It’s been months since I’ve posted something new out here, not including Reblogs, so I figured I’d share my thoughts of my attempt to read William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury. I had published this on Goodreads earlier.
I can’t really say I finished this one–not even close. I read as much as I could take. I loved Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and being that The Sound and the Fury is one of Faulkner’s most celebrated works, I figured I’d enjoy it as well. But I just couldn’t get into it. Since the first chapter/section is a 75 page jumble of various time periods and a heap of characters with poor transition and all told from the perspective of a unreliable, mentally-challenged narrator, it became too much work. Even after reading a guide from a review to help understand what was going on, I still struggled. And for me, that takes away the enjoyment of reading. It becomes like school work. Had the Benjy chapter come after we had an understanding of the family and characters, I might have enjoyed it better.
Still there’s no question that Faulkner set out to experiment and try something different. There is definite literary merit in doing so. In his day it was probably appreciated more than today. All I know is that if I took something like the Benjy section to one of my critique groups, they would pummel me. Does it make it wrong?–no, of course not, this book is a classic after all. I think it just depends on what a person is looking for in a read–some people like to be challenged. But such a cryptic writing style is not considered desirable by today’s writing and publishing standards.
Maybe some day when I feel more patient, and when my mind is not already in the middle of multitasking on a million different things, I’ll give it another shot. After reading some of the other reviews, it seems like you’ll get rewarded if you hang in there. But with so many books to read and so little time, I’m not sure it will ever happen.
For anyone wanting to give this book a try, I recommend this key to understanding the Benjy section that I found in an Amazon review: A Simple Key