If someone is ever interesting in getting into Faulkner, you could very well start with this book. I still think the best book to start with is actually As I Lay Dying because it primes you for Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury, but this is a good introduction into the ideas and themes that carry throughout most of his work. It’s also, I think, the only book where he tackles the war head-on and specifically the war and the aftermath during Reconstruction.
The other thing that’s important to know about the book is that while it’s technically a novel, it’s more or less seven interlinked stories. Even more so than in Go Down, Moses, these stories directly feed from one to another, often begin a new story with a reference to what just happened in the old. Perhaps when he published them separately they were edited a little differently, but that’s how they show up here.
The novel involves a series of events and incidents in which children, women, and slaves left behind when the men of the South had to fend for themselves. Again, it would make sense of such a book feels a little anachronistic now, and Faulkner plays around a little with Lost Cause a bit. I guess the important thing to remember is that these are real people who lived real lives based on their real sense of the world, so that they would want to live their own way is fair for portrayal. As with Faulkner though, he’s interested not in espousing their worldview (this is NOT Gone with the Wind) but in understanding their worldview and seeing how it drove them to make the choices that they did. It’s complicated that way. It’s not however a complicated novel to read, at least as far as Faulkner goes.