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Okay to exhale? Not certain but hope so? How many anxieties and tensions-held-in-check can any single soul sustain with any semblance of grace or fortitude? More difficult to gauge the capacity of our nation’s divided soul to muster the courage and wisdom to bridge the chasms of well-founded distrust and hurt. I expect that you, my dears, join me in hoping there may someday be a slightly less broken, less imperfect union. Until that day, we do well to probe the weaknesses and twists that cleave those faults. As we close out his year, let's pursue that inquiry, bourbon whiskey (or Fireball?) at the ready, with: LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner, 1932. 500 pages “...draws all of Faulkner’s familiar preoccupations—determinism vs. free will, the partially Reconstructed South, religiosity, the draw of female sexuality, and the power of the living past—around one overriding, ineradicably American concern: race.” “...self-contained and provides a total picture of Jefferson’s social and physical geography, with its boarding houses and decaying mansions, its jail and its courthouse square, its Black neighborhoods and white ones too. The novel’s three separate plots are as intricately dovetailed as anything in Dickens, but Faulkner fills it with a series of unVictorian skips in time, and we’re a hundred pages in before we realize who its main character will be. That’s the hard-faced bootlegger Joe Christmas, a man who may—or may not—have some Black ancestry.” (The Daily Beast) “Faulkner eventually draws all of these characters into the drama surrounding Joe Christmas, which accelerates to a harrowing climax. Illuminating two grim legacies in American history—fanatical Calvinism and fanatical race hatred—Light in August is a mesmerizing journey into the nightmare of race, religion, and violence in the national psyche. (From the publisher.) https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/books/072098faulkner-august.html https://www.thedailybeast.com/ce-morgan-light-in-august-is-faulkners-great-american-novel https://www.thedailybeast.com/you-need-to-read-faulkner-right-now-but-you-might-need-a-map There are low-cost book options online, as well as the audio and e-versions. I bet you may also find used copies here in town. New Orleans Library has all three formats, but Jefferson Parish library appears to have just the books. There are “corrected” and “international” versions out there; I cannot say how these differ from the standard texts. I would guess you can read whichever comes to hand. Please RSVP yes only if you plan to read the book and participate! Zoom registration (yes... still that) info will reach you a few days in advance of our meetup. Wish you all peaceful, safe Thanksgiving celebrations, whether you celebrate at a crowded table or toasting one another through the ether. There is enough love to go around.