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The Sound And The Fury (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 19 Jan 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (19 Jan. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099475014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099475019
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"One of the most important works of American literature this century" (Observer)

"Faulkner has inexhaustible invention, powerful imagination, and he writes like an angel" (Arnold Bennett)

"For range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterisation, humour and tragic intensity [Faulkner's works] are without equal in our time and country" (Robert Penn Warren)

"Its unlike anything else in literature... The experience of reading it seemed closer to the experience of life than anything provided by a neatly contrived story line... After the war I read all I could of William Faulkner, and he continued to present some unique and, it seemed to me, valid way of looking at life" (Nicholas Mosley Guardian)

"Not only was the book a kind of beginning for me, but that it endured still, it moved me deeply and remains "the damndest book I ever read"" (Niall Williams Sunday Times)

Book Description

A towering, intense novel of family from the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literarture.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
Not for the beach, this one. But certainly worth ploughing through if you want to stretch your brain and think about life and death and consciousness. Most people will dismiss this book in the first few pages - it is notoriously difficult to get to grips with, and actually requires two readings before it starts to make any sense. But, as a reflection on the incomprehensible nature of life, that's not bad. Most of us make little or no sense of our three score years and ten; in relative terms The Sound & the Fury is a breeze! This is a tragic story, and all the more so for the choked narrative voice of the dead. The repression in these pages is countered by the rebellious and almost unpunctuated text, and the contrast is stunning. It soon dawns on you - as a reader who is impatient at the challenge to traditional literature - that we're all victims of a man-made environment, and by social mores that cripple and destroy our souls. Faulkner's novel is not, by any stretch, the most enjoyable or entertaining that you will ever read. But it is certainly one of the most brave, and I would recommend it highly if you want to confront your own demons.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall on 1 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
Faulkner is often regarded as a "difficult" novelist, and this book is indeed a densely dilineated, complex tome. It is also, however, incredibly straighforward. It is one of those texts that you just have to go with. Too many readers approach this book with trepidation, because they have been told they are not going to understand it. Turn loose of your preconceptions about fiction and about narrative, and you will be amply rewarded.
Faulkner, along with Joyce, was a master of stream-of-consciousness narrative, and this is his masterpiece in that regard. To appreciate such a technique, you must as the Beatles exhorted, "turn off your mind, relax and go downstream." Go with the flow, no matter you noxious that sounds these days. If you let yourself think for a while as Benjie does, the whole patchwork makes perfect sense.
This is a family novel, more than anything else, but it is obviously not about the Waltons. Faulkner made a career out of delineating the disfunction of not only Southern families, but of the South itself in the era following its ignominious Civil War defeat and surrender . The whole social structure broke down from within, and though no apologist, Faulkner was enough of a realist to depict the society in all its infirm decline.
Southern revisionists can come along and deny its accuracy, but for a true picture of ther region in the first half of the 20th century, Faulkner is more accurate than any social historian.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Feb. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book revolutionized the way I looked at writing. The idea of writing some of the chapters from the point of view of a person who cannot even speak and who is about on the brain level of a baby is absolutely brilliant to me, as is the fact that Caddy's voice is never clearly known; instead, only her brothers, Benjy, Quentin, and Jason lead the narrations, opening up the forum for so many possibilities of who Caddy really is and what the nature of her sexuality is as it moves from her to her daughter Quentin. The idea of Benjy, running up and down the fence screaming for Caddy, will be with me for the rest of my life and will creep in every time I try to write a page of my own. The title is one of the most perfect I've ever encountered, taken, of course, from Shakespeare: "Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 April 2011
Format: Paperback
...but what is real, and what is imagined? It certainly depends on one's perspective, and there is a spectrum of those reflected in the dissolution of the Compson family. As another reviewer said: It isn't much fun to read, but it is an amazing re-read. Fortunately I still had my Vintage, $1.95 copy which I first read 40 some years ago, and yes, it was such an amazing re-read, with one's own perspective altered after lo' those many years. It really does flow so much easier the second time around.

The title is all too appropriately derived from William Shakespeare's Macbeth (Modern Library Classics): "...Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." The first of the four parts is literally told by an idiot, Benjy, and it remains a powerful work of the imagination for Faulkner to have attempted his perspective on events, in a time-shifting, over three decades, stream-of-consciousness mode. The following two sections are told by his brothers, Quentin, who ventured north to Harvard, and Jason, who had to stay at home, cynical and realistic. Both idiots too? And it was Dilsey, the black servant who told the last part. Faulkner is a master of the straight prose, and there is much of that in the story-telling of Jason. But Faulkner seems closest to plumbing the depths of the human condition in his incisive, rambling stream-of-consciousness style, particular as told by Quentin.

And the themes. Lawdy, as Faulkner might write. He was composing sordid "reality TV" long before TV. Incest is better than out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Or, as the author wrote: "...
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