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The Sound and the Fury


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I bought this book a while ago following the comments of other BGO readers on various threads throughout the site.  It has been sitting on my book shelf for a while as although other readers had praised the book they had also stated what a difficult read it was. They were not wrong there!  As usual for me I started the book without reading the description on the back of the book or the comments on this thread.  I always like to come to a book knowing as little about it as possible to avoid spoiling anything.  Having now finished the book and read through most of the discussion here I am not sure whether in this particular case that was a good idea!  I have especially enjoyed Binker's comments and advice on reading the book and in some ways I wish that I had read her spoilers before starting the book.  Having read through the discussion however I think that in some ways I am glad that I read the book cold.


From all that I have read here it seems that I have understood the book pretty well which I find rather rewarding.  I found the first two sections told by Benjy and his older brother Quentin really difficult although strangely compelling reading.  While reading the two sections I told RG that I felt as if I was reading through a fog.  Every so often the fog would clear a little and I would feel as if I was beginning to get a grip on both the story and the characters involved only for the fog to thicken again and be back in total confusion.  


I plodded on in the hope that all would eventually become clear.  I could not help but believe that at least some of the story would become clear as so many other readers had praised the book.  I am so glad that I persevered.  Unlike many other readers I loved the third section told by Jason the eldest brother.  He really has to be one of the most horrible of characters!  His bitterness oozed from him.  His attitudes revolted me but somehow they made his character more real for me too.  I like to feel something for my characters and although I felt nothing but revulsion for Jason I found the book difficult to put down while reading his section.  Like many other readers I found the fourth section a little of a let down.  It was far easier to read than the first two but nowhere near as compelling reading as the third section.  


By the end of the book I felt as if I had understood most of what had happened to bring the Compson family to their present position although I am sure that some of the deeper meanings of the book passed me by.  The Compson family really are a pretty awful bunch of people.  Living with such little love or concern for one another just led to the break down of the family.


While reading the book I thought that I would not be reading anymore of Faulkner. Having finished it I am not so sure.  Although a difficult read it really is a brilliant book.  I am very glad that I carried on through my difficulties and finished the book.  It has been a really rewarding read.

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I am so glad you persevered!  A lot of people (including Mr. Hobgoblin) love As I Lay Dying, so maybe go there.  I didn't love it.  I just re-read Absalom, Absalom and I'm afraid I don't recommend it, even though Quentin and Shreve are 2 of the narrators.  I think I read The Unvanquished in High School and Luna really liked Flags in the Dust.

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I'm glad that you enjoyed it in the end CP.  Faulkner can be difficult but is always rewarding - imho - so the harder the text the more rewarding the perseverence.  I read Absalom, Absalom this year with Dan and Binker and absolutely loved it, Dan didn't and neither did Binker. 


The Sound and the Fury is stream of consciousness, that's why it's difficult to understand and Absalom, Absalom is circumlocution stream of consciousness which is even harder.  Faulkner does write without using s-o-c which I find marvellous too.  Actually I've loved every single thing that I've read of Faulkner's and look forward to reading them again.  I did a review of Flags in the Dust so that will tell you if it's s-o-c.

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Thanks for the advice Binker and Luna.  I might give Absalom, Absalom a miss for now but may well try one of the other two.  Not sure if I am quite ready for something even more demanding than The Sound and the Fury just yet!!

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