Liked It9 of 10 members found this review helpful
“William Faulkner gets my vote for Greatest American Novelist, and “The Sound and the Fury” is his masterpiece. If ever you were in doubt about the meaning of the term “Southern Gothic,” look no further. This portrayal of the last gasps of the Compson family, descended from “governors and...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“Spanning about 1900 to 1928, The Sound and the Fury tells the story of the Compsons, a family with deep Southern roots, but which is falling on hard times and whose pride is now suffering from self-inflicted wounds. The family patriarch is an alcoholic. One of the Compton brothers, Benjy,...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I will be starting this novel again from the beginning immediately - it's just that fascinating.
I nearly deleted this title after making my way laboriously through the first section, understanding little (if any) of what had just happened. The section seemed to be complete nonsense, jumping backwards and forwards through time with no warning, using identical names for different characters of different sexes, who were one moment walking hand-in-hand with the narrator and the next moment long departed - one moment long dead, the next a school-aged boy, and the next a teenage girl.
I continued on through section 2, however, and, noting a severe shift in perspective and voice, began to understand that there was something else I needed to know before continuing. At this point, I cheated a bit and went online to research exactly what was going on with this novel, considered one of the masterpieces of 20th century American literature, but thus far "all Greek to me".
I learned that the novel breaks into four separate and distinct sections, each told from a different perspective and using a different (oftentimes unreliable) narrator, and each telling criss-crossing versions of essentially the same story. I became quite intrigued upon learning about the meta nature of the novel, and charged ahead full speed with a much better grasp of what to look for.
The first section is written in a stream-of-consciousness style of narration, from the perspective of Benjy, a mentally-challenged boy with no sense of time... thus my initial befuddlement. The family at the center of the story has a bad habit of naming children after their uncles, parents, and grandparents, meaning that the anchors one normally expects a character's name to be in a novel are just as impossible to nail down as anything else in this section. It was truly taxing to read through the first time, but as I describe below, it will become much clearer on a repeat reading.
The second section is written from the perspective of Quentin, the educated older brother of Benjy, in a similar stream-of-consciousness style that also loses track of the time and place in parts. Quentin often diverges so thoroughly into memories that he ends up acting them out, not just in his narration, but in the present-day setting of his own story. He remembers a fight he had years ago over his sister's honor, then suddenly comes back to the present to discover he's just been involved in a fight with one of his best friends, talking complete nonsense about his sister.
The third section is told from the perspective of Jason, the bitter and cynical younger brother who, despite telling the story in a linear fashion (Hallelujah!), is still an unreliable narrator, in the sense that he is completely self-deluded.
The final section is told from an omniscient third-person perspective, making it the most easy-to-understand part of the novel, and providing the keys to understanding all the other parts. This is the reading equivalent of a jigsaw puzzle - reading through it the first time, you spend your time sorting out the pieces into piles, accomplishing little. It's only when you reach the final section that you truly get to see the picture of what it is you're trying to build.
When a movie is filled with convoluted self-references that are only understood after you finish watching it, the first instinct is to immediately rewatch the film - 12 Monkeys, The Shining, and The Usual Suspects spring to mind. I will be practicing the same methodology here.”
“870L”Lacey Renee wrote this review Monday, November 4, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Most Famous Books by State - MS”Bethany B wrote this review Saturday, October 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Actually, I'm only halfway through it. It's almost incomprehensible.”Bill Dawe IV wrote this review Friday, September 6, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“"Told by an idiot?" Certainly! "Signifying nothing?" No!
A harsh portrait of who we are.
The thirty-ninth book I have finished this year, and the twenty-sixth of the seventy-eight titles in Jan's great books collection that I am sworn to read in retirement.”
“Yes I know, it is a classic. I felt I was absolutely wading through the first half, aware of the amazing composition in progress, still however put off by stream of consciousness writing. Although I felt I was slogging through this, I did so at a strangely steady pace. It sticks with you, but I am left feeling a bit dissatisfied somehow. My picture of the people evolving in this tale is fuzzy. Perhaps I need to read it more than once, but with so many great books calling out to me.....”Dana G. Clinton wrote this review Thursday, August 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I did not like it one bit. Confusing, and there is nothing to redeem it. It would have been different if it was confusing but interesting or thought provoking, but I finished the book without feeling in any way enriched by it.”S Johan wrote this review Wednesday, July 31, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Un libro difícil pero indispensable. Polifonía experimental. En un estilo complicado, pero muy original, desentraña los secretos íntimos de una familia sureña en USA, bajo un trasfondo bíblico, característico de Faulkner. Un verdadero clásico.”Enrique V wrote this review Tuesday, July 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Difficult but worth it. I was glad I read a bit about the book before I started it. A little background info will help!”Meghan M wrote this review Wednesday, July 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No