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Sanctuary [Unknown Binding]

William Faulkner
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Quality Paperback Book Club (1994)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006R3E8M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Sanctuary - William Faulkner 19 April 2014
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
I really didn't know whether to give this book four or three stars. Not that it matters. But anyhow...

Faulkner's writing is gorgeous, and I love his conveyance of the South (this is the first Faulkner I've read). Also stunning is how relentless dark and negative this book is (if you can stomach it). There is no goodness here, and that that is (Horace Benbow) is ineffective and undermined on all sides.

However I wasn't so taken with the elusive nature of the narrative, with critical events only thinly alluded to. Not my cup of tea. Nor my cup of tea is that I found some of the actions (and inactions) of some of the characters (Temple, Gowan) completely unbelievable. That spoiled it a bit really, as whilst the story is told in beautiful language, the plot is not remotely convincing.

However, I'll read more Faulkner without doubt. I think his writing probably suits a less plot-driven narrative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Low-lifers, at every social level... 13 May 2013
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
I've been reading, or re-reading numerous of Faulkner's works, all in the hopes of someday attending the annual Faulkner love-fest, which takes place in Oxford, MS, each July. Since I am still rolling a large stone uphill, a la Sisyphus, it seems that it will again elude me this year. (And I've received assurances that it is not just "de-constructionist academics" honing and displaying their latest scrap of arcane knowledge that attend such events - there are numerous plain old simple folks... who've had some other sort of "day job," with "rough-hewed, labor-worn hands," but have been mesmerized by the master of Yoknapatawpha County's ability to render deep insights into the human condition.) In this case, "Sanctuary" is a re-read, of some 40 years ago.

Warning Label: It is not for the "fun-read" crowd. And if you're looking for inspiring characters, there might be all of which you can count on one finger of your hand. The story is set during the days of Prohibition, and much of the action centers around the "moonshiners," and their interactions with the "higher" social classes who seek out the solace that is purportedly provided by their principal product.

"Put a Mississippian in alcohol, and you have a gentleman," as Faulkner sardonically observes, and, I suppose, he did know a thing or two on the subject. Gowan Stephens, "educated" at Virginia, and Oxford (not to be confused with the locale of Ole Miss) in the proper methods of drinking, demonstrates, in the company of the ever-flighty Ole Miss co-ed, Temple Drake, that he has not only learned nothing, but is far lower, in terms of ethics, than even the moonshiners who lead a very hard-scrabble, difficult existence.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 20 July 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sanctuary was written by William Faulkner in 1931, purely for money, according to Faulkner himself. It came in the wake of the commercial failure of The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, and was markedly more popular, though much criticised for violence and immorality.
Sanctuary, unlike its predecessors, has a linear narrative which is easy to follow, for the most part. The plot is set in motion when rich kids Gowan Stevens and Temple Drake crash their car and seek help in a bootlegger's house, where they are given accomodation for the night.
This house is inhabited not only by the bootlegger Goodwin and his wife but also by various acquaintances of his including the shadowy and threatening Popeye. The scenario at this point is somewhat reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre or other such movies. There is an atmosphere of simmering violence but the actual violence is never openly described.
Following the commission of a crime at the bootlegger's house, the focus widens to include local lawyer Horace Benbow, a mild and decent everyman who becomes involved in the case because he believes that the wrong man has been arrested( and the reader knows that he is correct in this) and possibly also because he has feelings for the defendant's wife. The action later moves to a brothel(the "sanctuary" of the title?) where members of the Snopes family, recurring characters in Faulkner, appear, and serve primarily as comic relief.
Overall this is a somewhat lurid and sensationalist tale, by 1930's standards, at least. The violence is not accompanied by any moral judgement by the author. As with most of Faulkner's books, he gives no clue as to where his sympathies lie; this is one of his great strengths, imo.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab 31 Dec 2013
By nooban
I came to it after reading 'As I lay dying' so the normal narrative was welcome. Characters are familiar and admirable, vile, non entities depending on how the plot unravels them. The prosaic phrases are beyond my abilities to describe. The description of Temple listening to the sounds and room around her will always stick out in my reading life. I've still got 'The sound and the fury' to read - hahahahahahahahahahahahaha, and he only wrote 'Sanctuary' for money !

If you haven't bought it, buy it, it is amazing............ (and really interesting for someone like me who started with Morrison, McCarthy etc. and then ended up with Faulkner).
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