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  • Writer's pictureCharles I. Guarria

The Sound and the Fury a William Faulkner Novel

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

Released in 1929, The Sound and the Fury did not receive critical acclaim until 1931. Some of you might be thinking, 'wow, it took a long time for that book to become popular.' I'm wondering why it ever became popular.

The story centers on one family, the Compson's, who live in a small Mississippi town. No spoiler alert; safe to say they have a dignified past and a complicated present.

The reason why I read it is Mr. Faulkner's use of multiple narrations. He uses four points of view. In my most recent manuscript, I used three. I thought, why not see what a brilliant writer such as Faulkner did with a technique that is similar to what I did.

Perhaps in 1929 people were deeper thinkers, more intuitive than we are today. Maybe they did not need to be hit over the head with every facet to realize what is happening?

Or maybe it's me.

Either way, the point is, The Sound and the Fury is a mess.

Who knows who is narrating when and why and what year it is, and oh, I could go on. Safe to say, nothing about this book is clear until one reads the appendix, which was added to the book 16 years after the initial printing.

The appendix is an interesting story. When The Portable Faulkner (1946, Random House, Viking Press, Penguin Classics) was to be published, Mr. Faulkner wrote an appendix to make the book better. (Every writer always feels they can make the book better.) :)

He was correct. The appendix clarifies so much of the mishmash that is the original tome that I wish it, the appendix, was the way the entire book was written.

My favorite character is Dilsey, an older African-American servant who is the clearest, most level-headed person in the book. The rest of the characters are so problematic that they don't seem real.

Sure, everybody has their problems at one time or another. But to the extent that the Compson's do? Well, that's why it is called fiction.

The Wiki page calls the story "opaque." Many reviews refer to how hard a read it is, yet the book maintains its status as one of the best that has ever been written.

What is my recommendation? Pick it up, give it a try, or perhaps preview it online to see if Mr. Faulkner's style is to your liking.

If you get frustrated, your head starts to spin trying to figure it all out; just remember, I warned you.

Please like, comment, and share.

See ya soon!



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