Addie Bundren dies at the beginning of the book. Before she dies, she extracts the promise from her family to bury her where she grew up. It is a several day journey from where they are currently living. Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a different character in the book. It explains their thoughts on what is happening, and their motivation for fulfilling Addie's dying wish. Some of their reasons are noble, and others quite selfish.
Normally, I do not like stream of conscious writing, but it worked really well in this book. The way the writing style was used to tell the story tricks you. It feels as though you are reading a bunch of jumbled thoughts from the various characters, but there is actually great subtlety to the presentation that draws you in. You grow to appreciate each character's unique voice as you begin to understand their thoughts about what is occurring.
Honestly, this is one of the books you read, and want to read again to go back and see what you missed in the first reading. This was my first time reading a complete Faulkner book, and I liked it. As I Lay Dying leaves you thinking long after you have finished it. There is a dark beauty to this book. I am looking forward to reading more Faulkner in the future.