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This is the fourth novel in the series Sin and Salvation and was written in 1931.  It's also Faulkner's most controversial novel since it deals with rape, abduction and what is considered to be evil.

 

The book is not written in the stream of consciousness device but that does not make it an easy book to read.  The reader needs to work hard to figure out what is going on as Faulkner's prose, though delicious, is vague.  Fortunately, Faulkner does not go into detail at the time the rape takes place, indeed, the reader is left wondering if rape or sexual abuse did happen.  He does go into detail about what happened nearer the end of the book and it is really shocking, even in this day and age (I can't imagine what a 1930's readership though of it ).

 

The story centres around the high society, rich and spoiled Temple Drake (female) who runs away from school with an unsuitable man and gets into the clutches of a quite clearly psychopathic male character known only as Popeye.  They are not concentrated on all of the time, Faulkner likes to make his opinion known of this type of society - the deep south - so does introduce other characters who are not at all pleasant and their stories.  The book pulls everything together at the end and Popeye does get what's coming to him but it's not a contrived ending.

 

There is a lot to this book and it requires a great deal of effort to get at it but it's worth it in the end.  I would recommend this book but be aware that it deals with controversial themes like rape/sexual abuse/kidnapping/brothels and murder

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