Jack's Reviews > The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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's review
May 30, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: jackrecommends, reallygoodstuff
Recommended for: masochistic literary nuts, and those who ascribe to become one
Read in October, 2006

Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” infuriated me. In my youth, I tried his “Light in August” and gave up after about fifty pages – just too difficult. “The Sound” makes “Light” seem like a first grade reader. Some maturity in hand, I took the Faulkner challenge once more.

In what many consider a classic and a masterpiece, Faulkner blazes away with, not just stream of consciousness, but with multiple first-person narrations by multiple characters, all with some serious problems including their ability to narrate.

Faulkner starts off with Benji, the emotional, mentally retarded youngest child of the Compson family, who can't seem to stop crying except when his sister Caddy is near. For those who love jigsaw puzzles with about 55% of the pieces missing, Benji’s narration is for you. Next up in Faulkner’s narration chain is the oldest brother, Quentin. Quentin, while intelligent, has fallen off the deep end, obsessed with time and his younger sister Caddy (note a trend developing?). Quentin's narration rises only a step above Benji's in intelligibility quotent. Faulkner wraps up with Jason, the middle brother and one of the most detestable characters in modern fiction – but at least his narration makes sense, and replaces (warped though they are) many of the missing puzzle pieces left out by the previous narrations.

This book defies description, and for those hardy enough to finish it, most of the story’s infuriating twists and turns will puzzle out in the end. Faulkner holds no modern peer as a wordsmith. So strap on your consternation and give "The Sound and the Fury" a try if you dare. Maybe you will be among the 43% (my estimate)who actually finish it. If so, you'll never forget it, one way or another.
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08/10/2016 marked as: read

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