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The Sound and the Fury | [William Faulkner]

The Sound and the Fury

First published in 1929, Faulkner created his "heart's darling", the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson, whose story Faulkner told through separate monologues by her three brothers: the idiot Benjy, the neurotic suicidal Quentin, and the monstrous Jason.
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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1929, Faulkner created his "heart's darling", the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson, whose story Faulkner told through separate monologues by her three brothers: the idiot Benjy, the neurotic suicidal Quentin, and the monstrous Jason.

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(P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (459 )
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3.8 (181 )
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  •  
    Dan Harlow Fort Collins 05-31-14
    Dan Harlow Fort Collins 05-31-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A warning against sentimentality"
    Any additional comments?

    My God, this is a depressing novel. Every word Faulkner writes, every memory that is explored, every action in the novel is distilled into a lingering, oppressive, sadness that is as omnipresent as the honeysuckle Quentin so hated.

    I started off enjoying the novel; I liked the experimental way Faulkner tries to convey the confused mind of Benjy. As someone who grew up with and spent years working with severely mentally disabled adults, I felt Faulkner honestly captured the state of mind of someone who is almost totally unable to experience rational and unselfish thought.

    The second chapter, too, was quite beautiful but at times was nearly impenetrable. Pretty much only the scene with the little girl, when his mind stops wandering and he focuses only on finding her home, really seemed to have much of an impact for me. Everything else - the broken watch, his drunken father's philosophical ramblings, his time with Caddy - seemed ... distant. Distant is the best way I can describe it from a reader's point of view. I never felt like I was part of Quentin's experiences even though we spend so much time in his mind. He was no Bloom.

    The final two chapters were straightforward enough. We learn many of the previously mysterious details that Benjy's and Quentin's minds could not clearly articulate (or were unwilling to articulate). And Jason was a wonderful character - the best in the book. Faulkner certainly has created one of the great characters in literature with Jason.

    But what does this all add up to? Yes, the novel is about the south and the south's decline, but what South? Was there a time when people did not behave badly, were devious, cheats, liars, manipulators, and every other sin you can imagine? Maybe there were times in the Compson family when they were more outwardly respectable, but how do we really know those "better" people were actually any better? Is Faulkner so nostalgic for a long forgotten time that he actually believes we've all degenerated in our time?

    I doubt Faulkner was so naive or sentimental. He write a book in which the main characters are all flawed and fallen ne'er–do–wells, who all long for a time when things were better and resent the present because it didn't turn out the way they wanted it too. Adults who haven't really ever grown up. In a way he wrote a warning against sentimentality, against seeing the past with thick rose colored glasses because if you keep trying to compare yourself against an impossible standard you will only disappoint yourself or, if you're smart, just run away from your entire family.

    From that point of view, then, this isn't a "southern" novel bemoaning the end of one specific time and culture of Faulkner's love that will unfortunately never return, he's trying to warn us from falling into the cycle of always going back to the past. If your mind is always full of how things were and how things used to be then you will miss every opportunity to better yourself tomorrow. The Compson's totally fell apart because they could not come to terms with reality.

    Yet even with such an analysis, I just could not get into this novel. I really wanted to, but you have to approach every work of art from the perspective of how it effects you personally and this novel just made me feel sad after having witnessed so much misery on every page.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Levy Montclair, New Jersey 07-05-07
    Edward Levy Montclair, New Jersey 07-05-07 Member Since 2004
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    "Surprisingly good"

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks, some easy mysteries, others difficult. I was surprised how easy it was to understand and enjoy this reading of The Sound and The Fury. I'm sure I will listen to it again (which I rarely do). I should add that I have read The Sound and the Fury, but that was a long time ago. This reading really brought it to life for me. I highly recommend it, if you are up for somewhat of a challenge and want to listen to an excellent book read beautifully. (I said it was surprisingly easy, but, obviously, it's not as easy as listening to a contemporary mystery novel.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alec Sherman Oaks, CA, USA 06-03-06
    Alec Sherman Oaks, CA, USA 06-03-06
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    "Great reading"

    This is the best reader of Faulkner I have ever heard. He has the perfect Southern dialect and accent for the novel. For those who have never read the book, the first chapter will be confusing. I suggest you at least look at the printed version for a few pages before listening -- it will help you figure out what is going on.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edina DebrecenHungary 01-21-06
    Edina DebrecenHungary 01-21-06
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    "Great narrator!!!"

    English is not my first language so classics are never easy for me, but the narration is truely superb, makes listening very enjoyable!!! I'm gonna check out what other books this guy have narrated, he certainly has the talent of making the story come alive.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall New Berlin, WI, USA 07-31-05
    Randall New Berlin, WI, USA 07-31-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Difficult To Follow"

    This audiobook is very difficult to follow. I had to give up on it after 70 minutes. I listen to audiobooks while exercising and there is simply too much back-and-forth conversation in Faulkner's writing. It's a classic - to be read, not listened to.

    14 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-28-09
    10-28-09
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    "An accent as sweet as pecan pie"

    Hard to say what I enjoyed more, the novel or Mr. Gardner's reading of it. Most of the criticism of this reading is of the novel itself. It's hard to follow, especially in audible form. I highly recommend that the listener study up on the plot before listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Lexington, MA, USA 12-09-08
    Peter Lexington, MA, USA 12-09-08 Member Since 2008
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    "great novel, great narration"

    One of the greatest American novels, and Grover Gardner's narration is among Audible.com's very best. Gardner doesn't just read Faulkner, he becomes him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Pelham, AL, USA 03-19-06
    Janice Pelham, AL, USA 03-19-06 Member Since 2002
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    "The Sound and the Fury"

    I've tried several times to listen to this recording in the car while traveling to and from work, but haven't been able to make it past the first two hours. Faulkner is difficult enough to follow on the written page where you at least have the ability to visually scan back a few paragraphs or pages when you've lost the thread of the plot or dialog, but for me it proved impossible to follow on audio. The endless "he said" "she said" dialog was very irritating to listen to. I don't think I'll try another Faulkner on audio.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kieran P. Doyle Northern NJ 11-12-08
    Kieran P. Doyle Northern NJ 11-12-08 Member Since 2008

    KieranD

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Difficult...at best"

    Faulkner was one of my favorite modern authors when I studied literature. His brilliance is the latency of the revelation. Only a persistent reader is rewarded.

    I had reasonable expectations for audiobooks. When I drive, I fight the tedium by engaging my mind. 20 or 25 full length audios

    This is the first I couldn't listen to. I think I lasted about 2.5 hours (in 20 minute increments) It was awful. The narrator was nasal & he used a falsetto for female voices. The diction was true to the punctuation. Usually an asset, except when reading Faulkner. The repetition of "he said" with indistinguished tone, was torture. The ebb & flow of lucidity, crucial to understanding the text, is inaccessible.

    There are so many great texts to have read to you, this isn't one of them. I suggest that one engage Faulkner at his game, read the book. Don't listen to this.

    11 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 01-30-12
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 01-30-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "train wreck"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing. Maybe I am shallow but i found this to be incomprehensible codswallop. I had to Wiki it because I thought my Ipod was malfunctioning. Once I had got some idea, via Wiki, what was happening in the book I had another go at listening to it, thinking that it might get more comprehensible / enjoyable after Benjy had finished his bit. It didn't - Quentin was just as bad and I gave up wasting my time trying to decipher this pretentious rubbish. A classic? Not in my book.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    A Prayer for Owen Meaney. I've already started it and have understood it so far from line 1. Is this too much to ask?


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Luster


    What character would you cut from The Sound and the Fury?

    All of them except Luster. Then it could be called 'The Incomprehensible Monologue of Luster'


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
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