Monday, July 25, 2011

Paperback 442: Intruder in the Dust / William Faulkner (Signet S1253)

Paperback 442: Signet S1253 (6th ptg, 1956)

Title: Intruder in the Dust
Author: William Faulkner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • Unsure of how to deal an effective kidney punch, Ted consulted the mob. "Here? Is this right?"
  • One way to put a black guy on the cover without putting a black guy on the cover: put him way in the distance and make him bend over to pick up his hat. Also, looks quite natural...
  • "Murder and Violence Rip a White Man's Hat-Wearing Convention"


Best things about this back cover:
  • Signet covers are generally sedate, often to the point of being dull as dishwater. Back covers are rarely sensational either. What I like about this one is that someone gave the tagline writer / designer permission to go crazy. "Red letters ... some kind of 'tribal' font ... my lands!"
  • "Mob Fury" would be a good band name.

Page 123~
"What's going on around here, Shurf?"

"I'm going to open this grave, Mr. Gowrie," the sheriff said.

"No, Shurf," the other said, immediate, with no change whatever in the voice: not disputative, nothing: just a statement: "Not that grave."

"Yes, Mr. Gowrie," the sheriff said. "I'm going to open it."

First, "Shurf"! That's good dialogue. Second, you gotta admire the writer so unafraid of colons that he'll put three in one sentence. Just 'cause.


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Wade said...

I read this in high school (after The Sound and the Fury, which went way way way over my head) when I picked up somewhere that this was "accessible" Faulker. Accessible Faulker is still pretty damn Faulkerianly inaccessible, if I recall right. Funny that they give it the "nonstop action" type treatment.

Michael5000 said...

There's something more than ordinarily clunky about the first sentence/paragraph of that blurb. The subject and verb are dispensed with in two serviceably forceful words ("Violence flares!"), but the excitement wears off quickly as we wade through the swamp of prepositional phrases that follows. If there were any headway left in the sentence at the halfway point, the equivocating "may" really kills it. But then, sure as irony, comes the inevitable exclamation point.

Here, in humble glory, is the very apotheosis of merely literate commercial copy.

Deb said...

Rex, didn't you say you'd never read any Faulkner? This would be a good place to start. Although, as Wade points out, "accessible" is not always a word that goes hand-in-hand with Faulkner.

The guy on the cover looks like he staggered out of the car with a bad case of motion sickness. "Stand back everyone, I'm gonna baaaarrrffff."

Rex Parker said...

I have read "As I Lay Dying." That was enough for me, thanks.

Doug Brunell said...

Actually, the title alone screams boredom. "Dust" just doesn't make for a good title unless preceded by "Angel" like "Angel Dust Lovers" or "Angel Dust and Switchblades." I would read those books.

borky said...


Someone: "Is that Elvis with Col. Tom Parker?"

Someone else: "Hell, fool! How can it be Elvis when he's ent'rin' the buildin' - Elvis leaves the buildin', everyone knows that!"