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Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Beginnings: Sanctuary by William Faulkner

 Today I am linking up to Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader where readers share the first sentence of the current book they are reading.

Sanctuary by William Faulkner (Random House, 1931) begins with these words:

"From beyond the screen of bushes which surrounded the spring, Popeye watched the man drinking. A faint path led from the road to the spring. Popeye watched the man- a tall, thin man, hatless, in worn gray flannel trousers and carrying a tweed coat over his arm- emerge from the path and kneel to drink from the spring."

Faulkner exemplifies perfect summer reading to me. From the introduction in Sanctuary, the reader can instantly sense that this is going to be a character-driven novel. We become curious about not only Popeye but the man that he is observing and where their paths are going to lead them.

About the Book (from First published in 1931, this classic psychological melodrama has been viewed as more of a social document in his tragic legend of the South than mere story. From Popeye, a moonshining racketeer with no conscience and Temple Drake, beautiful, bored and vulnerable, to Harace Benbow, a lawyer of honor and decency wishing for more in his life, and Gowan Stevens, college student with a weakness for drink, Faulkner writes of changing social values and order. A sinister cast peppered with social outcasts and perverts perform abduction, murder, and mayhem in this harsh and brutal story of sensational and motiveless evil. Students of Faulkner have found an allegorical interpretation of "Sanctuary" as a comment on the degradation of old South's social order by progressive modernism and materialistic exploitation. Popeye and his co-horts represent this hurling change that is corrupting the historic traditions of the South.

About the Author: William Cuthbert Faulkner (born Falkner, September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962), also known as Will Faulkner, was an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner worked in a variety of written media, including novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays and screenplays. He is primarily known and acclaimed for his novels and short stories, many of which are set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, a setting Faulkner created based on Lafayette County, where he spent most of his life, and Holly Springs/Marshall County. Faulkner is one of the most important writers in both American literature generally and Southern literature specifically. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949Nobel Prize in Literature. Two of his works, A Fable (1954) and his last novel The Reivers (1962), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century; also on the list were As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August (1932). Absalom, Absalom! (1936) is often included on similar lists.

Happy Reading!


  1. Beautiful prose! You are right...perfect summer reading....and thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, too; enjoy your weekend.

  2. Even though I am from the South, I have never read any of Faulkner's work. I really like the beginning of this so I may have to give it a try. Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

  3. I love the cover! When I read "Popeye", I can't help but think about the cartoon.

    My post

  4. LOVE this beginning! I haven't read this one, but ... I'm definitely putting it on my list!

  5. Rock on, Faulkner is awesome. I've heard mixed reviews about this one but that cover and the opening line have convinced me to add it to my list. :)

  6. This is a super opening, thanks for sharing it with us, and also thank you for commenting on my Book Beginnings post. :)



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