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Intruder In The Dust (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

William Faulkner
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Aug 1996 Vintage Classics
Set in the deep south that provided the backdrop for all of Faulkner's finest fiction, Intruder in the Dust is the novel that marks the final phase of its author's outstanding creative period. The chronicle of an elderly black farmer arrested for the murder of a white man and under threat from the lynch mob is a characteristically Faulknerian tale of dark omen, its sole ray of hope the character of the young white boy who repays an old favour by proving the innocence of the man who saved him from drowning in an icy creek.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (8 Aug 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099740311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099740315
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 480,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"He has written a novel which in form is a thriller - and a very good thriller too - but this is without detracting from its profundity" (New Statesman)

"A very good novel indeed" (John Betjeman)

"Faulkner has inexhaustible invention, powerful imagination, and he writes, generally, like an angel" (Arnold Bennett)

Book Description

An elderly black farmer accused of murdering a white man is threatened by the lynch mob in this powerful novel by the legendary William Faulkner.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to get on with 23 Nov 2011
William Faulkner seems to be one of those writers that you can either get on with or you can't. Unfortunately in my case I fall into the category of 'can't'. This is the second Faulkner book I have begun and abandoned halfway through, the other being The Sound and the Fury.

Intruder in the Dust was an excellent idea for a book; a black man living in the Southern US is wrongfully accused of murdering a local white man. A white boy, who owes the accused his life, sets out to prove his innocence. Sounds pretty exciting doesn't it? It isn't.

Another reviewer described this book as a 'thriller' I couldn't disagree more, thrillers are supposed to be exciting aren't they? I managed to reach page 140 before giving up and nothing much happened in those pages, at least that I could understand.

Faulkner has a unique style of writing which is truly his own. I thought Hemingway was challenging to read until I picked up this book. To begin with Faulkner had something against punctuation, this much is painfully obvious. Apparently he had a particularly seething hated for commas as is evident when you can read entire paragraphs and not see a single one. It must be a nightmare to read out loud. The book was difficult to read for other reasons too; the storyline is clouded, characters are not fleshed out, dialogue between characters is confusing and often pretty meaningless. The story itself plods along at a pace that I can only describe as agonisingly slow.

It is not all bad though, it is as plain as day that the South has a history worthy of shame for the way they treated black people and the ugliness of segregation and hatred is evident on practically every page which makes it an ugly, heavy book to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
... the "owner" of which was a man who said "mister" to whites, but did not really mean it. The meal was served to 12 year old Charles Mallison, after he had fallen in an icy pond, and the server, who didn't mean mister, was Lucas Beauchamp. Four years later the "bill" for those collard greens would come due, and it would be Mallison's actions that would save Beauchamp's life. "Intruder in the Dust" is one of Faulkner's later works, written just after World War II. The perennial themes of his works are exhibited: his examination of life in barely fictional Yoknapatawpha County, whose county seat is Jefferson, (Oxford, MS) and the continued fall-out from America's "original sin," slavery. From Faulkner's majestically southern mansion of Rowan Oaks, he wrote in fear of the "white trash" that surrounded him, so often identified as the Snopes family, but in this novel they are transformed into the Gowries, from "Beat Four." Faulkner's stream-of-consciousness style always challenges the reader to stay engaged, or a vital clue to the story will be missed. And like those slower internet connections, he "backs and fills" his pixels, slowly revealing the entire story. This is also an excellent "mystery" novel; the particular situations involving the grave seem "impossible," but Faulkner makes it all so understandable, masterfully so, in the fullness of time. Faulkner is certainly not for the "fun read" crowd, nor, apparently, based on the reviews posted here, for sophomores in "Advanced Placement" English. I shutter at the thought of how many students have become confirmed non-readers of serious books for the rest of their lives as a result of such classes.

I am an immense fan of Faulkner, and still hope to read or re-read all his works.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as effective as it could have been 10 Oct 2008
This novel is, in form, a thriller with a classic thriller plot- the fight to prove the innocence of a man accused of a crime he did not commit. (Alfred Hitchcock used this plot in a number of his films, and "Intruder in the Dust" was itself made into a very good film by Clarence Brown in 1949, only a year after its publication). Faulkner takes this basic plot and uses it to explore the problem of racism in America's Deep South; Harper Lee was later to take a similar plot, and use it for a similar purpose, in "To Kill a Mockingbird".

The book is set in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County and its capital, Jefferson, based upon the real Lafayette County and Faulkner's own home town of Oxford. The innocent man wrongly accused is Lucas Beauchamp, an elderly, widowed black farmer. Although Beauchamp is honest and respectable, he is resented by many whites because he refuses to "behave like a nigger", that is to say behave in a servile manner. When a white man named Vinson Gowrie is shot dead, Beauchamp is accused of the crime. Gowrie was from Beat Four, a wild, hilly district of the county, whose white inhabitants are noted for their lawless ways and their ingrained prejudices against blacks. A mob, mostly members of Gowrie's extended family, gathers in Jefferson, threatening to break into the jail and lynch Beauchamp.

The story is told through the eyes of Charles Mallison, the sixteen-year-old nephew of Gavin Stevens, the relatively liberal white lawyer who acts for Beauchamp. Charles, who regards himself as being in Beauchamp's debt ever since, four years earlier, the old man rescued him after he fell in a stream, sets out to prove that Beauchamp did not fire the fatal shot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars You Don't See Me For Dust
The problem here, as another critic on the page has noted, is that the strained, cod-poetic, stream-of-consciousness style is inappropriate to the knockabout comedy-thriller capers... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Mike Collins
3.0 out of 5 stars one of Faulkner's lesser works
Written over a three-month period, this novel proved to be a successful one for Faulkner due to the sale of the film rights. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dr Do Little
5.0 out of 5 stars Book!
I bought this for my girlfriend. She bloody loved it! I'm more into car chases and shurikens and stuff where its all like wrrrrrrriiirrrr shhhhhhoooooooo grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Published 6 months ago by MR R C E BAGSHAW
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but did not agree with all of Faulkners views in this
The main story in this novel involves a black man called Lucas Beauchamp who is wrongly accused of the murder of a white man. Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2011 by J. Willis
3.0 out of 5 stars too much of a good thing
Faulkner is a great writer, and a unique one to describe the inner flow of thought and conscience.
Faulkner probably planned this novel to express his view on slavery and... Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2009 by RAMON
5.0 out of 5 stars Faulkner had it wrong but with perfect accuracy
We are in the South, in a rural city and area. A crime is committed, a white man is shot dead and an old black man is arrested for it on Saturday night, red-handed, because he was... Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2007 by Jacques COULARDEAU
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