2 Sound 2 Furious is a 1930 novel by American author William Faulkner. It is considered a non-canonical sequel to The Sound and the Fury. It follows the continued exploits of the Compson family, notably son Benjy and his companion Luster as they compete in underground wagon races throughout Yoknapatawpha County.
The protagonists go head-to-head with various racers, ranging from Amish identical twins to an all-female crew of émigrés from the exotic Far East, but it’s not until they’re up against Dominic Toretto, a hot-blooded Italian for whom family is everything, that they realize how high the stakes truly are. When Benjy and Luster lose the race, and their wagon, a bitter rivalry erupts, threatening to tear the underground wagon racing scene apart.
When they’re approached by Benjy’s dissolute older brother Jason, now a government agent, to recover a stolen strongbox containing cash and bonds, the racers must learn to put their differences aside because they’ll need Toretto’s help to pull off the daring heist. The former adversaries develop a begrudging respect for one another—which is soon tested when they discover that Dominic has secretly been courting Benjy and Jason’s niece Miss Quentin. The novel ends with an explosive head-to-head showdown, pitting brother against brother in a high-octane stunt spectacular that has to be read to be believed!
Benjy Compson: An intellectually disabled man from a disgraced southern family, Benjy is a talented wagon racer who loves three things in life: wagon racing, his sister Caddy, and fire.
Luster: Benjy’s primary caretaker as well as his racing partner. Luster sets up the races and collects their winnings, but he has one fatal flaw: a soft spot for fast women.
Dominic Toretto: The fiery leader of a no-holds-barred wagon racing crew, Dominic is initially a rival to Benjy and Luster but later befriends them… until an explosive secret comes to light!
Jason Compson: Benjy’s older brother who did the one thing you should never do: betray your own family. This time around, working with the feds, he’s planning on double-crossing everyone!
Miss Quentin: The strong-willed daughter of Caddy, Benjy and Jason’s sister, Miss Quentin ran away after stealing back the money Jason initially stole from her. Now she’s living day to day, never sure how long her luck will hold out.
Uncle Willie: A wise old black wagon mechanic, Uncle Willie possesses supernatural powers—which each side wants to use for their own gain!
Appearing just months after the release of the smash-hit The Sound and the Fury, 2 Sound 2 Furious is considered an uncalled-for cash grab by Faulkner. Widely panned upon release, it sold just 17 copies from a run of 100,000. Despite being hotly anticipated prior to release, the author began to distance himself from the novel once early reviews were published. Writing in The New York Sentinel, critic Orville Buford noted that Faulkner was “…really phoning it in.”
Scholars debate Faulkner’s reasons for debasing himself to this extent but in a letter to his step-son Malcolm, Faulkner himself sheds light on this question. He writes: “The money is quite good. Enough to keep me in whiskey and guns for the foreseeable future, for very minimal effort.”
“The races were calling and we were obliged to seek them out. In Mottson we raced this hayseed for pinks. Benjy could tell right away that his nag wasn’t no racing nag. Scavenged what parts we could off the wagon and lit the rest for firewood. Sold the horse to a glue factory for a nickel! Went wherever we could find a race, winnin’ and winnin’ until we chanced to meet that Toretto in his fancy imported wagon and a horse to look straight out of Zeus himself’s stable. We was to race that night on a deserted street of this town without but even a single stop sign an’ as me an’ Benjy arrived there was a commotion of looky-lous all wantin’ to see how it would go. Different crews showin’ off their wagons. Jezebels the likes of which was never to be seen elsewhere. A man played his horn and people danced to it too! An’ me an’ Benjy the main attraction!”
“There was my brother Jason and he was with the feds and they all smelled like cigars. Jason told us how they wanted us to do a secret mission and they were fit to throw us in jail for illegal underground wagon racing if we didn’t see to it. A man said the sentence was a lot of years in jail! ‘You’re my brother ain’t you?’ Jason said and I could only tell him yes I was. ‘I don’t want to see you in jail,’ he said. ‘You think I want to see you in jail? A poor baby like you?’”
“I love you, Quentin, and I’d do anything for ya but I ain’t never seen a family like yours. Sure they’re great wagon racers, but madone! They’re all crazy as shit. You know that, right? 100% shit crazy.”
“The crowd clamored to see these men who they believed might outrun the devil himself, for who among us hasn’t dreamt of doing this in his own life, of steeling himself, pushing his horse, sweat flying and eyes tearing, until its very limit because wasn’t this what we had been put on this Earth for? And as the crowd pressed in closer, all wanting a piece of the smooth-cheeked Benjy and the grinning Luster, his eyes already casting about for that night’s woman, from far off came a sound of thunder as though even the Lord felt at that moment challenged by their victory.”