Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blown away by The Sound and the Fury

Ok - so when I first started the sound and the fury I had no idea what was going on. 'I think they are on a golf course' I told my business partner Paul. 'I have no idea what is going on.' Half way through the book I felt that I was waisting precious moments of my life reading a piece of crap. However, at some point - probably during Quentin's chapter - I reevaluated.

Why did I reevaluate?? I dont know. Perhaps the language... there is a certain lyricism - and i am a sucker for dialogue. But, at the end of the book a few things struck me...

1) Such a wide expanse of time was covered in such a 200 page book. The fragmented storytelling conveyed more information and feeling than a 1000 page tomb of today's magical realism.
2) What is the story?? The book is really about the construction of narrative, or the construction of myth and meaning. At the end of the day - when you read a story or a myth everything seems so tidy - but the construction itself is messy. While the story is being written you have no sense of the whole completed version - the sound of the fury is like a story writing itself
3) Roshimon - Whose point of view is correct? Seeing the compson family through the eyes of the different narrators in a stream of consciousness voice bring home the fact that every story is told from a point of view.
4) It is a mind fuck - the story seems like a puzzle. Not a post modern puzzle, where the whole point of the novel is the puzzle (like paul auster - of whom I am a big fan). Perhaps puzzle is the wrong word... It is coded. I feel like if i diagramed the whole novel out - parsing out the different stories by the different narrators at different times in the life of the characters I would get another story. There is a second story hidden in the story.
5) This is a modern novel. It struggles with modern themes (and it was written in 1930s I think). Sexuality, Economics, Race, Class - the treatment of these issues are not preachy but are integral to the lives of the character. this is great storytelling - bringing up weighty issues as part of the characters struggles

Anyway I am inspired - I may experiment with this sort of writing for some of my short stories. Also reading Sarte's critique of faulkner - I'm into sarte as literary critic (just was gifted book 5 of the family idiot about flaubert).


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