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Publisher's Summary

Intruder in the Dust is at once an engrossing murder mystery and an unflinching portrait of racial injustice. Set in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County, it is the story of Lucas Beauchamp, a black man wrongly arrested for the murder of Vinson Gowrie, a white man. Confronted by the threat of lynching, Lucas sets out to prove his innocence, aided by a white lawyer, Gavin Stephens, and his young nephew, Chick Mallison.
©1948 Random House, Inc.; 1975 Jill Faulker Summers (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Doug
  • 14-05-2009

Excellent characterization, fine suspense

Faulkner's style is not easy, so anyone who reads him or listens to him should expect to work a bit. However, there are major rewards for the effort.

The central character in this story, a proud mixed-race man who is charged with murder and assumed to be guilty because he is Afro-american in the South many years ago, is one of the most satisfyingly depicted black male characters in all of American literature. Faulkner's expertise in drawing this man, Lucas Beauchamp, and in depicting his dialect, his speech patterns, is beyond reproach. As you listen, you will see this man in your imagination as clearly as you see yourself in a mirror.

The plot is that of a mystery being solved. Lucas sits patiently in jail as the white roughnecks in the community plot to take him out and lynch him....Lucas is patient and confident because he knows he did not murder the dead white man, and he knows a way to prove it, and he manages to set in motion certain actions that will bring the truth to light...if the actions can be completed (by two boys, one white, one black) before the lynch mob gets Lucas out of jail for the rope and gasoline party they have in mind.

You will wonder after enjoying this fine story if the author of To Kill a Mockingbird was inspired by the tale. Intruder preceded Mockingbird by several years, and the themes and story line and characters are closer to each other than I would be comfortable with had I written Mockingbird.

Intruder is one of Faulkner's most accessible books. You will not be disappointed.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Doug
  • 22-03-2008

A true classic

This is one of my favorite books, although many do not consider it one of Faulkner's best. Faulkner was gifted with the ability to write memorable quotes of dialogue, and there are some gems here. Reading Faulkner always requires concentration, but it's worth the effort. In this story he takes a very simple plot, occurring over a very short time frame, and creates a fascinating work by exploring what the characters think about themselves and their community. One note of caution: the book is full of a few words that have become racial hot buttons. The story is set in the South in the 1950's. These words don't bother me - I'm not afraid of words, and they are true to the setting of the story - but it's something a reader who is unfamiliar with Faulkner should be aware of.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • William T. Greene Jr.
  • 13-03-2016

The Brilliance of William Faulkner

Few authors have the dexterity and precisenessness of human speech and emotions as Faulkner. His commentary and observation of the nuance of racial encounters in America is unsurpassed.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Geoffrey
  • 24-01-2008

meh

The story is alright, some reasonably interesting twists although the author can be a bit repetitive at times. The narrator seems to build up almost every sentence with volume and excitement to some sort of climax that really never comes. I comes off as preachy, I found my self tuning out uncle Gavin's long speeches.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Family of Six
  • 27-04-2020

Faulkner’s Style requires some Flexibility from the Reader, but a good book

Well, I guess the title says it all. Faulkner has a tendency to spend paragraphs explaining something like Saturday morning chaos, but the plot line of the book and the mystery aspect made this an interesting read. It takes some patience to get through all the descriptions, but it’s worth it (I think, at least) in end. The characters have some wit and human elements as well, which makes it more interesting.

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  • Jessica Burstrem
  • 11-02-2020

Fiction can sometimes tell the truth best

Intruder in the Dust is To Kill a Mockingbird before To Kill a Mockingbird. It's mystery and coming-of-age tale rolled into one. It's like the song "Sweet Home Alabama" as a response to the song "Southern Man." It rightfully places the responsibility for righting the wrongs of slavery on Southern Whites and represents their perspective so that I understand it better now than ever before. As with any other community, solutions need to come from within the community, not from outsiders. It also acknowledges the problems with that perspective, not least of which is that some who should be full members of that community are still treated as outsiders. Who is "our own," it asks? Is it determined by blood, region, color, country? And in the book one sees an equally complicated picture of Chick, a good young man who is also a little racist, who does good things that are almost always the right things despite his racist attitudes. Let's be honest, this should be the goal of every well-intentioned White person. We can't actually claim that we have no racist ideas, but we can resist them and certainly act against them and never stop. And of course, there are the moments of staggering insight here too -- perhaps what I love the most in good fiction. I will not soon forget this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gypsy
  • 09-07-2019

Ethics!

A story of concience and stubbornness. More on the ethics of right and wrong. Stupifying!!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Beatriz M. P. Machado
  • 21-07-2018

Masterpiece

Wonderfully written, beautifully read. My first Faulkner, I don’t understand why it took me so long to come in contact with such a stupendous art work. To be savored, like the best and rarest of wines.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. X
  • 28-02-2018

Great book, maybe too great for listening

The narrator is really good, perfect for Faulkner and his characters. No question but that the book is great literature. The story is very thrilling at times, but other times, when it gets conceptual and nonlinear, I would have been better off reading, and rereading, it at my own speed. I found myself just hearing words go by sometimes. But if you have the time and the patience to keep going back, it’s worth it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Marley
  • 01-03-2017

I really don't like Faulkner, keep tht in mind

What did you like best about Intruder in the Dust? What did you like least?

Best-
action scenes= best. It's like being in the center of a thunderstorm- there's so much going on at once but you feel so totally alive at that moment even though it should be horrifying
Worst-
Literally everything else. This guy writes 5-page long sentences that are confusing af. don't expect to read this book in one sitting

Would you be willing to try another book from William Faulkner? Why or why not?

absolutely not. reasons listed above

What three words best describe Scott Brick’s voice?

white southern male

Could you see Intruder in the Dust being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

yep. Woody Allen would be the racist uncle, Shaq O'Neil could be Lucas. The boy could be played by anyone really. The lady who played Proff. McGonegal in the Harry Potter series would make a great Mrs. Habersham

Any additional comments?

This is probably a really good book if you like Faulkner's style of writing

1 person found this helpful

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