Well, my first attempt at this new experiment did not go as planned. I wanted to read eight books this summer (in addition to my other book club reads), but I only managed four and 2/5ths. Granted, I’ve been ridiculously busy with unexpected events, but I’m a bit disappointed that I never got to all the southern novels I picked out, because they all looked so damned interesting! I’ll probably revisit this category to finish off the list, as well as add some other important reads (like everything Carson McCullers ever wrote). Below are my opinions on the two books I was able to finish up this month.
I was incredibly skeptical about starting Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury. Either people are exhausted by William Faulkner or they love him too much, which leads me to believe that they are a bit too pretentious for me. I had to really pump myself up to start this book, but once I did I had a hard time putting it down. I felt myself both aggravated and completely fascinated by the characters, the stylistic choices, and the fact that it felt like there was nothing happening and everything happening at the same time. I did feel a little betrayed by the novel, because not much was answered for me by the end (and boy did I have questions!). Did Caddy and Quentin actually commit incest? How badly did Benjy hurt those girls? I like juicy intrigue as much as the next gossip, but Faulkner only gives us vague suggestions and veiled context. I tend to over think things, so maybe I’m making these plot points into mountains, but the unknown tends to bother me. Regardless, The Sound and the Fury really stuck with me. It was beautiful and sad and really very haunting, and while the first part of the book was incredibly frustrating (and it only got marginally less so later on), I am very thankful that I finally read it.