INTRUDER IN THE DUST by William Faulkner

INTRUDER IN THE DUST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

After a silence of eight years, Faulkner's new novel is sure of critical attention and wide interest, not only from the sheerly literary aspect but as an indication of Southern feeling on the controversial subject of the Negro. For the story here hinges on a 16 year old boy's active participation in preventing a Negro, Lucas Beauchamp, from being lynched for the murder of a white man and in being receptive to the impact of change in his inherited misjudgment of the black and white question. Charles, hating his debt to Lucas, who had once saved his life, is the only one who will listen to Lucas' hints as to his innocence, is driven to dig up the dead man to find proof of it. Aided by Aleck Sander, his colored companion, and Miss Habersham, a determined, incorruptible spinster, they accomplish their task and find, not Vinson Gowrie, Lucas' supposed victim, but a timber buyer casually known in the county. When they return, with the Sheriff, the body is gone, and Vinson's family, respected for the terror they have created, help locate that body as well as Vinson's, and the murderer as well, thereby clearing Lucas... That is the plot powered theme, that "injustice is ours, the South's. We must expiate and abolish it ourselves, alone and without help, not even advice."... "human life is valuable simply because it has a right to keep on breathing."... which, in showing how homogeneity in the South, and the Southern tradition of men of good will, is argued and expanded exhaustively, in a flow of concentrated prose. Faulkner's Mississippi and its inhabitants seem to have exchanged some of their nightmare quality for a quality of mercy, Southern style.
Pub Date: June 15th, 1948
ISBN: 0679736514
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1948




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