William Faulkner – The Reivers

210825I just recently went back over some of my past posts, and I feel like it is a long time coming to finally post again. I thought about just posting an update of the happenings in my life that would have led to such a long break in activity. That post would take too long, and I cannot wait to be done with this project to chronicle what has happened from start to finish in the time it will have taken us to finish. I look forward to the next two weeks as they will be a considerably needed break from study where I intend to read a lot of things not theological.

So, in my consideration of posting an update – what I would say and how long it would take me to say – I thought I would just finish one of the Pulitzer’s this weekend and suffice that as entry enough. So I took up again Faulkner’s 1963 winner The Reivers which at some point in the last few months I had started with the hope that I might be able to slowly read some fiction while completely my studies. That idea did not prove entirely fruitless as I did finish this book in something like 4 months, and also I had one that I was within striking distance of finishing when the time presented itself. So I had 60 or so pages left to read when this weekend opportunity came and I chose to push ahead with it.

I have to say that I am glad it was this book as it was easy to remember the details of the story over such a long period of time because it is such a simple book. I got to thinking this week over the past 54 books I have finished, and realized just how much or how little of certain works I remember. This book stands out to me because the story is straightforward and enjoyable to read. Faulkner does not let you down in this work though in putting certain aspects of society on display for all to cringe at (prostitution, gambling, and general maleficence), but it is unusually a light story. One interesting intersection with this novel and real life is that one of this book’s central concerns is the issue of racism and the tensions this creates. Recently in my Christian Theology 2 class, we covered the issue of race and the church. I had the opinion that Faulkner was a racist, though I am not certain where this idea originated but I do not believe it to be my own. With this in mind, Ned, an African American servant to the Boss, is the smartest character in the book and all of the whites behave rather foolishly throughout. The two most noble characters it seems to me are Ned and Ms. Reba, the madam of a brothel in Memphis.

In this text, Faulkner steps outside of his masterpiece universe of Yoknapatawpha County to the collision of worlds such as Jefferson, MS, Memphis, TN, and Parsham, KY. The ordeals that ensued were at times hilarious and frustrating. Faulkner also departs from his terse and unforgiving prose in this little book as it is jaunty, fun, and mostly upbeat. I really appreciated this text right up until the end when Faulkner is unable to withstand the tone of his work when I think he goes back on it to give an overtly satisfying ending. I know that seems like a strange thing to say, but as I read along I just waited for some soul crushing affair to destroy this works almost at times lighthearted momentum. When I got to the end, and everything seems to be positive I was not a little surprised. I am glad I read this book now, and look forward to this next break and a wide open summer of fiction inundation.


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