Thursday, October 27, 2005


Knight's Gambit, by William Faulkner, Random House, 1949, 246 pp

I read this off and on over several months. It was one of the remaining books on the 1949 list. I did not find it gripping. It is a set of short stories and one novella (Knight's Gambit), all about the lawyer Gavin Stevens, who was a main character in Intruder in the Dust (1948). I loved the earlier book, which had all kinds of wisdom in it. Knight's Gambit features Gavin Stevens' particular wisdom and tolerance for the ways of his local people, as a theme that runs through the stories.

When a crime is involved, as it is in each of these tales, Stevens is the man who can suss out the perpetrator while everyone else is running around perplexed. It is never who it seems and his ability to track down clues is prodigious, but he also has a certain sympathy or empathy for the criminal. At times though, even the reader can't see how he figured it out. But then, Gavin Stevens is a chess player. This reader is not.

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