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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sanctuary by William Faulkner

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.

"The house was a gutted ruin rising gaunt and stark out of a grove of unpruned cedar trees." Page 4

My Thoughts: Sanctuary by William Faulkner (Random House 1931) is described as Faulkner's breakout novel and its scandalous themes and seedy characters provide the reader with a quick moving plot that continues to surprise. Told as two storylines merging into one, Sanctuary introduces us to a slew of characters struggling to find their way in a changing culture and landscape of the South in the 30's.
     Temple Drake is a young, attractive socialite who finds herself in unfamiliar territory when a date with a "gentleman" goes sordidly wrong. Horace Benbow is an attorney searching hopelessly for purpose in his life. Together, these two characters direct the flow of the flow of the story although their interaction is brief and of little consequence to the outcome.
     Faulkner's writing is eloquent even when describing horrific events that alter Temple's future and wide variety of themes are tackled among the outcasts that pepper this story, including rape, murder, alcoholism, race, and society in a regressed environment. Faulkner addresses each with the ease of an author writing about what is familiar to him. For those who have never read Faulkner previously, Sanctuary is a great novel to start you on the path of discovering this classic American writer.

Have you read Sanctuary or other Faulkner novels? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Reading,


  1. I haven't read this one but I totally would. Look at that cover! It's fantastic :) And scandalous?? Sign me up!

    1. I would definitely recommend this one for a first foray into Faulkner. Thanks for visiting!
      Happy Reading,



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