The Reivers

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Overview

Faulkner's great comic novel moves on the wheels of breathless suspense. Lucius Priest, Boon Hogganbeck, and Ned McCaslin "borrow" Lucius grandfather's automobile at the beginning of a hilarious journey that pales in comparison to what awaits the reivers (plunderers or freebooters) in Memphis. Ned trades the auto for a most dubious racehorse. How the reivers grapple with the crisis is the mainspring of the story which leads from a brothel to a ...

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The Reivers

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Overview

Faulkner's great comic novel moves on the wheels of breathless suspense. Lucius Priest, Boon Hogganbeck, and Ned McCaslin "borrow" Lucius grandfather's automobile at the beginning of a hilarious journey that pales in comparison to what awaits the reivers (plunderers or freebooters) in Memphis. Ned trades the auto for a most dubious racehorse. How the reivers grapple with the crisis is the mainspring of the story which leads from a brothel to a brush with the law to the most bizarre horse racing in fact or fiction!

The wild humor and the frenetic action will not, however, obscure to the listener that "The Reivers," like all of Faulkner's work, is about moving and tender human relationships and moral insights into human conduct.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679741923
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1992
  • Series: Vintage International
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 169,321
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American novelist and short-story writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1949. He is recognized as one of the greatest American writers. His masterpieces include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, The Hamlet, and The Reivers.

Biography

William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. His family was rooted in local history: his great-grandfather, a Confederate colonel and state politician, was assassinated by a former partner in 1889, and his grandfather was a wealth lawyer who owned a railroad. When Faulkner was five his parents moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he received a desultory education in local schools, dropping out of high school in 1915. Rejected for pilot training in the U.S. Army, he passed himself off as British and joined the Canadian Royal Air Force in 1918, but the war ended before he saw any service. After the war, he took some classes at the University of Mississippi and worked for a time at the university post office. Mostly, however, he educated himself by reading promiscuously.

Faulkner had begun writing poems when he was a schoolboy, and in 1924 he published a poetry collection, The Marble Faun, at his own expense. His literary aspirations were fueled by his close friendship with Sherwood Anderson, whom he met during a stay in New Orleans. Faulkner's first novel, Soldier's Pay, was published in 1926, followed a year later by Mosquitoes, a literary satire. His next book, Flags in the Dust, was heavily cut and rearranged at the publisher's insistence and appeared finally as Sartoris in 1929. In the meantime he had completed The Sound and the Fury, and when it appeared at the end of 1929 he had finished Sanctuary and was ready to begin writing As I Lay Dying. That same year he married Estelle Oldham, whom he had courted a decade earlier.

Although Faulkner gained literary acclaim from these and subsequent novels -- Light in August (1932), Pylon (1935), Absalom, Absalom! (1936), The Unvanquished (1938), The Wild Palms (1939), The Hamlet (1940), and Go Down, Moses (1942) -- and continued to publish stories regularly in magazines, he was unable to support himself solely by writing fiction. he worked as a screenwriter for MGM, Twentieth Century-Fox, and Warner Brothers, forming a close relationship with director Howard Hawks, with whom he worked on To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and Land of the Pharaohs, among other films. In 1944 all but one of Faulkner's novels were out of print, and his personal life was at low ebb due in part to his chronic heavy drinking. During the war he had been discovered by Sartre and Camus and others in the French literary world. In the postwar period his reputation rebounded, as Malcolm Cowley's anthology The Portable Faulkner brought him fresh attention in America, and the immense esteem in which he was held in Europe consolidated his worldwide stature.

Faulkner wrote seventeen books set in the mythical Yoknapatawpha County, home of the Compson family in The Sound and the Fury. "No land in all fiction lives more vividly in its physical presence than this county of Faulkner's imagination," Robert Penn Warren wrote in an essay on Cowley's anthology. "The descendants of the old families, the descendants of bushwhackers and carpetbaggers, the swamp rats, the Negro cooks and farm hands, the bootleggers and gangsters, tenant farmers, college boys, county-seat lawyers, country storekeepers, peddlers--all are here in their fullness of life and their complicated interrelations." In 1950, Faulkner traveled to Sweden to accept the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature. In later books--Intruder in the Dust (1948), Requiem for a Nun (1951), A Fable (1954), The Town (1957), The Mansion (1959), and The Reivers (1962) -- he continued to explore what he had called "the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself," but did so in the context of Yoknapatawpha's increasing connection with the modern world. He died of a heart attack on July 6, 1962.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Good To Know

William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text

The publisher, Harrison Smith, received Faulkner's typescript for As I Lay Dying in January 1930 and published it with very few editorial changes on October 6, 1930. That text remained the same through various reprints until 1964 when Random House brought out a new edition that was corrected in accordance with the original manuscript and typescript. For the "corrected text" shown here, scholar Noel Polk used Faulkner's own ribbon typescript setting copy, corrected to account for his revisions in proof, his typing errors, and other clear inconsistencies and mistakes.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Cuthbert Falkner (real name)
      William Faulkner
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 25, 1897
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Albany, Mississippi
    1. Date of Death:
      July 6, 1962
    2. Place of Death:
      Byhalia, Mississippi

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2001

    Temptation!

    When I first tried to read The Reivers about 35 years ago, I found the book hard to get into. I found that happening again this time, but my advice to you is to stick with it. Past the opening scenes, you'll find the story wrapping its gentle tendrils around your mind and enjoyably taking you back to a simpler time when automobiles were new, and people acted in less restrained ways when they had the chance. The experience of reading this book is like sitting on your grandfather's knee listening to him describe his youth. Sit back, take a deep breath, relax, and settle in for a most entertaining story that should not be hurried. The book's title is filled with irony. Although ostensibly looking at the temptations that cause people to steal, underlying that surface message is a more subtle one of how people in power use that power to steal dignity and opportunity from others. Before the story ends, everyone in the book is a reiver (an older term for thief) of something or of human dignity. The book opens with Boon Hogganback losing his temper and trying to shoot a man who insulted him. Fortunately, Boon is a bad shot. That's also the bad news because he wounds a young black girl and shoots out a store window. It will take him a long time to pay the damages. The story then shifts to Boon's equally impulsive infatuation with the automobile that the narrator's grandfather has purchased, but doesn't intend to drive. Boon craftily overcomes grandfather's reluctance, and the family is soon riding with Boon as the driver. When the narrator's other grandfather dies, the family leaves town by train for the funeral leaving Boon with an automobile. Boon and Lucius Priest (our 11 year-old narrator) find themselves unable to resist the temptation to 'borrow' the car for four days and head to Memphis for 80 miles over unpaved roads. After many adventures (like getting across streams without bridges), they arrive in Memphis. Lucius notices that there is something strange about the boarding house that they are visiting. It turns out to be a house of ill fame, and just as soon as they settle in the car disappears! The story will remind you of Huckleberry Finn. Boon is a Tom Sawyer-like character, and Ned McCaslin (his grandfather's black handyman) is like Jim. The trip to and from Memphis is like Huck's trip down the Mississippi. The plot is filled with humor, and soon revolves around the most complicated scheme imaginable for getting the car back. The book also has many elements of Don Quixote with Lucius, Ned, and Boon taking turns playing that role. Despite their lies, misappropriations, and misbehavior, they are constantly trying to do the right thing. One of the most beautiful moments is Lucius speaking up for the honor of Boon's lady friend who works in the 'boarding house.' This spontaneous and generous act sets off a series of responses by the other characters that redeem and uplift them. If you have tried to read other Faulkner stories, you will find this one much more accessible. On the other hand, it moves in deliberate, convoluted ways that require your attention and patience. You will be rewarded, however, because each tiny element is important to the overall picture being portrayed and story being developed. For those who like excitement, you should know that a major part of the story revolves around a series of horse races with serious bets involved. As soon as you get closer to the horse races, you will find yourself totally engrossed in the story and wondering how it will all turn out. The suspense is excellent, and you will probably be surprised in many pleasant ways by the story's resolution. After you read this book, you should think about how one should handle the clash between society's expectations and rules, and the needs of those in trouble. How should the gap be covered? Let temptation make you stronger and more virtuous in the ways that count! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    The greatest author never read

    If the thought of reading Faulkner intimidates you, this is the place to start. It is William Faulkner's most accessible work. It presents a humorous look at virtue and vice.

    It is told from the point of view of an 11 year old boy from a genteel family who finds himself in a less than genteel situation. I loved it the first time I read it and loved it even more the second time I read it. I imagine there will be a third time as well.

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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A book I would normally overlook. I'm glad I didn't.

    Adventure, uncertainty, risk. All charming qualities that make this page turner entertaining, while teaching life lessons. Seen through the eyes of a young character who is coming of age, the tale is spun at a gratifying pace. You are sure to enjoy.

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