5 stars · classic · fiction

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury

Author: William Faulkner

Pages [hardcover]: 420

memorable quote: A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you’d think misfortune would get tired but then time is your misfortune

favorite characters:
Benjy & Caddy


One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in American literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant.


I had to read this book for school and I was worried from the beginning. Not only does the text jump backward in time to about a million places, it barely gives any warning as to when it’s doing so. If any at all. Add in that of the four sections, one is told from the perspective of a mentally handicapped guy, and another from a suicidal one. Talk about some unreliable, and all over the place, narrators.

And yet, this Faulkner guy has to be pretty brilliant to pull off a novel like this, and still have it really mean something in the end. After I got over my initial annoyance, trying to figure out where and when things were happening actually became enjoyable. Fun. And I wanted to know what would happen to the characters, as well as what had happened to them in the past.

This has to be one of the better classics I’ve ever read, and it’s one I’ll be tempted to pick up again. I think every time I’ll read it, I’ll get something new out of it, and there’s no way I can’t appreciate what Faulkner did to get this book to the quality it is. I really recommend it, even if it does seem intimidating. I never thought I’d be able to even understand it, and ended up loving it.



7 thoughts on “The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

  1. Hi Kayla! I just somehow stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for a quick summary of Birthmarked (just got the 2nd book in the series, but my memory was a little rusty) and I absolutely love your blog! I ended up reading a bunch of your reviews, and now i have a bunch of new books to look forward to.
    I am also a high school English teacher, so it is great to be able to give out some reccomendations to my students! Thanks so much!!


  2. Hi Kayla, I’m Amanda. I too stumbled into your blog. It just kills me to read your appraisal of “Sound and the Fury.” Yes, yes, it can be hard work. As is Henry James. As is Joyce. But my god, the writing, the music! I just pulled my copy off the shelf and let it fall open: that description of Dilsey, skeletal, in her layers of clothing… The dark-darkness of it all (that moisture in the air as Dilsey stands there disintegrating “into minute and venomous particles…[that] needled laterally into her flesh…”). The pain of the racism woven into those characters, that time. I will nose around on your blog, but wonder whether you have dipped into Cormac McCarthy’s writing. Some of it so brutal as to be maybe too much. But The Road. Ach! What “Tragedy,” capital “T.” And, gentler certainly, is “All the Pretty Horses.”

    I read your About paragraph. I’m a writer in this vein and have a novel coming out via Harper Davis Publishers next May, GOING TO SOLACE. Would you be interested in looking at it? The subject not NEARLY as dark as Faulkner’s, but the milieu is the Blue Ridge Mountains, the relationship to language is lyrical (not so dialect-laden, but it has the cadences of Appalachia).

    I look forward to more of your reviews. I just finished Jennifer Egan’s A VISIT TO THE GOON SQUAD — a very different book and writer. LOVED it.

    Okay, bye. I’m http://amctigue.wordpress.com/. Best, Amanda


    1. Hey Amanda! I kind of like it that reading Faulker is harder than, well, most other things. It actually forces you to think-and with so many layers of meaning, every time you read you can get something different out of it.
      I haven’t actually read anything by McCarthy, but now I’m tempted to look something up!
      I’ve looked at your website and read the summary of Going to Solace. It does sound interesting! It sounds like something I’d definitely read!


  3. It’s a deal. The release is in May, so I should have a galley copy for you maybe a month before that. It’s up to my publishers, but I’ll be sure to get a copy to you as soon as I have one. Meanwhile, I’m going to check out the Happy Birthday to Me series. Cheers! A


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