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The Wild Palms - William Faulkner

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Published: 5th October 2000
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In a feverishly beautiful novel, Faulkner interweaves two narratives, each subtly illuminating the other.

'Between grief and nothing I will take grief'

In New Orleans in 1937, a man and woman embark on a headlong flight into the wilderness of illicit passion, fleeing her husband and the temptations of respectability. In Mississippi ten years earlier, a convict sets forth across a flooded river, risking his one chance at freedom to rescue a pregnant woman. From these separate stories Faulkner composes a symphony of deliverance and damnation, survival and self-sacrifice, a novel in which elemental danger is juxtaposed with fatal injuries of the spirit.

About the Author

Born in 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, William Faulkner was the son of a family proud of their prominent role in the history of the south. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and left high school at fifteen to work in his grandfather's bank.

Rejected by the US military in 1915, he joined the Canadian flyers with the RAF, but was still in training when the war ended. Returning home, he studied at the University of Mississippi and visited Europe briefly in 1925.

His first poem was published in The New Republic in 1919. His first book of verse and early novels followed, but his major work began with the publication of The Sound And The Fury in 1929. As I Lay Dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931), Light In August (1932), Absalom, Absalom! (1936) and The Wild Palms (1939) are the key works of his great creative period leading up to Intruder In The Dust (1948). During the 1930s, he worked in Hollywood on film scripts, notably The Blue Lamp, co-written with Raymond Chandler.

William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 and the Pulitzer Prize for The Reivers just before his death in July 1962.

Mr. Faulkner takes us down two paths, apparently unconnected. He calls one story The Wild Palms, the other Old Man. They alternate and never touch, until the very end. Then, the pieces fall into place, and The Wild Palms turns out to be the story behind the story of Old Man. The one story is a story of illicit love - the other story is the punishment. In both, the central character is given a chance to escape and refuses, preferring to serve his sentence of grief. Faulkner has come to grips with his style, and has found a terse, vivid medium, shorn of much of the brutality of his earlier work but still vigorous, dramatic, though not as colorful as his more impassioned and less controlled form. The setting is again the Deep South. (Kirkus Reviews)

William Faulkner

William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter. The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. 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 his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel." Faulkner has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature. Faulkner was influenced by the european modernism, and employed the Stream of consciousness in several of his novels.

Visit William Faulkner's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780099282921
ISBN-10: 0099282925
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Published: 5th October 2000
Publisher: Random House
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.21