Review: The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my book for the Back to the Classics Challenge: Category: Read A Tragic Novel.

_The Sound & the Fury_ was Faulkner’s fourth novel, published in 1929. It is set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Faulkner wrote 17 books in this setting. The novel centers on the dysfunctional Compson family, former Southern aristocrats who gradually fall into financial ruin and lose the respect of their neighbors. The book starts and ends during a few days in April, 1928 (around Easter).

The novel is separated into four sections.

The first and most fragmented section is from the perspective of Benjy, an intellectually disabled 33-year-old man. (Wikipedia notes that originally, Faulkner meant to use different colored inks to signify chronological breaks.) The second section is told by his brother Quentin, a student at Harvard. The third section is told by the third brother, Jason, the most coherent narrator and the least sympathetic. The last section is a third person omniscient narrative focusing on Dilsey, the Compsons’ black cook.

I had to reread the beginning after I finished the book, but I think I was able to follow most of what was going on. Faulkner wrote an appendix that appears in edition I had checked out, which I found helpful for keeping track of the characters. There’s also a foreword by Marilynne Robinson, for the Modern Library edition. I recommend it if you have a chance to read that edition; she has some interesting things to say about the significance of Faulkner setting the book at Easter, probably too long to summarize here.

The story is dark, and pretty disturbing at times. Not one of my favorites, but I am glad I read it.

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Published by Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts

This blog is for my thoughts on reading. A couple of my friends on GoodReads have blogs, so eventually I decided to start one myself. I hope to get involved in the book blogging community and become a better reader and writer! I am not accepting copies of new books for review, but I would be interested in new editions or new translations of classic authors. Find me on Upwork (as an editor) in the profile link. From September 2018 to October 2020 I blogged at Blogger.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Sound and the Fury

  1. Oh, boy! I have this on my TBR for next year, since it has been sitting on my shelf forever. You didn't mention much about the plot. Is it like In Cold Blood? (I don't know why I'm thinking about that book.)


  2. I really struggled through this one, although oddly enough, I may make myself read it again someday. What stood out the most to you about it?Folio Society published a color-coded edition of this book… I don't know if there might be a budget color-coded version somewhere (?); it would certainly help readability!


  3. I don't know if I will read this again — there are so many other books I want to reread! I suppose what stood out most what the style. It's… interesting that Jason's section is so much more coherent than the first two; I guess that's because his outlook just isn't as complex? maybe?


  4. I haven't read that book. It's true crime, right? This book is not graphic, but still pretty dark. I think you'd be interested in the religious aspect, so you might want to read the version I read, with the Marilyn Robinson intro. Sounds like you already have a copy, though, so maybe not.


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