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Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
October 6, 2011
A review paying homage to BENJY COMPSON'S uniquely disorienting narration:


BENJY...narrator... lacks sense of time...merger of past and present merge...all the same...disorientation...1928...Easter... Mississippi...Compsons...aristocrat family...hard times... Benjy... mentally handicapped...33rd quarter lost... minstrel course... golf balls... memory cues... flashbacks... clothes... nail... sister... Caddy... CAAAAAADDDYY!.. 1902... flashback... argument...

[pause reading, WTF is going on here]

... affair... neighbor... Christmas Party... Mrs. Compson... moan... annoy...

[stop reading, pour stiff drink, drink, repeat]

... 1928... carriage house... cue... 1912... graveyard... Quentin... Dilsey... Jason... Uncle Maury... Benjy crying... 1928... barn... [stop reading, bang head against wall and re-read whole book up to this point]... 1902... secret lovers...
notes... pockets... interception... scared... Benjy... 1928...
stream... Benjy... flashback... 1898... funeral... Damuddy... Versh... wet dress... whipping... 1928... milking cow...

[stop reading... go to Wikipedia and read about book... EUREKA... now I get it]

... 1910... wedding... TP... “sassprilluh”... drunk... fight... Benjy... chaos... crying...1898... hill... playing... dinner... jason... snitch... Dilsey... Mrs. Compson... crying... Damuddy... 1928... financial problems... 1910... singing... Roskus... unlucky Compsons... 1912... TP... little Miss Quentin... daughter... illegitimate... Luster... dirt... Benjy... toy... crying... disgrace...
1928... golf ball... 1898... death... Versh... lightning bugs... Frony... funeral... Nancy... horse... buzzards... 1912... Mr. Compson... memory... death...1898... Damuddy... Benjy... buzzards... bones... tree... parlor window... soiled clothing... Benjy crying... 1910... drunken memory... 1905... perfume... CAAAAAADDDYY!... mocking... “prissy dress”... Jason... upset... Caddy smells like trees... 1898... spying... Caddy... scolding...
1928... stream... swing... Miss Quentin... red tie... flashback... Charlie... Caddy... suitor... kissing... Benjy... crying... soap... 1928... swing... red tie and Miss Quentin... upset... used condom... SLUT... red tie... Luster... schoolgirls... 1910... girls... Benjy... screams... attack... no harm meant...
Mr. Compson... castration... 1928... golfball... sell... caddie... caddie?... CAAAAAADDDYY!... flower... taunting... insane asylum... Dilsey... Luster... teasing... flashback... fire... name change... Maury to Benjy... birthday cake... Mrs. Compson... uncaring... self-indulgent... wailing... self-pity... ill... annoying Bitch... library... 1900... Caddy... library... comfort... cushion... Jason... asshole... paper dolls... malicious... 1928... quarter... borrow... minstrel show... disdain... Jason... Miss Quentin... red tie... supper... 1909... virginity... Benjy... crying... shame... upset... crying... 1928... dinner... Miss Quentin... Jason... scold... argument... Benjy in past... empty room... Miss Quentin... window... 1898... soiled underwear... Benjy... muddy...1928... Benjy... sleep... QUENTIN... narrator... Harvard... watch ticking... time theme... gift... father... St Francis... death... “Little Sister”... memory...

[oh shit, not the flashbacks again]

... Caddy... wedding announcement... Shreve... class bell... Spoade... senior... big asshole... virginity... Caddy... confession... incest...

[Wait, wait, WAAAAAIT, what was that about incest?]

... lie

[whew, okay go on]

...Dalton Ames... father... nihilist... life is meaningless...

[cheery guy ain’t he]

... breaks glass... finger cut...blood... tick tock... tick tock... bath... two notes... father... post office... note to Shreve... Deacon... nowhere... clock shop... time... don’t fix... tailor weights... train... time... wrong... Benjy... Maury... bridge... thoughts... drowning... Gerald Bland... student... river... painful memories... Caddy... slut... Herbert... bank job... Jason... Deacon... Shreve... Quentin... trolley...
memory... fight with Herbert... jealous... devastated... sad... miserable... CAAAAAADDDYY!... Mr. Compson... uncaring... “virginity is meaningless concept”... Quentin... sad... bridge... Herbert... cheater... “blackguard”... Quentin... Italian girl... bakery... Julio... accusation... constable... fines... released... Gerald Bland... bragging... Quentin... memory... Caddy... Dalton Ames... suicide pact?... incest... lie... run away... confrontation... fight... depressed... memory... father... uncaring... Quentin... jealous, lonely, sad, rage... JASON... narrator... “Once a Bitch, Always a Bitch”... 1928... asshole... thief... patriarch... fighting mother... raising Miss Quentin... Caddy... divorced... affair... child... lost job... Jason... bitter... farm supplies... anger... stealing money... mean-spirited... devious... cotton market and prostitutes... Miss Quentin... rebellious... stubborn... work... receives 4 letters... father’s funeral... scheme...
bully... $10... Mrs. Compson... miserable bitch... Jason... embarrassed... Benjy... red tie... Earl... accusation...
stock loss... Jason... furious... car chase... flat tires... home... Luster... tickets... minstrel show...

[What an asshole this guy is]

... NARRATOR AUTHOR... Easter Sunday... 1928...
Benjy eating... Jason angry... window broken... Miss Quentin nowhere... Dilsey comforts... Mrs. Compson bitches... strongbox... forced... crime... police... Reverend Shegog... sermon... Jason... sheriff... suspicious... Jason... searches... Miss Quentin...
Jason... mistress Lorraine... Jason... rude... old man don’t play... hatchet... Benjy... carriage... new route... scared... scream... change frightens... Jason... beating... familar... Benjy... quiet... THE END.

BENJY = Awesome
JASON = Major Assholio
CADDY = Tragic Hero
MISS QUENTIN = Rebellious/Low Self Esteem
MRS. COMPSON = Somebody please shoot the BITCH
MR. COMPSON = Life sucks and then you die...SO DIE ALREADY!!.

WILLIAM FAULKNER = Maaaaaaaad genius
102 reviews287 followers
December 4, 2013
Whew. This is a devastating book. Probably one of the most depressing stories I've read. Incest, castration, suicide, racism, misogyny—this one has it all. Even at the beginning, when it is possible to make out only pieces of the events, a nauseating sense of dread permeates Benji’s narrative per Faulkner’s pungent writing style. And this feeling never really dissipates.

Jumping into The Sound and the Fury with no prior introduction is like driving through an impenetrable fog or into a blinding glare—you can't quite tell who is who; male or female; black or white; first, second, or third generation; relative or friend or stranger. But gradually, before frustration has a chance to set in, the fog begins to burn off and the glare becomes less direct. By the time the omniscient narrator closes things out in part four, the scales have been fully removed and you are left with a crystal limpidness in which you can smell the sweet southern honeysuckle and feel the rotting wood of the old barn.

It’s interesting to confront another modernist’s take on the human experience of time while concurrently reading In Search of Lost Time. While Proust gently but thoroughly leads us through the inner-workings of our past, present, and future, Faulkner attempts to capture the continual and forceful vying of these elements within the mind—at the intentional cost of a coherent linear narrative. The results are disorienting, yet powerfully emotive. Adding subtly to this effect, Faulkner often relays visual experience egocentrically, particularly in the case of Benji, for whom objects and views vanish before his eyes when he has simply shifted or been turned by Luster or Caddy.

Because the first section takes place on the day between the third and fourth sections, I skimmed through some of it again before reading the final part. I was surprised by what I could glean from snippets that had initially seemed inscrutable and incomplete. This is a book made for rereading; an American masterpiece, undoubtedly.

Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,357 reviews794 followers
September 17, 2014
The first time I attempted this book, I made my way through a mere three pages before deciding it would be a waste. To date, it is the only book that I had the good sense to leave until later, as my usual response is to barrel through the pages come hell or high water. Perhaps it was a good thing that I had just finished slogging my way through a monstrous tome that left my brain incapable of facing down the beginning of Benjy's prose. I don't remember the title of whatever book left me in that state, but I do remember staring at the beginning pages of this one, my mind wandering in frozen disbelief over the contorted fragments that supposedly made up a story. So I left it until later, four years later if I remember correctly, and I'm glad that I did.

The writing in this book is notoriously difficult. Insert reference to quote from Macbeth, something something signifying nothing and all that jazz. You've heard it before, and I won't waste anyone's time reiterating it. However, now that I've finally reached the end, I can't say that I would change any part of it. Had the entire book been written in the style of the last section, largely cohesive with rare flares of descriptive prose and sudden jumps in point of view and timeline, it would not have been nearly as powerful. The story IS sound, the story IS fury, and you can't convey that without dipping the prose in that septic pool of chaotic madness. If I hadn't battled my way through Benjy, if I hadn't pulled myself inch by inch through Quentin, I wouldn't have understood the horror of Jason, or the final tragedy of the conclusion. To be frank, I wouldn't have cared.

But I did care. I did care because the haphazard mess of the beginning readied my mind for a reading that, instead of demanding a tenacious follower, asked for a bucket to fill with errant drops. A drop of plot-line here, a drop of context there, many drops that filled in the blanks of the neurotic frenzy that is the Compson family. Nature versus nurture. Nature planted a singular seed of madness in the blood, and nurture drove each along different paths. You'll be gathering bits and pieces of this tangential story, wondering what it's all for, and then a single phrase will narrow the story to a focal point of singular rage and despair. When that happens, you'll understand what all that seemingly headless running about was for. All the disconnected hints and teases will culminate in an awful truth, and it isn't a feeling that any sort of linear timeline can convey.

For, if you read an edition that contains the foreword appendix written by the author, you'll be given that linear timeline right at the beginning. You'll know the hard, cold facts of this family long before the story begins. You'll know their furthest ancestor, and you'll know their ignominious end, and you'll even get the major, notable events in between. You won't care about Benjy's plight, or Quentin's, or Jason's, or the whole family's, this Southern strain of blood that ends in a lost oblivion of death, bitterness, and idiocy. All you'll have is context, that collection of straightforward no-nonsense tidbits that make perfect sense and ultimately mean nothing. You can't expect them to, long before you have delved into the lives of these characters, the agonizing push and pull each one of them suffers in their respective place. You can't expect them to if you still wish to put this story in its place with each character neatly categorized and every loose end resolved in a satisfying conclusion.

This story is one concerned with the long slow death of lineage, the inexorable tugging and tearing of ideologies and timelines on a collection of souls that have been slung together in a collusion of familial blood and social connections. No one escapes the hell on earth that was apportioned to them, embodied in poisonous words that are fueled by a poisonous life conditioned by a poisonous world. Not even the idiot, who does not know the context and yet feels the agony, much as we the reader feel our way through the chaotic text of this story with an underlying sense of grief and despair, one that cannot be contained in a single quote, paragraph, page, or section. Not until it's much too late, and somewhere along the twisted path we lost our hearts to this tragic mess of a family that we knew was doomed from the start.

Somewhere amongst the sound and the fury that pain touched us, and the most we can do is join Benjy in the bellowing in response to that fearful anger. We know it signifies nothing. We know it does, much as anything with a beginning and an end will eventually be lost in the mists of time, and the world will roll on in ignorant bliss of its history. We know that. But it sure as hell doesn't feel that way.
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,215 reviews9,881 followers
November 29, 2016
Reading some books is like clambering through a barbed wire fence at the bottom of a swamp with your oxygen tank about to run out and this is one of those. When you’re done with it you look round expecting someone to notice and rush up with the medal and citation you completely deserve for services to literature. You finished it! Yeahhh! But no one does and if you try to explain to your family “Hey wow I finished The Sound and the Fury, man was that difficult, wow, my brain is like permanently rearranged, that Faulkner, what a writer” they just smile placatingly and open another tin of gunk for the cat.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
August 11, 2021
(Book 671 from 1001 books) - The Sound And The Fury, William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury is a novel written by the American author William Faulkner.

It employs a number of narrative styles, including stream of consciousness. Published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner's fourth novel, and was not immediately successful.

The first section of the novel is narrated by Benjamin "Benjy" Compson, a source of shame to the family due to his diminished mental capacity; the only characters who show genuine care for him are Caddy, his older sister, and Dilsey, a matronly servant.

His narrative voice is characterized predominantly by its nonlinearity: spanning the period 1898–1928, Benjy's narrative is a series of non-chronological events presented in a stream of consciousness.

The presence of italics in Benjy's section indicates significant shifts in the narrative. Originally Faulkner meant to use different colored inks to signify chronological breaks. ...

Characters: The Compsons, Dilsey Gibson, Quentin Compson III, Jason Compson IV, Caroline Bascomb Compson, Candace "Caddy" Compson, Benjamin "Benjy" Compson, Miss Quentin Compson

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «خشم و هیاهو»؛ «غوغا و خشم»؛ نویسنده: ویلیام فاکنر؛ انتشاراتیها (پیروز، نگاه، نیلوفر، فرانکلین، ماهابه، بوتیمار)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه می سال 1978میلادی

عنوان: خشم و هیاهو؛ اثر: ویلیام فاکنر؛ مترجم: بهمن شعله ور؛ تهران، انتشارات پیروز، فرانکلین، چاپ چهارم 1353، در 422ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نگاه، 1383؛ در 414ص؛ چاپ دوم نگاه، 1387؛ شابک 9789643512304 چاپ چهارم نگاه، 1392؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1394؛ در 534ص؛ شابک 9786001216398؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

عنوان: خشم و هیاهو یا غوغا و خشم؛ نویسنده: ویلیام فاکنر؛ مترجم: صالح حسینی؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1369، در 317ص؛ چاپ سوم 1376؛ شابک 9644480627؛چاپ پنجم 1381؛ در 430ص؛ ششم 1386؛ هفتم 1388؛ هشتم 1390؛ نهم 1392؛ شابک 9789644480621؛

مترجم: مرضیه خسروی؛ تهران، ماهابه، 1395، در 412ص؛ شابک 9786005205954؛

مترجم: کریم فرهادی، مشهد، بوتیمار، 1395، در 658ص؛ شابک: 9786004042512؛

ویژگی تکنیکی و برجسته ی رمان «خشم و هیاهو»، سود بردن از چهار نگاه، برای روایت فروپاشی خانواده ی «کامپسون» است؛ از ذهن ناتوان «بنجی»، به ذهن وسواسی «کونتین»، و سپس به ذهن متفاوت و یا بی‌اندازه وسواسی «جیسون»، و در پایان نیز به سوی دنیای «دیلسی»؛ حرکتی از ساده‌ لوحی و معصومیت، به سوی روشنگری فزاینده؛ عناوینی که «فاکنر» برای داستانهایش برمیگزیدند، بیشتر ذهنی و معنایی برای خود نویسنده داشتند؛ اما «خشم و هیاهو»، عنوان کتاب، کلیدی راستین دارد، و با همان ابیات «شکسپیر»، در نمایشنامه ی «مکبث»، که می‌گویند: «زندگی قصه‌ ای است، که توسط ابلهی روایت می‌شود، سرشار از خشم و هیاهو، ولی پوچ»؛ کاملاً هماهنگی دارد؛ و همچنین با بخش نخستین داستان، که شامل روایت «بنجی» است شباهت و آشنایی دارد؛ بخش «کونتین» نیز پژواکی از عنوان رمان است؛ او فلسفه ی مأیوس‌ کننده ی پدر را آموخته‌، که انسان‌ها را صرفاً به شکل عروسک‌هایی ببیند، که با خاک پر شده‌ اند؛ و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 09/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 19/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,462 reviews3,610 followers
November 22, 2021
The Sound and the Fury should be read attentively, step by step – one should crack every sentence like a nutshell to get to a sweet kernel – only then the novel will be enjoyable. Otherwise it will remain just “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Some days fly… Some days crawl… Some days are sunny… Some days are rainy…
Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.

Time doesn't make us move. We make time move.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
December 3, 2021
William Faulkner's unforgettable 1929 novel of the "rotting family in the rotting house." It's a somber tale of the tragically dysfunctional Compson family, told with insight and remarkable talent, though it’s definitely not readily accessible. Mostly set in the year 1928, and in the US south in the days of segregation and prejudice (the N-word makes a frequent appearance), The Sound and the Fury has four sections plus an appendix. Three of the sections are narrated by the three Compson brothers, Benjy, Quentin and Jason.

I think the usual no-spoilers rules doesn't work well with this book: it's so difficult to put the pieces together than I think most readers (like me) need all the help they can get. So I'm going to lay the plot all out here. If you're a hardcore non-spoiler person but still want to read this review, skip the next several paragraphs, until you get down to the Macbeth quote.

Section 1: Benjy, the 33 year old brother who was born severely mentally handicapped, narrates the first section, though in actuality he can't speak. He moans and wails and roars. Benjy has no sense of time; all is present to Benjy. So his section very frequently skips from the present to flashbacks of different times in his life, giving us glimpses of the people in the Compson home, and their troubles. Often the shift in time is marked by italics, but it's still pretty confusing. I recommend using a detailed resource that helps you track what year it is in the narrative, like this Cliffnotes page. Benjy is castrated by his cold-hearted brother Jason when he's a teenager and got loose one day and chased some schoolgirls, though he was probably just trying to tell them how much he missed his beloved sister Caddy (Candace). All of the brothers lose their balls in one way or another in this story, Benjy literally and the others metaphorically. To make matters more confusing, Benjy is named Maury, after his shiftless, flashy uncle, until he's 5 years old. There are also two Quentins: Benjy's older brother (who commits suicide in 1910) and Caddy's illegitimate daughter, born a few months later, who lives with the family. Benjy’s ramblings set the stage for the rest of the novel.

Section 2, narrated by Quentin (the brother) shifts back to June 1910, the last day of his life. Quentin has just completed his first year at Harvard University, but is so distraught by his sister Caddy's promiscuity and marriage that he is planning to commit suicide at the end of the day. Everything that happens in this section is colored by that intention. Quentin also has a number of mental flashbacks in his section, which are easier to follow than Benjy's, but Quentin's depressed, neurotic mind made his narrative difficult to follow and unpleasant for me to read, until the last ten pages or so, which were weirdly fascinating, as you become more and more aware of how unhealthy Quentin’s obsession with his sister and purity and honor is.

Section 3: We leap forward to April 1928, a day in the life of Jason, the most venal and unpleasant of the brothers. Jason is now effectively the head of the family. He mistreats his 17 year old niece Quentin, who is rebellious and shamelessly promiscuous. Jason has been stealing the money that Quentin’s mother Caddy sends to Jason for Quentin, gambling it away on cotton futures. Jason is all about control, and he justifies his thefts because back in 1910 Caddy's husband was going to give him a job in banking, which fell through when the husband divorced Caddy because she was pregnant with another man's child. But Quentin ultimately proves not as easy to manipulate as Caddy. It's ugly being inside of Jason's mind.

Section 4: So it's a relief to come to the last section, told by an omniscient narrator, mostly from the point of view of an old family servant, Dilsey. Dilsey tries to keep the family together and protect the others from Jason's rages and abuse, with mixed success. The conflict between Miss Quentin and Jason comes to a head, as Quentin finally gets some of hers back and Jason ineffectually chases her. At the beginning of this section, it reads:
The day dawned bleak and chill. A moving wall of grey light out of the northeast which, instead of dissolving into moisture, seemed to disintegrate into minute and venomous particles ...
It's an apt metaphor for the Compson family's disintegration.

The title of this book comes from a Macbeth quote:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Benjy's literally meaningless sound and fury is the most obvious reference here, but in a broader sense it's about the Compson family generally ... though their distressing tale actually has deep significance to us as readers. Faulkner made me work so hard to put the puzzle pieces together, with stream-of-consciousness and non-linear storytelling, that when I was able to understand the elusive parts of the story, it felt like a major achievement for me as well as him.

The most helpful online source I found while reading this book is this detailed essay: It follows the plot of the book and helps clarify what's happening, and comments on some of the symbolism. I found it incredibly helpful.

This was a reread/buddy read with Jen. Our discussion is in the thread to this review. There are some interesting comments, but beware of spoilers that may or may not be tagged.

Initial comments: I haven't read this since I was a college English major. I vaguely remember writing a senior essay on it and getting an A on my grade, so I'm sure that partly explains the affection I still have for this novel, even though I remember absolutely nothing about the plot except that there are four (I think, maybe?) different narrators and one is mentally challenged.

But! I've been on a Faulkner roll lately, starting with a couple of his short stories (A Rose for Emily and Barn Burning) and I checked this book out from the library yesterday.
Profile Image for Violet wells.
433 reviews3,220 followers
February 13, 2017
This is one of those books that makes a gigantic claim. As if it’s either genius or it’s Emperor’s New Clothes. It won’t settle for anything in-between. On every page I felt Faulkner was straining at the bit to prove to me he’s a genius.

The title has always put me off reading this. The Sound and the Fury. It’s melodramatic, humourless, a bit pompous. It sounds like one of those American war films of the fifties starring John Wayne.

But what is it with southern writers that they only seem able to write books if they can believe they’re geniuses? Look Homeward Angel makes that claim too. Except Look Homeward Angel is probably the most overwritten novel in the history of literature. Wolfe maybe had some genius but he wasn’t in control of it. Faulkner unquestionably is different. Faulkner has genius and is in control of it. But…

Essentially to enjoy this you’ve got to also enjoy codebreaking. I don’t. I’ve never even done a crossword puzzle in my life. I doubt if I’ll ever try Finnegan’s Wake again after failing to make head or tail of it the first time. Also, you’ve probably got to be prepared to read it twice. It’s probably every English teacher’s dream book – a book that requires notes formulated by someone with a higher intelligence than your own. It’s not very flattering to realise your own intelligence isn’t up to the job. Should a novel require notes? Shakespeare might be enhanced by notes but he doesn’t need them. I needed to refer to notes to understand what was going on in part one. Okay, I’ve got it now but did you really need to be so wilfully obtuse? It’s not like you’re explaining particle physics. This is essentially a family melodrama, not a treatise on the meaning of life. If you strip away all the literary devices, that’s what it is - a family melodrama. Sure it has a broader social reach – but only bad novels don’t have that. It didn’t for me have the wide cultural reach of Gatsby. It felt parochial, claustrophobic.

But putting aside the decryption demands of the novel I also think it has some more obvious flaws like the character of Jason His villainy was somewhat coarse. He wouldn't even get in my top 100 best villains in literature!

I’d like to read another Faulkner – but one where he isn’t trying quite so hard to prove he’s a genius.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book933 followers
July 3, 2021
Some books are welcoming; they start with a gentle slope, give the reader enough space to adjust and get their bearings, contemplate the landscape, and then maybe move things up a notch. But you never get lost. Not so with The Sound and the Fury. This novel starts like a steep and slippery cliff face, little time to reflect, no idea where this is going, just hang on to what you can. Things eventually will get better, but tenacity and patience are of the essence.

The Sound and the Fury (1929) is a “plantation novel”, a family chronicle, and one of Faulkner’s early works. But this is not your everyday family saga. Like Proust, Joyce or Woolf before him, one of Faulkner’s primary storytelling devices is “stream of consciousness”. But this is not your average interior monologue either. From the start and in close succession, we are thrown inside the inner life and thought process of a series of slightly or even deeply touched characters: the Compson clan.

The structure of the novel feels like utter chaos and confusion, next to which Mrs. Dalloway or The Waste Land seem almost cohesive and straightforward: the story keeps prancing about, time and space, nonlinear, dislocated and elliptical, from one paragraph to the next, from one chapter to the other. Three of the four chapters are set during Easter 1928, yet not in chronological order, and a fourth chapter jumps back to 1910 without any apparent reason. Three chapters are narrated in the first person, yet the fourth is in the third person without justification. Language keeps being bent and twisted this way and that: a mosaic of Dixie and African American dialects, Greek tragedies and Biblical myths, bits of Shakespeare, sentence fragments, italics, lack of punctuation, irregular wording, inconsistent spelling, onomatopoeic outbursts... In short, no clear rule, no attempt at any form of aesthetic balance. Everything is smashed and then patched right back up, jumbled together again, layer upon layer into an experimental, complex, jarring and, quite frankly, fearless and virtuoso literary assemblage.

Still, coexisting with that pandemonium of a novel, there is also a sort of logical movement, perhaps like the four movements of a symphony. A progression — not unlike that of The Divine Comedy: while Dante’s poem moves from darkness (the circles of hell) to light (the empyrean spheres), Faulkner takes us from the dazzled and disorganised mind of the mentally disabled and scent-obsessed Benjy, by way of the tormented, possibly incestuous and quite certainly suicidal Quentin, through the embittered, unsavoury, racist and rapacious character of Jason, and finally Dilsey, the head of the Black family in the Compsons’ service, definitely the sounder mind of them all. The novel ends with an appendix on the family’s last three generations, written like a parody of the genealogies in the book of Genesis. (I would recommend reading this section first: it’s the lube that’ll get you/it in; using it at the end makes no sense.)

This progressive movement from utter mental confusion toward sanity runs counter to the spiralling decline of the Compsons, which, for all I know, heralds the upcoming downfall of the world economy in the early 1930s. Meanwhile, the actual anchors of the novel, to which Faulkner comes back, again and again, are the presence of nature (birds and vegetation, notably), and the refreshing feminine figures of Caddy and Ms Quentin: the focus point and Ariadne’s thread of the whole story.

After all, The Sound and the Fury is a demanding, alienating, maddening but masterful novel that had a formidable impact on the subsequent generations of American writers (Southern, New England or Californian traditions alike): Harper Lee, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King or even David Foster Wallace — and a few African American and Latin American writers as well. It is, in the end, a staggering example of how literature and language can be pushed to the limit and yet draw a deep and compelling picture of reality.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,487 reviews2,373 followers
April 13, 2019
I'm done. My third and final attempt has failed miserably.

No, not miserably. Gladly actually.

So it's official. I'm now as thick as two short planks, an intellectual misfit, I Wouldn't know literary greatness if it shot me in the buttocks from close range. Well, that's likely what Faulkner would be thinking anyway. Fine. But then I'd most certainly whip his ass at a game of chess, and drink him under the table (as long as it's my special cocktails) as a way to get even.

The only reason I returned to this novel, was I thought that 'Light in August' was really good and was hoping for more.


I didn't get it, and couldn't be bothered to even try. I got so frustrated I started Chain smoking. This coming from someone who is dearly trying so hard to quit! Thanks Bill.

The only thing Faulkner did do for me was make me realise just how much I adore the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, now even more. They were true geniuses.

What's the likelihood of me reading Faulkner again? Only time will tell I guess. But at the moment, there is more chance of Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker having an affair.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,983 followers
January 16, 2019
A tale of two books . . .

At times a 1 star book.

Incoherent ramblings - which I know are praised by some as the essence of stream of consciousness. Random time jumps - apparently they released a special edition with the dialogue from each timeframe color coded so it is easier for the reader to keep track. Missing punctuation - at times there is back and forth dialogue, no punctuation and no indication of who is talking. People with the same name and name changes in the middle of the story. Etc. Etc. Etc. It is my impression that all of these things have been studied extensively and praised by critics. For me, it's a nope!

At times a 5 star book.

Interesting characters - troubled, imperfect souls suffering life with each other and the changing tide of the South. Each chapter told from a different person's point of view capturing their dynamic personalities. Race relations - reflections on the relationship between races and how black people are viewed differently between the North and South in 1920s America. Colorful anecdotes - while I am not sure I ended up understanding the point of the story as a whole, the individual stories throughout were lively, sometimes humorous, frequently dark, and often heart wrenching. There is definitely a lot to like about this book.

So, I will settle on 3 stars. After the first hundred pages or so I was sure it would be a 1 star read, but after that I started to get into it and experience those 5 star moments. So, if you are the type of person that needs to get into a book from the get go, you either need to have extra patience with this one or pass on it. Many people give it 5 stars, so this may truly resonate with you as a classic. I start off on the fence with my opinion.
Profile Image for İntellecta.
199 reviews1,558 followers
March 4, 2021
"Schall und Wahn"is not easy reading. The plot is shattered by flashbacks, cuts, and inner monologues. In each part the narrative perspective changes. In spite of this experimental and innovative narrative, the author succeeds again and again in capturing the reader with the tragic force of history and language and to keep the tension alive. Faulkner portrays his protagonists realistically, without spoiling their character weaknesses.

Resume: A dense language, a great atmosphere ... A unique novel ... This world-wide work of art, at the height of Faulkner's creativity, leads to a linguistic treasure. It must be read absolutely.
31 reviews6 followers
January 6, 2008
The first thing that comes to mind in regard to ¨The Sound and the Fury¨ is Eliot´s ¨a heap of broken images.¨ Deciphering TSTF is like reassembling a shattered mirror; difficult, and likely to end in pain.

On the other hand, it´s hard to deny that it´s a great book, if only from the standpoint of workmanship. The skill it took to create this piece, composed of so many seperate perspectives, confined to such a narrow and specific moments of time, makes me think of interlocking puzzles carved from a single piece of wood or stone. Whether you like it or not, you have to admire the workmanship.

That being said, I believe that this book is so highly regarded for exactly the qualities that make it inaccessible to the majority of readers. If you have the patience to finish it, and the tools to decipher it, you become one of the select few, the literati elite. It´s regarded because it excludes. Unfortunately, many lovers of literature want writing to need decoding; they want layers of meaning inaccessible to the uninitiated. I am not one of those readers.

After all, once you do decode the book, once you´ve assembled the shattered mirror, is the image you see there really that unique or fascinating? I admit that I do have a certain sympathy for the characters in TSTF; I believe them. They feel real for me. However, it´s hard not to care about the characters after you´ve worked so hard to understand exactly what the hell is going on with them. You´ve already invested so much time with them that they´re practically family. It vaguely smacks of manipulation for an author to use such a device to get his readers invested with his characters.

Finally, I guess that my issue is not with Faulkner, a master of his craft who managed what is nearly impossible, to do some thing new in the field of writing. My issue is with the literature community, who chose to so highly esteem such a difficult nut to crack.

The Sound and the Fury; a masterpiece of form, and one of the most inaccessible books I´ve ever picked up. Again, it´s hard to argue with the quality of the book; I would recommend the book to very few readers, but I´ve still been moved to write a couple of hundred words about it.
Profile Image for Fabian.
956 reviews1,623 followers
March 5, 2019
This Monster of a Book is equally profound & puzzling. Somewhere between naked consciousness and brutal incomprehension, the novel is nothing if not cerebral. The events occurring one Easter weekend at the end of the roaring 20's are sliced off at emotional markers & then mixed in with events from the sad, sad past. Beginning the labyrinth with Benjy's POV is like the set of rules proposed by the mad Faulkner. He more than asks, he DEMANDS one put everything away to partake in the Southern Gothic, the drama involved in the lives of the members of a doomed clan.

There are occasional dips into 3 distinct psyches and it is interesting to see just how random or planned the trajectory of each one's personal destiny becomes. This is a reverse MRS. DALLOWAY: whereas that one treats one day as an emblem for the titular character, the different characters representing a whole, the Compsons, are made from the same source and yet time is mostly inconsequential as there are enormous spans of time in which the protagonists lingers, and deep gaps where the audience is left to wonder. The whole experience is one of near madness as the SOUND is described at full length by several sources of consciousness while the FURY is all the reader's own in piecing together all the strands. Give Faulkner half your month! :It took a Professor THAT long to make a chart of the more than dozen story-lines making up this monolith of the fierce (& post-Civil War) south.
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 9 books16.2k followers
July 21, 2020

تنتمي "الصخب والعنف" إلى تلك النوعية من الرويات التي يطلق عليها الكلاسيكيات الأدبية
والتي قدر ما سمعت عنها قدر ما شغفت دوما في قراءتها وإضافتها إلى قائمة قراءاتك التي تعتز بها وتفخر
ولكن ما إن تفتحها وتتمعن فيها
ستجدها بالونة كبيرة فارغة من الداخل إلا من هواء الزيف والادعاء

وبما أنني قرأت فوكنر قبل ذلك واستمتعت به
فقد كنت أكيدة من أنني سأعيش تجربة لا تضاهى مع روايته الأشهر
والتي يستمد مضمونها وعنوانها من أقرب الاقتباسات إلى قلبي ومن مسرحيتي المفضلة

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

ولكن بكل أسف
استفقت من الحلم الجميل على عمل أقل من العادي
لم يفعل شيئا سوى اضاعة وقتي وتشتيتي في بعض الأحيان
ولم يجلب لي سوى قناعة صارت تترسخ يوما بعد يوم
الشهرة والتمجيد لأي عمل ليسا دليلا قيمة من أي نوع


حين كتب العظيم شكسبير سطوره الخالدة تلك
كتبها في مسرحية تزلزل كيانك حرفيا
لا تخرج منها إلا وأنت متخم من الشبع
ففيها القصة الجاذبة والشعر المؤثر والخيال المبهر والشخصيات التي تتفاعل معها بكل جوانحك

إنما حينما أراد فوكنر استخدام نفس السطور
فقد طبق ما فيها حرفيا
وأنتج لنا حكاية بلا معنى
يرويها معتوه
مليئة بالصخب والعنف

فحتى إن كان قاصدا متعمدا أن تكون حكايته بلا معنى
فكان عليه أن يختلق حكاية تمسّك
تؤثر فيك
تجعلك تؤمن بقيمة اللامعنى
كما يفعل أي كاتب عدمي أو مسرحي ينتمي لتيار اللامعقول


التكنيك المستخدم يعتمد على شقين يتعلقان بالزمن
الأول هو التخلي عن استخدام زمن موحد فكل الأحداث تبدو وكأنها حدثت وانتهت وتنتظر فوكنر ليحكي عنها
وفي نفس الوقت تبدو وكأنها تحدث الآن على ألسنة الرواة المتعددين وكأنهم يختبرونها مجددا حين يحكونها

أما الشق الثاني وهو الذي جلب في رأيي الشهرة الغير مستحقة للرواية هو التلاعب بالأحداث واختلاط الأزمنة
فالأبطال يبدون في سن الطفولة أو الشباب أو الن��ج دون سابق انذار
وخصوصا في رواية بنجي الأولى وهو الطفل\الشاب\الرجل الذي يعاني من تأخر عقلي

وهذا التداخل الزمني الذي أعترف أنه صيغ بحرفية عالية لا يترك للقاريء أي مجال للمتعة
ولا يبدو أنه يضيف كثيرا أو قليلا لقيمة الرواية نفسها


ما لاحظته على الرواية أنها تبدو بلا روح
بلا مشاعر
وكأن من كتبها لا يبالي بأبطاله
أو بأي قيمة أدبية معروفة أو مبتكرة

وهي تحكي قصة سخيفة ومملة
لأشخاص أبدا لم أتعاطف معهم
وبطريقة بدا فيها التحذلق جليا
صحيح أنها تنتمي إلى تيار الوعي الذي يروق لي
وصحيح إن التكنيك المستخدم في الرواية تكنيك صعب ويحتاج إلى حرفية عالية

إلا أنها في النهاية تبقى رواية تكنيك
ولا شيء آخر


في الحقيقة تكرار بعض العبارات
مثل رائحة كادي التي هي "كرائحة الأشجار" بالنسبة لبنجي
أو مطاردة كوينتن لظله وعذابه مع تكتكات الساعة
أصابني بنوبات من الضحك

إنها محاولة للتمسح في الأدب في رأيي
محاولة لاضفاء قدر من العمق
على أشخاص مسطحين وكأنهم مرسومين على الماء
لم تضفي أي قيمة لرواية أميريكية عادية
ليس فيها ما يدهش
تمر عليك دون تأثير يذكر


إنها رواية أسلوب
فقط لا غير
ولا أنصح بها أحدا

Profile Image for Kevin Ansbro.
Author 5 books1,467 followers
October 12, 2021
"I'm bad and I'm going to hell, and I don't care. I'd rather be in hell than anywhere where you are."
-William Faulkner

I once had to wrestle with this as an English lit student and found the read to be altogether magnificent, perplexing and also bloody frustrating.
William Curmudgeon Faulkner described it as being his 'son-of-a-bitch' piece of work, and the author's innate intransigence percolates into each page of this, his magnum opus.

Faulkner snarls at you, provokes you and dares you to hate his book.
And you just might.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
504 reviews90 followers
October 23, 2020
نویسنده‌های بسیاری در کتابهاشون با زمان بازی کردند، اما کسی جز فاکنر سر از تنش جدا نکرد!
ای خداوند، خدای متعال مهربان، حمد و جلال و افتخار و ثنا از آن توست. ستایش میکنم خداوند خدا را و جمیع مخلوقات اورا، و بخصوص برادرمان خورشید را که روز را برایمان می آورد و نور را برایمان می اورد...
ستایش می کنم خداوند خدا را به خاطر خواهرمان ماه و به خاطر ستارگان... ستایش می کنم خداوند خدا را به خاطر برادرمان باد و به خاطر هوا وابر... ستایش می کنم خداوند خدا را به خاطر خواهرمان آب..‌. ستایش می کنم خداوند خدا را به خاطر برادرمان آتش که به وسیله آن در تاریکی به ما نور می دهد، و اوست تابناک و دلپسند و بسیار مقتدر و نیرومند... ستایش می کنم خداوند خدا را به خاطر مادرمان زمین که به ما روزی می دهد... ستایش می کنم خداوند خدا را به خاطر جمیع کسانی که به خاطر عشق او بر یکدیگر می بخشایند و متحمل زبونی و محنت می شوند... متبرک باد کسان که صبر پیشه می کنند، چون تو ای برتر از همه، به آنان تاج خواهی داد...
ستایش می کنم خداوند خدا را به خاطر خواهرمان مرگ تن که هیچ انسانی از دستش نمی گریزد، وای بر آن که در گناه کبیره بمیرد... متبرک باد آنان که در کنف
ارادة قدسي تو گام برمی دارند، زیرا مرگ دوم قدرت آزار رسانیدن به آنها را
نخواهد داشت...
این کتاب رو بسیار دوست داشتم. اما مطلقا نه به کسی پیشنهادش میکنم و نه امانت میدم، چون به هیچ وجه نمیخوام با بد فهمیدنش به اعتبار این کتاب لطمه بزنن.
قطعا کتاب سختیه، شاید سخت ترین های عمر یک کتاب خوان متوسط مثل خودم، اما به معنی مهمل بودنش نیست. باید با صبر و دقت خونده بشه، باید بهش توجه بشه و حتما لازمه رمزگشایی های نمادین که ازش موجوده، خونده بشه. خوشبختانه در این ترجمه مقالاتی در انتهای کتاب اومده که صددرصد به فهم کتاب کمک بیشتری میکنه.
اگر کسی هنوز کتاب رو نخونده، این توضیح قبل مطالعه حتما از گیج شدن و دلزدگی جلوگیری میکنه که بدونه لحن هر فصل از کتاب ارتباط مستقیم با حالات روانی و روحیات راوی همون فصل داره. برای توضیحات بیشتر ارجاع میدم به ریویوی کامل دوستمون سهیل روی همین کتاب .
Profile Image for Luís.
1,940 reviews603 followers
August 26, 2023
This masterpiece is a classic, a work that I, all the time, wanted to read.
And here I am again in the heart of America!
An intricate monument surrounded at the start! Rough writing, an upset chronology. Characters with the same first name! A bereaved family, a disabled son, and a son in love with his sister. A distraught mother and a father who died of alcohol.
There is a family full of secrets, servants, and mad humanity.
A shocking reading.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,944 followers
December 28, 2008
Okay, here I go with another one of my dissenting viewpoints. This was my first attempt at reading Faulkner, and I assure you it will be my last.

I don't know how this pile of crap ever got published, let alone became a classic! It's absolutely unreadable! Pure upchuck in print. (As always, just my opinion, so don't be offended if you like the book.)
Profile Image for Perry.
632 reviews533 followers
February 2, 2021
The Twilight-Colored Smell of Honeysuckle

One reared, or with extended family, in the rural South may get chills as I do, in reveling via Faulkner's enduring phrase, "the twilight-colored smell of honeysuckle." This might stir hazy, almost-haunting memories from childhood of crepuscular visits on the veranda with relatives long since passed, of lilting voices and smiling faces somewhat obscured by time, among them a great-grandparent with a foreign accent who migrated from Europe and would break into the foreign language for me. His name was Giovanni and he had landed at Ellis Island in 1910, as an eleven-year-old child from Bologna, Italy and by the time I recall visiting him in the early 1970s, he was a jovial, bald man with a thick accent and thicker glasses.

Traveling forward fifteen years to my college days, I saw The Sound and the Fury as I was perusing a national bookstore chain and bought it because I felt like any educated native Mississippian must read that mythical author from the northern part of the state to be whole. I read ten pages and concluded that Faulkner must have been a sadist to write anything like this. As a university student, I was idealistic and naive. I thought that reading this novel might prove to the world, emphatically, that I was better than the past of my State, that I despised these ghosts and this hate I had no part of, nor f the white sheets, fulgent from flames on a cross (a symbol of my religion, for goodness sakes), the evil beneath those sheets, the ignorant men who passed down bigotry and hatefulness as their only heirlooms to their sons and daughters. I thought if I could read this novel, I would show that I was more intelligent than what people from afar believed. I did not want to be labeled since, as Kierkegaard said, "Once you label me, you negate me."

A few years later I tried to read it again and ended flustered. The sentences were still disjunctive, the thoughts totally scrambled, characters appeared and disappeared and, though it seemed to be changing time frames, I could gain no sense of time. I have since learned that in the first of the four part novel, Faulkner plunges the reader into the mind of the autistic Benjy without any contextualization and then constantly switches the point of reference among Benjy's many memories of childhood.

After my mother passed away six years ago, I drove from the service at the Natchez, Mississippi cemetery, passing the sage green kudzu-blanketed bluffs of the wrinkled and outspread Mississippi River under a canopy of colossal oaks bountiful with pendulant Spanish moss, then turned onto the rugged streets of old Natchez, and traveled past a number of the town's many antebellum mansions.

At the time, it had been twenty-five years since my last go at the novel, and I'd been a father myself for twelve years and was five years into a literary self-renaissance. That day, it dawned on me that I must conquer that crazy novel, but only to prove to myself I could, understanding by then the meaning of the now overused Faulkner quote, "The past is never passed, it's not even past."

That is to say, I cannot do anything about the stereotypes and prejudiced ignorant thinking of others from outside the South. They will forever see the ugly truth of fifty years ago laid out in their archived images from television footage and newspaper clippings, and, on their way through to south Florida, they will see a few instances of a glorified rebel flag on the pickup trucks of racist rednecks, an ever-diminishing population here, and wrongly assume that all Southerners are racist, talk slow and think backwards.

Two out of three is bad. Yet, I cannot change others' thoughts. I can do what I've done, raising my kids in a way that the racism of the South's past was evil and they should never prejudge anyone, not by the color of their skin, their religion, or where they came from. And I can believe they will raise their children the same way.

I finally read The Sound and the Fury a few years ago, with help from a companion guide I'll admit. This was certainly more difficult to read than any novel I've read, but the most rewarding once the code was cracked and I understood and appreciated the brilliance of the complex literary devices Faulkner used and the meanings of things like the smell of wet trees, time ticking by, and the redolence of honeysuckle.

Any Southerner, educated and/or intelligent, who has not read it, should try. And try and try.
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,128 followers
September 16, 2022
“La vida es un cuento contado por un idiota, lleno de ruido y de furia, que no tiene ningún sentido.” William Shakespeare, Macbeth

¿Qué tienen en común William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, Juan Carlos Onetti e incluso James Joyce o Juan Rulfo?
Que todos ellos construyeron parte de su obra a partir de una ciudad inexistente. En el caso de Joyce, basó toda su obra entera en la ciudad de Dublín.
Con respecto a William Faulkner, su creación de la ficticia ciudad de Yoknapatawpha, presente también en otras dos de sus novelas famosas “Mientras agonizo” y “Abasalom!, Absalom!”, fue inspiración directa para que Gabriel García Márquez nos legara la maravillosa Macondo. y Onetti basara sus novelas en otra ciudad irreal, Santa María.
De hecho, Comala, en la novela “Pedro Páramo” de Rulfo también tiene su influjo en la ciudad de Faulkner, quien además cimenta “El ruido y la furia” en otra ciudad que no existe: Jefferson.
Debo reconocer que cuando comencé a leer esta novela me topé con la posibilidad de tener que lidiar con dos cosas, que no la entendiera o que no me gustara, pero, más allá de la confusión lógica del primer capítulo narrado por Benji, uno de los personajes principales que tiene un retraso mental, supe que tenía que poner en alerta todos mis sentidos para captar la esencia del argumento.
Faulkner, sigue en gran parte de esta novela, una técnica creada por James Joyce en su “Ulises”. Me refiero a la utilización del “monólogo interior”, que consiste en un constante fluir de pensamientos, reflexiones y descripciones de la realidad en forma cruda, tal como surgen de su conciencia.
Cuando se leen estos monólogos se topa uno con la dificultad de encontrarse con largas oraciones sin puntuaciones, o sea, sin comas, puntos seguidos e incluso sin el punto final. Todo es volcado al texto desordenadamente, como sucede en el famoso monólogo de Molly Bloom que cierra el “Ulises” y que sirve como piedra fundacional para esta técnica tan compleja.
De este modo están relatados los capítulos de Benji y Quentin, dos de los integrantes de la familia Compson, cuyo linaje y posición social va sufriendo una progresiva degeneración que la va llevando a una desaparición inminente.
Tanto Quentin, como su Benji y el tercer hermano, Jason construyen (y destruyen) las relaciones deterioradas entre ellos, su madre y su otra hermana, Candance o Caddy, quien tiene una preponderancia clave a lo largo de toda la novela, así también como la hija de Caddy, casualmente también llamada Quentin.
Entre el retraso de Benji, el agobio emocional de Quentin y la misoginia y discriminación racial de Jason todo está dado para que se entrelacen múltiples relaciones peligrosas, especialmente, la incestuosa atracción que Caddy produce sobre Quentin.
Todos ellos están corruptos en cierta manera. También es importante destacar el papel que tienen los sirvientes de raza negra que trabajan desde años para los Compson. De hecho, el cuarto capítulo está narrado por Dilsey, la vieja sirvienta de la familia y, durante toda la novela, otros sirvientes, como T.P., Frony y Luster aportan su cuota de dinamismo a la manera en la que Faulkner desarrolla la historia.
Otro aspecto importante es el manejo del tiempo aplicado a la narración, dado que Benji, como retardado mental que es, no tiene manera de diferenciar el presente del pasado, por eso y para complejizar la lectura del texto, Faulkner introduce frases (que corresponden al pasado) en cursiva, insertada en el texto principal.
De hecho quiso ir más allá pidiendo que estos intertextos fueran impresos en distintos colores, algo que el editor en su momento rechazó de plano. De esta forma, pasado, presente y futuro son volcados al texto en forma desordenada, dándole sustento a la frase final de Macbeth.
Todo esto demuestra el nivel de excelencia narrativo que poseía William Faulkner, que me deja con ganas de seguir leyendo más novelas de su autoría e incluso incursionar en sus cuentos.
Mi valoración de esta novela fue de menor a mayor y no podía terminar de otra manera, dado que no es casualidad que “El ruido y la furia” esté considerada como una de las mejores novelas del siglo XX y de todos los tiempos.
Profile Image for فرشاد.
150 reviews298 followers
July 23, 2015
تمام شد و از یک رنج بی پایان خلاص شدم... پیچیدگی های شخصیتی و زمانی و مشابهت های اسمی و افکار پریشان و جمله های بی پایان... هیچی نمیشه گفت..
Profile Image for Jim.
4 reviews
March 20, 2009
First off, I couldn't finish this book. It has to be the most painful and pointless book I have read since The Sun Also Rises. (I know I am treading on precious ground here.)

I have read reviews and SparkNotes on the book, so I understand the premise and format. But what is the point of endless, vague, flowery dialogue without background? How do I learn about the fall of an important Southern family if it is just the fragmented sentences of various people who haven't even been introduced?

When I read reviews on books like this I can only come to two conclusions; 1) I am an idiot or 2) It is a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. No one wants to admit that they can't tell what in the crap this author is trying to tell them, so it must be brilliant work.

Based on all the reviews I have read, it must be #1.
Profile Image for PMB.
92 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2008
Somehow I earned a degree in English Lit w/o ever reading Faulkner. This was the first book I’ve read of his and I can’t say enough about it. This book haunts you. Here’s the thing. You know that feeling you get when you hear a song or see a face that sparks some vague memory? The memory may have been a dream, or may have been something you saw in a movie. It might well have been something that never actually happened to you, but was some fantasy you had years ago. Maybe there’s even a physical reaction? There is a connection, but damn it if you can put your finger on it. Still, it occupies your mind for an afternoon and inspires a train of thought you might not have had otherwise. That’s good right? Of course. That’s what you get with this book. you're trying to find that connection. Another reviewer said reading the Sound and the Fury was like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle with 50% of the pieces missing. I understand the point, but I don’t know if that’s exactly right. I don’t think there are any missing pieces. you just have to alter your expectation of what the completed puzzle will look like.

I've come to understand what people mean when they say "Faulkner is not just chronicling the fall of the south.” I think the more important themes here have less to do with the post-reconstruction era/turn of the century south, and more to do with a broader examination of time and history as it relates to the human/family experience. This is a book that unfolds like nothing I’ve ever read. You're sort of lost for the first 70-100 pages. Our understanding of time as a linear process will confound your experience with the first section of the book. Benjy’s narrative is difficult to be sure, but when the book is said and done, his is the most memorable and maybe the most important. In all, the book is divided into four sections with four different viewpoints. We see through Benjy the past, present, and future existing on a plane rather than a line; Quinton's inability to accept time’s passing at all and his longing for the past (a past he was not necessarily a part of); Jason living only in the present and obsessing over an up to the minute existence; and finally Dilsey who seems the only member of the household with the ability to absorb the past as a part of the here and now, and lives without fear the future. This theme is explored through style. The book is filled with sentences that have no beginning or end, some tete-a-tete with no indication given as to who’s speaking, and all throughout the punctuation isn't exactly wrong, but it certainly isn't correct. Lots of flashbacks, shifts in perspective, and often pages and pages with few if any paragraph breaks. Each character’s perception of time is understood through Faulkner’s experiment with language. It’s like reading a dream. The idea is to pull together all these moments, images, and broken bits of dialogue in order to get to the heart of that feeling I was talking about earlier. “where did this come from? why am I thinking about this? When will I be able to pull it together and figure it out?” you might not get there but it’s heartening to try.

5 stars, A+, thumbs up... all that shit. read this book.
Profile Image for Issa Deerbany.
374 reviews431 followers
March 31, 2018
لتقرأ هذه الرواية يحب ان تقرأ مقدمة المترجم الذي يشرح به اُسلوب فوكنر في هذه الرواية.

الشرف والاباء هذا ما ركز عليه فوكنر في روايته عن عائلة في جنوب أمريكا حيث تاريخ هذه العائلة زراعة القطن واستخدام العبيد .

تأثير الأحداث على أهل الجنوب بعد تحرير العبيد وغزو الشمال بأكثر من طريقة.

الانحلال عند هذه العائلة والشرف والاباء الذي يتغنوا به رغم تغير طريقة الحياة وظروفها.

بلدة صغيرة حيث لا اسرار لأي أسرة. حتى ان العائلة تشعر بالعار من وجود ابن من ذوي الاحتياجات الخاصة . وتعلق الأخ بأخته والذي لم يصدق انها تحب رجلا وأنها فقدت بكارتها وأنجبت بطريق غير شرعية وحتى لم تخبرهم من هو الأب.

تغير الأحوال وبيع الاراضي للتمكن من مجارات متطلبات الحياة والحقد بين الأبناء واستغلال للظروف.

Profile Image for Mark André .
117 reviews249 followers
November 6, 2021
Very difficult book to read. But it’s a blockbuster and certainly worth the effort. Faulkner goes his own way: you either love him or you don’t.
Profile Image for Barbara**catching up!.
1,392 reviews807 followers
October 4, 2022
What in the world did I just read? My book club picked “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner. After 50 pages, I knew I needed an interpreter. To Spark Notes I went.

The first 2/3 of the novel is written in stream of consciousness style. The first 1/3 is narrated by a man with an intellectual disability. He cannot distinguish time. All his memories are in the present, even when he is thinking of the past. Faulkner adds more chaos in character names. There are two Quintin’s and two Jason’s.

I don’t understand why great literature needs interpretation. But that’s my big niggle in literature. I digress. The book is set up in four sections. The first three sections are narrated by the Compson sons, and the last section is narrated by a third-person omniscient narrator. The first two sections were difficult to read because both son’s had mental issues. The second narrator, Quinton the suicidal brother. His stream of conscious was difficult to follow. The third section is narrated by Jason. That was difficult to read because he’s so offensive. He’s deeply racist and blames everyone else for his failings. Additionally, he’s an angry and deceitful man. The last narrator follows their domestic servant, Dilsey, who has raised all the Compson children. It was a strange way to end the novel.

“The Sound and the Fury” is a story of the decline of a wealthy southern family who did not adapt to the new postbellum American South. The Compson family did not adapt to the new south, the south without slavery. They clung to traditional values.

My head still aches from diligently reading the novel and then reading the interpretation. I am so happy to be done……
Profile Image for J.
194 reviews98 followers
April 15, 2022
Vladimir Nabokov said of William Faulkner, "A writer of corncobby chronicles. To consider them masterpieces is an absurd delusion." But Nabokov was well-known as a thorny critic, and often Nobel Prize winners were his targets: Hemingway, Thomas Mann, Albert Camus, and the Southern Gothic master in question.

Mostly, the Russian polyglot did not give good reasons for his distaste for these authors. Of Camus he said, "I dislike him." Thanks Vlad; though that’s not much of an impalement.

He also derided Dostoevsky and Nikolai Gogol, fellow Russian luminaries. Nabokov's own writing is inventive and stylish, but save Camus, all of the above writers were able to convey emotions and write with passion at a more consistent level than he. Perhaps he was jealous of that, or jealous of all those Nobel Prizes. His literary ancestor Tolstoy wrote a brilliant, and well defended, essay on why he felt Shakespeare vastly overrated, but the Lolita author seems instead to toss out ad hominem attacks.

At any rate, this corncobby chronicle IS a masterpiece. Lauded for its innovation and often given up on for its difficulty, The Sound and the Fury is probably Faulkner's most famous work. The catchy title doesn't hurt, taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth. Since the tale of life is told by an idiot in Macbeth, Faulkner's narrator for the first section is a mentally disabled man named Benjamin.

The book is split into four sections which hearken Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Though the weather remains roughly the same throughout the novel, the writing begins like the tumult of a Winter blizzard—the low visibility in Ben's narration, to the ruminative and somber Spring—Quentin’s point of view at college, to the harsh and oppressively hot Summer of Jason IV’s bitterness, and finally to a 3rd person narrator in the fourth section, a clear vision of events not without the knowledge of the coming cold and barren months, the wholly lucid decay of Autumn.

Time flashes back and forth rapidly in Benji's mind. He has no concept of it. What he has a concept of is order, routine, sameness. Benji's disorientation amidst chaos represents the Compson family's bewilderment at their slow decline. Ben is one of Jason III and Caroline Compson’s children. The other children are Quentin, Candace, and Jason IV. Other characters are the womanizing ne'er-do-well, Uncle Maury, and the black servants: Dilsey, Roskus, T.P., Luster, Versh and Frony. We also meet Jason and Caroline's granddaughter, Miss Quentin, Candace’s illegitimate child.

The reason to mention all these characters is that they are almost all well developed in the 326 pages allotted. Another key point is that there are two Jasons and two Quentins. Add to this that the Compsons, later chronologically, live next to a golf course and often hear golfers calling, “Caddie” (Candace goes by Caddy most of the book), and you can see how there can be confusion, especially in the first section.

While reading that particularly arduous first part, entitled April 7th, 1928, keep in mind that things unclear will be illuminated later. By the time the fourth section is read, the high degree of difficulty proclaimed by some may seem exaggerated.

But why should we read this tragic tale from the Deep South? For one thing, the clever pessimistic metaphors: "...all men are just accumulations...dolls stuffed with sawdust swept up from the trash heaps where all previous dolls had been thrown away..." And this one, “A man is the sum of his misfortunes.”

It's typical of this author to write about a once powerful southern family succumbing to the changing times, losing hold or hanging on too tightly to their ideals and ideas of life in a post Civil War world. Incest is suggested, and the betrayals within the family, the unavoidable revenges, are explicitly described. Honor is dealt with sardonically, and the typical is lifted to a higher realm of art.

When reading some parts, mainly in the first two sections, things may seem cloudy, but then you glean a little something, and a little more, and because of the cadence and the abstruseness, those bits you glean burrow deeper into you than if they’d been told in some conventional manner. It seems you are being let in on a deep secret of humanity, and even though maybe you know you haven't really learned any secrets, that feeling way down deep is worth something; it becomes the knowledge of something profound about human beings, about how they don't really know much that is deep or profound.

More nihilism: " is conceived by accident and whose every breath is a fresh cast with dice already loaded against him…he risks everything on a single blind turn of a card—no man ever does that under the first fury of despair…he does it only when he has realized that even the despair…is not particularly important to the dark dice-man.”

Faulkner thinks that the odds are stacked against us. We know we will die, but that is not the worst of it. The worst is that the world that has stacked the odds doesn’t even have pity for our despair and sorrow, our inevitable decay and death.

There is suicide, alcoholism, hypochondria, cruelty, betrayal, castration and plenty of death. Quite a lot of trouble for a relatively short book. Faulkner wanted to cover as many of the timeless struggles of humanity that he could. Here is a great bit about desire, as the neutered Benji is described as, “…trying to want something he couldn’t even remember he didn’t and couldn’t want any longer.”

Jason IV is coldhearted, scheming, mean, and miserable. He is the narrator for the third section, which up to that point is described in the most accessible prose. Despite his mendacity and malevolence, when Jason thinks back on some of the decisions of his father and the Compson clan in general, the reader sees that he is right about a few things. Benjamin probably should have been sent to an asylum. They probably should not have sent Quentin to Harvard with the money from selling 40 acres of pasture.

Faulkner’s use of southern dialect and his spelling of words to mimic the speech of the place and time are added layers and fit the book. The third person narrator who tells the fourth and final part is more eloquent and clear than the previous chroniclers. When this narrator describes Benji’s crying, something the unfortunate lunatic does throughout the book, poetry arises: “But he bellowed slowly, abjectly, without tears; the grave hopeless sound of all voiceless misery under the sun.” Here the Bible is recalled, more specifically its most pessimistic book, Ecclesiastes. The last bit, “under the sun,” is the motif of that book from the Tanakh, repeated many times, and used by the narrator, said to be King Solomon, as a way to convey the frivolity of everything humans do (under the sun).

Throughout the novel Dilsey, who cooks and cleans for the Compsons and whose children look after Benji, can be seen as a glimmer of redemption. She faces her struggles doggedly and manages to find some solace and joy through church or her children, life as it is. But Faulkner never flinches, and redemption is not his theme; any bit of rectification occurs as haphazardly, yet ineluctably, as the tragedy does. In the end, Faulkner’s realism appears pessimistic because it is so real; that is also why it is so good.
Profile Image for J. Yandell.
Author 7 books14 followers
December 15, 2008
This book really made me work for it -- I had to read it three times to figure out what the heck it was all about.

I read it first in college. I was absolutely lost. Yeah, I understand the whole stream-of-consciousness stuff, I do -- but I read this going: "What the f@k?"

I was so freaked about taking the test on this book, that I went and got the Cliff notes on it. I read the Cliff notes and literally turned back to the cover to make sure I'd gotten the right notes. I mean, I read them, and asked myself: "What the f@k? Is this the same book I read?"

I tried reading it again a few years after graduating, because I just didn't want to let this book defeat me. Still didn't understand what the heck was going on.

A few years ago, I was cruising the audio books in the library, and came upon this one. I thought, maybe, just maybe, damnit, this time I'll get it. Because I've found that sometimes I just read too fast, and audio books force me to slow down -- you're at the reader's mercy; you can't skim.

And finally, with the audio version, I FINALLY got this book. I can see the brilliance of what Faulkner was trying to do, but it still pissed me off.

Why? Because I think that the point of a book is to communicate, to share an idea or emotion or experience. The point is not some convoluted self-masturbatory exercise in "ain't I brilliant and profound."

I know that not everybody shares this idea -- they'll talk about "pushing the boundaries of writing, exploring new styles, yada yada yada." Whatever. But for me -- damnit, i'm not stupid. I graduated with honors, i went to a prestigious college on a merit scholarship, I majored in English, and I have read many books that others consider a "difficult read." I am not some schmuck who only reads supermarket paperbacks. And if a book is so d*mned inaccessible as this one, that a college graduate, writer and dedicated reader can't get it without three readings -- then to hell with it. For me, the book is a failure and a bastardization of what a book is truly supposed to be.

That's my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
Profile Image for Mevsim Yenice.
Author 4 books1,009 followers
April 22, 2019
İnanılmaz bir roman. Benim en sevdiklerimden hatta. Yalnız zor ve yer yer bezdiren bir anlatımı var. En azından ilk başlarda. Neyin içinde olduğunuzu anlayana dek zorlanıyorsunuz. Bilinçakışıyla yazmış Faulkner bu romanı. Yine de bana sorarsanız, Joyce, Woolf, Proust gibi bilinçakışcılarla haşır neşir olanları bile hayrete düşürecek bir tatta. Bilinçakışını oyununa öyle güzel alet etmiş ki, daha önce hiç karşılaşmadığınız bir şeyle kafayı bozuyorsunuz resmen. Konu yine aile ilişkileri. Yer yine Amerikan kırsalı.

Bu kez baş rollerimiz "Compsonlar", yani Compson ailesi. Faulkner dört bölümde, dört ayrı dilden, ailenin başına gelen tragedyayı anlatıyor. İlk bölüm Benjy'nin ağzından anlatılıyor. Benjy zihinsel engelli. Onun zihninden geçenleri uzun bir bölümde okuyoruz -ki bence en çarpıcı bölüm buydu- Benim en zorlandığım bölüm de buydu. Çünkü kişilerin kim olduğu anlaşılana dek biraz cebelleştim. İkinci bölümde anlatım Quentin'e yani ailenin erkek çocuğuna geçiyor. Olaylar daha net bir hal almaya başlıyor, siz de yavaş yavaş Campson'ların çiftlikte ikamet etmeye başlıyorsunuz. Sonraki bölüm Jason'ın yani ailenin küçük oğlunun kadrajından anlatılıyor, son bölümdeyse Dilsey -ailenin hizmetlisi- alıyor sazı eline.

Kitap bittiğinde uzun bir maratondan yeni çıkmış gibi yorgun bitap düşüyorsunuz ama Campsonlarla tanışmış, daha önemlisi Faulkner'ın biçimsel labirentinden sağ salim çıkmış olmanın mutluluğu hepsine değiyor. Kesinlike tavsiye ederim.
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