William Faulkner

William Faulkner was an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature generally and Southern literature specifically. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, for which he became the only Mississippi-born Nobel winner. He is best known for his novels, short stories, and plays, particularly those set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, a setting he created based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he spent most of his life. Faulkner's writing is highly regarded for its complex narrative structures and depth of character and language. Some of his most famous works include 'The Sound and the Fury', 'As I Lay Dying', and 'Light in August'.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Sound and the Fury

    The novel is a complex exploration of the tragic Compson family from the American South. Told from four distinct perspectives, the story unfolds through stream of consciousness narratives, each revealing their own understanding of the family's decline. The characters grapple with post-Civil War societal changes, personal loss, and their own mental instability. The narrative is marked by themes of time, innocence, and the burdens of the past.

  2. 2. Absalom, Absalom!

    This novel is a complex narrative about Thomas Sutpen, a poor white man who rises to power in the South, aiming to create a dynasty that would rival the old aristocratic families. However, his ambitions are thwarted by his own flawed decisions and the overarching racial and societal tensions of the era. The story is not told in a linear fashion but rather through a series of interconnected flashbacks and narratives, offering different perspectives on the same events. The book explores themes of family, class, race, and the destructive power of obsession.

  3. 3. As I Lay Dying

    The narrative unfolds through the eyes of 15 different characters over 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her poor, rural family's quest and motivations—noble or selfish—to honor her wish to be buried in her hometown of Jefferson, Mississippi. As the Bundren family undertakes a journey to fulfill Addie's last wish, they face many hardships and personal revelations. The novel explores themes of existentialism, death, and the nature of family relationships.

  4. 4. Light in August

    Set in the American South during the 1930s, this novel explores complex social and personal issues through the intertwining stories of its characters. The narrative primarily follows a man of ambiguous racial identity on a quest to find his father, a pregnant woman searching for the father of her unborn child, and a disgraced minister attempting to navigate his own moral compass. The book delves into themes of identity, race, and the human struggle for understanding and redemption, all set against the backdrop of the deep-rooted prejudices and social norms of the time.

  5. 5. If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem

    The novel is a collection of four related stories, each focusing on a different protagonist. The stories are set in the Southern United States and explore themes of love, loss, and the struggle to survive in harsh circumstances. The characters are often isolated and alienated, struggling with their own personal demons and the harsh realities of their environment. The narrative style is complex and challenging, with frequent shifts in time and perspective, reflecting the fragmented and chaotic nature of the characters' lives.

  6. 6. Sanctuary

    "Sanctuary" is a gripping tale set in the American South during the Prohibition era. The story follows a young woman from a well-to-do family who is kidnapped by a gang of bootleggers, leading to her descent into debauchery and criminality. As she navigates the seedy underworld, the novel explores themes of social decay, moral ambiguity, and the inherent violence of humanity. The narrative is marked by the author's characteristic complex storytelling and vivid descriptions of the Southern landscape.

  7. 7. The Collected Stories of William Faulkner

    This collection of short stories encompasses a wide range of themes and settings, all penned by a celebrated American author. The stories, set primarily in the American South, explore complex human relationships, societal norms, and the human condition through a variety of characters and narratives. The author's distinctive narrative style, marked by intricate storytelling and deep psychological insights, is evident throughout the collection, which includes some of his most famous and critically acclaimed short works.

  8. 8. A Fable

    This novel is a World War I allegory where a Christ-like figure emerges within a French regiment, sparking a mutiny. The figure, a corporal, persuades his squadron to not attack in the bloody conflict, leading to their court-martial and execution. The narrative explores themes of war, morality, and the human spirit, with the corporal's actions causing a ripple effect, impacting the lives of soldiers, officers, and even a Jesuit priest.

  9. 9. The Hamlet

    "The Hamlet" is a complex narrative that explores the lives of the Snopes family, their rise to power, and their struggle with morality in a small southern town. The story is filled with themes of greed, manipulation, and the quest for power, as the Snopes family uses cunning and deceit to gain control over the town and its inhabitants. The novel is a vivid portrayal of the dark side of human nature and the destructive power of ambition.

  10. 10. The Portable Faulkner

    This collection showcases the work of a celebrated American author, featuring selections from his novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, and essays. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the author's distinctive narrative style and his exploration of complex themes such as identity, race, and the human condition, set against the backdrop of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County in the American South. It serves as an excellent introduction to the author's oeuvre, demonstrating his profound influence on 20th-century literature.

  11. 11. A Rose for Emily

    "A Rose for Emily" is a Southern Gothic short story about the life of Emily Grierson, a woman from a once prestigious family who lives in isolation in her decaying mansion in a small Southern town. Emily's life is narrated through the eyes of the townspeople, revealing her struggles with her father's controlling nature, her romantic relationship with a man beneath her social status, and her descent into madness. The story is renowned for its unexpected and shocking conclusion, which reveals a dark secret Emily has been hiding in her home.

  12. 12. The Reivers

    This novel is a humorous coming-of-age story set in the American South in the early 20th century. It follows a young boy who, along with two companions, steals his grandfather's car and embarks on an adventure to Memphis. Along the way, they encounter various characters and situations that challenge their morals and force them to grow up quickly. The journey serves as a metaphor for the loss of innocence and the harsh realities of adulthood.

  13. 13. Go Down, Moses

    This novel is a collection of interconnected stories that explore the complex relationship between race, heritage, and land in the American South. The narrative primarily focuses on the McCaslin family, a family of white landowners, and their relationships with the African American individuals who were formerly enslaved by them. The book explores themes of racial exploitation, inheritance, and the destructive power of obsession, particularly through the character of Ike McCaslin, who renounces his inheritance due to its roots in slavery.

  14. 14. The Wild Palms

    The novel intertwines two distinct narratives: one follows a young couple, Harry and Charlotte, who rebel against societal norms by eloping and living a transient lifestyle fueled by passion and disregard for consequences, while the other narrative presents the story of an older man, McCord, serving time in prison for murder and reflecting on his life and the events that led to his incarceration. The two stories, set in the contrasting landscapes of the untamed wilderness and the confines of a cell, explore themes of freedom, love, and the inexorable consequences of personal choices, ultimately revealing the tragic and inextricable link between the two tales.