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The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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The Sound and the Fury (1929)

by William Faulkner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,201161282 (3.98)2 / 693
  1. 30
    Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (LKAYC)
  2. 20
    Beloved by Toni Morrison (Laura1124)
  3. 21
    More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: A sci-fi romp through--intentionally so--much of the same territory.
  4. 67
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (AdonisGuilfoyle)
    AdonisGuilfoyle: The similarities are not obvious, but both stories contain the gothic destruction of two families. That, and there are two Quentins in Faulkner's novel to match the confusion of Cathys in 'Wuthering Heights', and Jason Compson is almost as cruel and twisted as Heathcliff. Enjoy!… (more)
1920s (4)
My TBR (5)
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Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
The Sound and the Fury. To me, the title was intriguing. However, that was the extent of the intrigue. I think I partly wanted to read this because it is a "Faulkner" book. The renowned William Faulkner. I have read some of his short stories, and they are readable, and even enjoyable to some degree.

I absolutely abhorred this book. It was all over the place, which I know was part of the design, but it was just too much for me. I could hardly track with anything that was being portrayed. I understand that many people have read this book and fully understood all of the inner workings of the plot. It just wasn't for me. Maybe one day I will get bold and try to read it again. But as far as I'm concerned, I don't want to read it again. I felt utterly miserable after reading the book. Not only because of the contents, but because of how I had to struggle through it to get it read.

Honestly, just thinking back about the time when I read this book fills me with dread. I never want to discourage anyone from reading a book, but this one was just too much for me. Hopefully you get more out of it than I did. ( )
  Zach5840 | Feb 21, 2019 |
What happened to Scarlett O'Hara and her family after the events of Gone With The Wind? Reading The Sound and the Fury gives us a glimpse of the fate of the great aristocratic Southern families, 60 years after the civil way. Here are the Compsons of Jefferson, Mississippi, once as wealthy and socially fêted as the O'Haras and Wilkeses, now reduced to penury and rapidly disintegrating.

This is a real doughnut of a book. The dough is the three Compson brothers: Quentin, the eldest and brightest, last relic of the Southern Gentleman with a strong sense of honour; Benjy, damaged and disabled in some unspecified way (Faulkner wouldn't have know about it but today we might recognise Benjy's condition as autism); bitter, cynical, racist, mysogynist and unscrupulous Jason, the youngest. Around them are their hypochondriac mother Miss Caroline. their disillusioned and nihilistic father Jason Senior, dissolute Uncle Maury forever just putting the bottle bačk in the sideboard, and the black cook Dilsey Gibson with her three children and her grandson who keep the Compson household together even as it disintegrates.

But as with all doughnuts the centre is the hole in the middle, what glaringly isn't there. In this case the Compson sister Caddy (Candace); strong-minded, strong-willed, destined to escape from the Southern Belle role. She appears rarely and unlike her brothers isn't given her own voice but is spoken of often in her brothers' very different narratives, and as such is at the very centre of the book, its tragic heroine. To Benjy she's the only person who ever showed him any kindness; he haunts the golf course to hear the players call her name. To Quentin, who drowned himself while a student at Harvard, she was the inseparable best friend who was betrayed. To Jason she's a prize bitch to be kept well away, not only because of family disgrace but to stop her discovering what he's up to (diverting her cheques to her daughter, also Quentin, to himself).

This is a book with a fearsome reputation for impenetrability. The reputation put me off even trying Faulkner for many years, but Faulkner had read Joyce and, as a friend of mine advised, if you can handle Ulysses (and I can) then Faulkner should be easy-peasy. Well, it's not an easy read by any means, and it won't suit the kind of reader who wants a clear plot with everything spelled out, but it was a much more compelling read than I expected. Benjy's narrative, which seems to be what puts most people off with its frequent and sudden time shifts, I found went by quite silkily. Benjy is not altogether fool; he knows exactly what's going on even if he can't understand the significance, and by just letting the stream roll by without trying to analyse you get a vivid picture which is annotated by what follows. Quentin's descent into total breakdown as he wanders aimlessly round Boston on his last day on earth is harrowing but also touchingly funny in places. Jason transparently gives himself away as a bad lot. The final section, which mostly follows Dilsey through Easter Sunday, shows that it is Dilsey and her family, and not the Compsons, who are the future.

Did I understand it? Not entirely. I don't think that's possible at a first reading. I'll be revisiting it, not least to read Benjy's story again, more carefully in the light of what is revealed in the rest of the book. Meanwhile it's not hard to see how this stands as a magnificent work of art.

( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
What happened to Scarlett O'Hara and her family after the events of Gone With The Wind? Reading The Sound and the Fury gives us a glimpse of the fate of the great aristocratic Southern families, 60 years after the civil way. Here are the Compsons of Jefferson, Mississippi, once as wealthy and socially fêted as the O'Haras and Wilkeses, now reduced to penury and rapidly disintegrating.

This is a real doughnut of a book. The dough is the three Compson brothers: Quentin, the eldest and brightest, last relic of the Southern Gentleman with a strong sense of honour; Benjy, damaged and disabled in some unspecified way (Faulkner wouldn't have know about it but today we might recognise Benjy's condition as autism); bitter, cynical, racist, mysogynist and unscrupulous Jason, the youngest. Around them are their hypochondriac mother Miss Caroline. their disillusioned and nihilistic father Jason Senior, dissolute Uncle Maury forever just putting the bottle bačk in the sideboard, and the black cook Dilsey Gibson with her three children and her grandson who keep the Compson household together even as it disintegrates.

But as with all doughnuts the centre is the hole in the middle, what glaringly isn't there. In this case the Compson sister Caddy (Candace); strong-minded, strong-willed, destined to escape from the Southern Belle role. She appears rarely and unlike her brothers isn't given her own voice but is spoken of often in her brothers' very different narratives, and as such is at the very centre of the book, its tragic heroine. To Benjy she's the only person who ever showed him any kindness; he haunts the golf course to hear the players call her name. To Quentin, who drowned himself while a student at Harvard, she was the inseparable best friend who was betrayed. To Jason she's a prize bitch to be kept well away, not only because of family disgrace but to stop her discovering what he's up to (diverting her cheques to her daughter, also Quentin, to himself).

This is a book with a fearsome reputation for impenetrability. The reputation put me off even trying Faulkner for many years, but Faulkner had read Joyce and, as a friend of mine advised, if you can handle Ulysses (and I can) then Faulkner should be easy-peasy. Well, it's not an easy read by any means, and it won't suit the kind of reader who wants a clear plot with everything spelled out, but it was a much more compelling read than I expected. Benjy's narrative, which seems to be what puts most people off with its frequent and sudden time shifts, I found went by quite silkily. Benjy is not altogether fool; he knows exactly what's going on even if he can't understand the significance, and by just letting the stream roll by without trying to analyse you get a vivid picture which is annotated by what follows. Quentin's descent into total breakdown as he wanders aimlessly round Boston on his last day on earth is harrowing but also touchingly funny in places. Jason transparently gives himself away as a bad lot. The final section, which mostly follows Dilsey through Easter Sunday, shows that it is Dilsey and her family, and not the Compsons, who are the future.

Did I understand it? Not entirely. I don't think that's possible at a first reading. I'll be revisiting it, not least to read Benjy's story again, more carefully in the light of what is revealed in the rest of the book. Meanwhile it's not hard to see how this stands as a magnificent work of art.

( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
There's nothing I can add to any discussion of The Sound and the Fury that haven't been said. I reread it for the first time in 25 or so years, when I first picked it up in college. (I enjoyed unravelling the Quentin chapter more then than I did now; he strikes me now as the least-human character in the book.) But one would be hard-pressed to find a better novel about the end of a family beset by what C. Vann Woodward called the burden of Southern history. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
I attempted Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury once before, and again recently before calling it quits. The arguments for this novel and its stream-of-consciousness narrative style, which I learned was relatively new at the time of its publication, remind me of classical music and its transition to the romantic era of the 19th century and eventually to what is known as "20th century music." And here I'm not talking about popular genres like ragtime and jazz and what would eventually become rock n' roll. I'm talking about what classical music evolved into. I had a college professor once refer to this genre of 20th century music as "intellectual exercises" and I think he was being kind.

This is what I think of when I try to read books like The Sound and the Fury—they were well-regarded, successful attempts to push the boundaries of a genre but the side effect is it has become a niche product for a niche group. Also, and I'm only being somewhat flippant here, it's a go-to for torturing high school and college students. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Aug 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
Escribir este libro foi para min como aprender a ler, coma se me achegase á linguaxe, ás palabras, co mesmo respecto e coidado de quen se achega á dinamita". Así describe William Faulkner (New Albany, 1897-Oxford, 1962) a súa experiencia con O ruído e a furia, a súa cuarta novela, publicada en 1929. A historia da ruína e decadencia da familia Compson, no Sur dos EUA, segue a representar para o lector de hoxe ese mesmo desafío, o da literatura como reinvención da linguaxe. Ao tempo, é un magnífico exemplo do pulo que posúe unha narración inspirada na vida, ese "conto contado por un idiota, cheo de ruído e de furia, que nada significa", segundo deixou dito Shakespeare en Macbeth.
 

» Add other authors (130 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Faulkner, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coindreau, Maurice EdgarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewey, Kenneth FrancisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaila, KaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Minter, David L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, Robert PennIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.
Quotations
Once a bitch, always a bitch, what I say.
Got it at the getting place.
'You're not a gentleman, Spoade said. 'No, I'm Canadian.' Shreve said.
"Dogs are dead." Caddy said. "And when Nancy fell in the ditch and Roskus shot her and the buzzards came and undressed her."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Jason sums it thus:
"Once a bitch, always a bitch."
I prefer Benjy.
(LeBoeuf)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679732241, Paperback)

The ostensible subject of The Sound and the Fury is the dissolution of the Compsons, one of those august old Mississippi families that fell on hard times and wild eccentricity after the Civil War. But in fact what William Faulkner is really after in his legendary novel is the kaleidoscope of consciousness--the overwrought mind caught in the act of thought. His rich, dark, scandal-ridden story of squandered fortune, incest (in thought if not in deed), madness, congenital brain damage, theft, illegitimacy, and stoic endurance is told in the interior voices of three Compson brothers: first Benjy, the "idiot" man-child who blurs together three decades of inchoate sensations as he stalks the fringes of the family's former pasture; next Quentin, torturing himself brilliantly, obsessively over Caddy's lost virginity and his own failure to recover the family's honor as he wanders around the seedy fringes of Boston; and finally Jason, heartless, shrewd, sneaking, nursing a perpetual sense of injury and outrage against his outrageous family.

If Benjy's section is the most daringly experimental, Jason's is the most harrowing. "Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say," he begins, lacing into Caddy's illegitimate daughter, and then proceeds to hurl mud at blacks, Jews, his sacred Compson ancestors, his glamorous, promiscuous sister, his doomed brother Quentin, his ailing mother, and the long-suffering black servant Dilsey who holds the family together by sheer force of character.

Notoriously "difficult," The Sound and the Fury is actually one of Faulkner's more accessible works once you get past the abrupt, unannounced time shifts--and certainly the most powerful emotionally. Everything is here: the complex equilibrium of pre-civil rights race relations; the conflict between Yankee capitalism and Southern agrarian values; a meditation on time, consciousness, and Western philosophy. And all of it is rendered in prose so gorgeous it can take your breath away. Here, for instance, Quentin recalls an autumnal encounter back home with the old black possum hunter Uncle Louis:

And we'd sit in the dry leaves that whispered a little with the slow respiration of our waiting and with the slow breathing of the earth and the windless October, the rank smell of the lantern fouling the brittle air, listening to the dogs and to the echo of Louis' voice dying away. He never raised it, yet on a still night we have heard it from our front porch. When he called the dogs in he sounded just like the horn he carried slung on his shoulder and never used, but clearer, mellower, as though his voice were a part of darkness and silence, coiling out of it, coiling into it again. WhoOoooo. WhoOoooo. WhoOooooooooooooooo.
What Faulkner has created is a modernist epic in which characters assume the stature of gods and the primal family events resonate like myths. It is The Sound and the Fury that secures his place in what Edmund Wilson called "the full-dressed post-Flaubert group of Conrad, Joyce, and Proust." --David Laskin

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:02 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Retells the tragic times of the Compson family, including beautiful, rebellious Caddy; manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their Black servant.

» see all 8 descriptions

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