The Sound and the Fury

by William Faulkner

In Brief

Four different voices recount the disintegration of the once-prominent Compson family in America's Deep South. At the heart of the novel is Caddy, an enchanting but ill-fated young woman who has a profoundly different impact on each of her three brothers. Through the eyes of bewildered Benjy, idealistic Quentin and vicious Jason, we gradually build a picture – finally completed with the perspective of their stoic servant Dilsey – of a family tragedy that embodies the decay of an entire culture.

Why you should read it

Frequently listed as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, this intricately-woven and innovatively structured work grapples with broad themes of racial identity, the collapse of old social hierarchies, grief, power, suicide and sexual mores. With its stream-of-consciousness technique and disregard for linear time, this is a novel that demands careful and patient reading. But in terms of lyricism, passion and intensity, there is little in modern literature to rival it.

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