This could have, and should have been a great book. Unfortunately, Faulkner’s use of the stream of consciousness technique served only to confuse and annoy this reader. His use of various “voices” was effective, however, the out of sequence dates was not. Why start on April 7, 1928 and go back to June 1910 and back to April 6, 1928 and then April 8, 1928? Perhaps there was some significance, but if so, it was lost on me.
Why this could have been a great book were the characters. Even though you hated Jason, the bitter Compson son, you could feel his disgust with others and particularly, his own family. You never feel sorry for the mentally challenged Benjy because you realize, he is the most contented of the Compson family. It was sometimes hard to distinguish the only Compson daughter, Caddy from her own daughter, Quentin as they were both so alike in their rebellion. Overall, the “southern” characters were each unique and had clear and distinct voices.
I’d love to sit down with Faulkner and tell him to forget about the fads (stream of consciousness anyone?) and just let his characters do the writing for him. I’m sure he’d have a thing or two to tell me!
My rating for The Sound and the Fury is an 8 out of 10.
Please check the entire list of Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.