The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, 1929

Described by Professor Fisher as the archetypical American Modernist novel ranking with Ulysses, To the Lighthouse, and The Wasteland, this book was totally undecipherable for me until Fischer’s lectures.  Divided into four books, each with a narrator representing a different age:  Book 1: Benjy, childhood, Book 2: Quentin, adolescence, Book 3, Jason, adulthood, and Book 4, Dilsey, maturity.  Faulkner plays with time, narrator, symbols, sequence, memory and dialect to explore the Compsons and the Negro family who parallels them.  The book is a great modern elegy of loss using stream of consciousness to create characters through their voices.  Faulkner braids and fuses stories of many characters who are avatars for entire groups.  Non- linear time creates uncertainty of memory and the certainty of irrecoverability.  A difficult book but one that rewards the careful, close reader.