What is sad about Intruder is that it could have been an absolutely brilliant book if Faulkner hadn't been all caught up in that stream of consciousness thing. If he hadn't had to have the characters want to tell you all about what they're thinking and by the way that reminds me of something else and while we're at it let me tell you this and no I don't think I'll use any punctuation for this three page sentence because well that might help or make it clearer or something and I certainly don't want that. I haven't missed punctuation marks so much since Lord of Misrule and all that was missing there were the quotation marks for dialogue. I'm sure that Faulkner has lost a lot of readers just because they didn't want to slog through the stream.
The story itself is a pretty simple one. It is both a murder mystery [that's one of the things that caught my eye] and a straightforward picture of racial injustice. Lucas Beauchamp is a local black man who has refused to play the "nigger" for the white man and now finds himself falsely accused of shooting Vinson Gowrie, a white man. There are rumors of a planned lynching and time is short if Beauchamp is to be proved innocent. Beauchamp's pride makes things even more difficult. He calls for the services of a white lawyer, Gavin Stevens, but then refuses to answer his questions about the night of the murder. The only comment he makes is to Chick Mallison, the lawyer's nephew. It falls upon Chick, a young black boy named Aleck, and an elderly white woman named Miss Habersham to find the evidence that will set Lucas Beauchamp free.
You will notice above that I used the n-word. It was deliberate. Intruder is a book of its time. It is sprinkled with that word and with descriptions and attitudes that are not politically correct. That is the whole point. There is injustice in that word and there is injustice in the book. The whole town and even the sheriff are willing to believe that this black man murdered a white man just because he was there and just because he is black. No one really looks at the evidence at all. It is not right any more than the use of derogatory language about another race is right. Whitewashing the story and refusing to use or even acknowledge the word won't change history. All we can change is ourselves....and be like Chick and his uncle and Miss Habersham--refuse to bear the injustice.