novels but I found this one the most readable of all.

Favorite quote from page 52 of the 1962 first printing (yes, my library still has a first printing edition):

"So you see what I mean about virtue? You have heard--or anyway you will--people talk about evil times or an evil generation. There are no such things. No epic of history nor generation of human beings either ever was or will be big enough to hold the un-virtue of any given moment; all they can do is hope to be as little soiled as possible during the passage through it. Because what pity that Virtue does not--possibly cannot--take care of it own as Non-virtue does."

I found this to be a sobering and truthful statement about our own times. That is how he leaves us. And so, 54 years later, I bid adieu to the great William Faulkner.
Profile Image for Dan.
44 reviews17 followers
December 22, 2016
Sometimes you want to read a book with grand theft auto, a horse race, prostitutes, sardines, a gold tooth, and a fight with a lawman, but then you think, "What will my hoity-toity friends think if I read a book like that?"

You can read this book. It's got all that stuff, and it's a Faulkner book, so your hoity-toity friends can't say anything.
Profile Image for Chris Gager.
1,961 reviews77 followers
January 11, 2021
I don't like being "stuck" reading only one book at time, so I picked this one off the shelves to go along with "Watership Down" and it's been a good pairing so far. I saw this movie when it first came out, but that was a LONG time ago. Pretty entertaining, but how do you do justice to Faulkner's prose on screen? And, Steve McQueen, while a good stone-faced actor, is not a physical match with Boon, who's 6'4" tall. Oh well, no biggie I suppose. The narration so far is pretty entertaining and the prose is MUCH easier to follow than the last Faulkner novel I read - "Absalom, Absalom!". That said, Uncle Bill hasn't exactly abandoned those long, long and windy sentences he favors. He's doing his best to re-create a realistic and digressive way of story-telling. MOST of the time I've been in-sync with it and am enjoying the recreation of time and place that Faulkner is famous for.

- This is a Pulitzer Prize winner BTW.

- This is as much a car(and horse) story as it is a people, place and time story

Moving along as the plot winds, thickens. and takes a more ominous tone with the introduction of "Boss," the stereotypical corrupt and nasty southern lawman. I assume that all will come right in the end. It's all about getting there. This book is supposed to be funny, but I haven't laughed yet ... not even a chuckle. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, it just means that Faulkner has a hard time being funny. Was this worth a Pulitzer Prize? Maybe not, but it's still better than a lot of other Pulitzer winners.

Finished this a couple of nights ago and out of exasperation/frustration have lowered my rating to 3.5*(rounds down to 3*). As I staggered and skimmed to the finish, I gave up hacking my way through the jungle-y plot, mile-long sentences dedicated to local turn-of-the-century Southland color and over-copious Faulkner-prose. Seems like the last 10 pages or so are dedicated to the back-story about the horse and the tribulations of some dude named Bobo. Whatever ... By the end the reader may or not realize that the "hero" of the tale is neither the whiny crybaby Lucious(the story-teller) or the dumbass cracker girl-hitter Boon, but the wily Ned ... a black dude. . Perhaps this was WF's way of making up for what some scholars consider to be a not-so-enlightened treatment of black folks. The New Yorker had an article about this recently. And finally, if I never have to read the made-up word "gonter" again I'll be a happy man.

- Pulitzer-wise, I'd say this was undeserving.
Profile Image for Jakub Horbów.
313 reviews130 followers
July 8, 2021
Może błędem było sięganie po późnego Faulknera bez znajomości najważniejszych dzieł z lat 30, bo "Koniokradów" nie kupuję. No dobra, może i kupuję, ale fragmentami, bo część książki jest dla mnie całkowicie niezrozumiała. Podobnie z resztą jak motywacje większości bohaterów. Najbardziej chyba zirytowała mnie pierwsza połowa książki, która przypominała bardziej fabułę niezbyt wyszukanego filmu familijnego z niedorzecznymi wyzwaniami i decyzjami, niż prozę noblisty. Później na szczęście było już tylko lepiej. Czytając mialem wrażenie, że narracja jest prowadzona w tempie wyścigu, bywałem dwie długości za liderem, by potem biec łeb w łeb, ba! nawet na złamanie karku do samej mety, która ostatecznie okazuje się wartą całego tego zachodu. No i miałem napisać raczej negatywny, maksymalnie neutralny komentarz po lekturze, a wyszło w sumie nie tak źle, więc może jednak było warto...
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