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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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he said, she said

I tried to listen to it, but with the sentence structure sounding like the kindergarten "Dick and Jane" books I just couldn't do it. most of the sentences were 3 to 5 words, then he/she/mama / etc said. if the characters had more than 3 to 5 words of dialog at a time, we could probably figure out who was speaking without it being announced at the end of every single sentence! The narrator couldn't have done a good performance because he didn't have good material.

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I dunno

I've been trying to read Sound and Faulkner for...decades, with resources and guides (and I'm a Joycean!) but...this novel's just hard for me to follow.

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Worst book I've ever read

Nothing happens the entire book and very hard to even follow what is happening since the book doesn't translate very well to audiobook due to italicizes sections in the book denoting character thoughts. This is a story of stupid people doing stupid things and reaping the natural consequences. Nothing noteworthy and nothing to learn here. I rarely leave a review but hope that this might spare someone.

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A rewarding listen...just stick with it.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Sound and the Fury to be better than the print version?

No...but if you have a hard time with Faulkner then this is definitely worth the listen. Just make sure you do some extra research to keep the story straight.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dilsey...somebody has to keep these Compson people from themselves.

Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This one while good is inferior to his performance in Absalom, Absalom.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Elitist white people with way too many neuroses.

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 10-20-14

Good, but no Ulysses

The Sound and the Fury starts with a non-chronological stream of consciousness narrative from the point of view of a mentally challenged young boy. This part is a bit hard to follow the first time through and it really helps to read a synopsis (like the Wikipedia entry) before reading this section. Several printed version use italics to indicate the temporal shifts, which are hard to catch in the audio version. At times the prose rise to the level of greatness, but this is not so for of most of the writing. I found the stream of consciousness writing in the first section much less effective (and less enjoyable) than the narration in James Joyce’s Ulysses (which predated The Sound and the Fury by nearly a decade). Here the stream of consciousness, at times, seems inconsistent with the mental capabilities of character, and is subtly broken when the story demands clarity.

Other sections use other narration styles and are more story like. The novel tells a story that rings true, but is unpleasant and unaffirming. This is a story of the slow decay of an upper class southern family and includes demeaning portrayals of black servants, anti-Semitism, and other politically incorrect material.

This novel has some moments of excellent writing, and has some elements that were (almost) revolutionary at the time of publication, yet I found this overall a good, not great read.

This version does not include the appendix covering the fictional family’s history that is included in many later print versions.

Grover Gardner’s narration (as usual) is excellent, particularly considering the challenging material.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Bloo
  • Florida
  • 07-08-14

Was I supposed to like this book?

What disappointed you about The Sound and the Fury?

It's a classic, but I found it so difficult to follow. Part of it was the displacement of time that I think would have been a lot easier to follow in print, since they used italics there. It was so jumbled.

Would you ever listen to anything by William Faulkner again?

I'd be very reluctant to.

What aspect of Grover Gardner’s performance would you have changed?

I would have had something delineate the difference between the timelines- a tone of voice, or some sort of mention.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some of the characters were interesting.

Any additional comments?

I'm pretty sure that anyone who says that they actually enjoy this book just wants to sound smart.

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Made a difficult book so much more understandable.

Any additional comments?

This is not an easy book to understand given its stream of consciousness format, but listening to it made it much more understandable and enjoyable. It really is a masterpiece.<br/>

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  • Richard
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 11-20-12

Excellent Reading of a Faulkner Classic

Would you consider the audio edition of The Sound and the Fury to be better than the print version?

I listened to the audio edition and followed along with the print edition in my hand. The two complemented each other well. The audio book helped to smooth out the complicated parts of Faulkner's narrative.

What did you like best about this story?

Faulkner's unique arrangement of his narrative. The vividness of the characters. Faulkner's instinct for the universal. The interplay of the members of the Compson family and the black characters, whom Faulkner draws well.

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

The liveliness and clarity of his reading. He kept the characters separate from each other and managed various southern U. S. accents well.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I've been re-reading some of Faulkner's stories and listening to some on audiobook. In my opinion, "Absalom, Absalom" is a great novel. I haven' t yet found anything in Faulkner's work to equal it.I don't know where it came from or how Faulkner happened to write it. "The Sound and the Fury" is innovative and cut to a smaller scale. Jason Compson is overdone, one-sided, without notable ambition. Still, it's a fine novel.<br/>

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The Sound and the Fury - Audio Performance

Book: Various lists make this novel a classic or one of the top novels, at least in English. I see the quality in the prose and it is interesting that the novel shows the action of four days from the viewpoint of four persons. It is a slice of life time from this period: early 20th Century rural South from the point of view of a declining white family. I did not like the stream of conscious writing in part of the book since I think the technique foregoes good writing style; it reminds me of abstract art. Overall, I found it well done and I would buy the book. However, I do not think I would read it again versus reading something new.

Audio Production: The reader was excellent and made the book very enjoyable. In fact, I rate the production higher the actual book. However, consider my credentials as non-student of literature.

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  • kd
  • TX, USA
  • 06-11-12

Good intro to Faulkner

I think having The Sound and the Fury read to me helped immensely with my understanding of this complex story by Faulkner. Because it is written in an unconventional way, Gardner's reading made clear immediately what Faulkner was attempting to accomplish. I think I would have been confused had I been strictly reading the text.