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The Wild Palms Paperback – October 31, 1995

4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"There is no writer living who can play upon a scene the rich and Rembrandtesque flame that Faulkner commands" Evening Standard "His prose style is all his own, often sensuously alert, evocative, graceful" Daily Telegraph "Lays to rest any doubts that Faulkner could write a powerful love story" Washington Post "There is an extraordinary vigor and power in his writing, a feverish urge toward description in which words combine in a dense web of meaning" Chicago Tribune --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

William Faulkner was an American writer, Nobel Prize laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. A prolific writer, Faulkner is best known for his novels and short stories, including The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, which are set in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, and the Snopes trilogy which includes The Hamlet, The Town and The Mansion. Along with Mark Twain, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Harper Lee, Faulkner is considered one of the most important writers of Southern literature and is known for his experimental style, including the use of stream of consciousness. Faulkner died in 1962.

Matt Faulkner is a talented and clever picture-book maker whose dazzling ink and watercolor illustrations have graced dozens of well-loved picture books. On his inspiration for "A Taste of Colored Water, " he says, "When I was a boy it would've surprised me to learn that the word COLORED hung over a water fountain didn't mean that this was a magical place where fruit-flavored water flowed on demand." This story has grown out of his lifelong exploration of race and societal intolerance and the questions these institutions raise. His more recent work features several titles that focus on United States history, including "Thank You, Sarah" by Laurie Halse Anderson and "You're on Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt" by Judith St. George. He lives in Oakland, California, with his son.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage International edition (October 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679741933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679741930
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bob Newman VINE VOICE on April 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Faulkner is not everybody's cup of tea, but he happens to be my favorite American writer. While the critics and all those "best books of the century" lists consistently feature "The Sound and the Fury", "Absalom, Absalom" and maybe "As I Lay Dying" as Faulkner's major works--and I too like those books--I have always thought THE WILD PALMS a gem. An underrated, forgotten gem. Perhaps it really isn't his best novel, but still it is a work of genius. I recently re-read it.
Very few novels on the world stage are composed of two completely separate stories. THE WILD PALMS consists of 1) a love story in 1938, taking place in New Orleans, Chicago, Wisconsin, Utah, San Antonio, and the Mississippi Gulf coast, and 2) the story of one man (a prisoner) and his mighty ordeal during the Mississippi River floods of 1927. Parchman State Prison in Mississippi is the sole physical point that joins the two tales, otherwise separate in time, place, class, and impulse. But Faulkner's genius is such that the reader soon understands that the theme of both stories is the same. Faulkner's novels often focus on Fate, how the individual is caught in mysterious, giant webs of `outrageous fortune' beyond comprehension, helpless to oppose the powerful, hidden currents. The present volume is no exception. "You are born submerged in anonymous lockstep"--the main character of story #1 muses on page 54--"with the seeming anonymous myriads of your time and generation; you get out of step once, falter once, and you are trampled to death." In the first case, Wilbourne and Charlotte deviate from the usual path for love's sake, strive mightily to maintain and cherish that love, and pay an inevitable price. In the second, a convict is caught in a flood in a tiny boat when sent to save two people.
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Format: Paperback
I supposed this was not a major work because I hadn't heard about it before. Nope, it's major. The most popular form of this book is to rip it in half and such that Old Man is by itself as a short novel. That's really a shame. Old Man, is a rollicking story of a man swept away on the Mississippi during the flooding of New Orleans in 1927 (Hoover's deft handling of the crisis is a large part of the reason that he became president). However, the story doubles its power when it is juxtaposed with the story of two lovers flooded out of civilization by their aching need for each other. You get two uncontrollable forces of nature, both horrifiying to encounter, and both demolishing the prisons within which the protagonists of each story are previously held (let's say the medical career path of one, and actual prison for the other). A primary question in each is whether it's better to be back in the prison or not, and there's a strong case for yes in each.

Both stories are good, but what makes this spectacular is simply the fact that the experiment is attempted. Who does things like this? There's a thematic link between the stories, but it's fairly loose. However, the back and forth interspersion paces the stories perfectly. In non-stop presentation, I think the tone of either of these would be too much to take. As it is, though, this is actually a page turner. More impressively, these aren't two stories that were slapped together (a la the Golden Slumbers medley (God forgive me) or Scenes from an Italian Restaurant) but were written at the same time after a major heartbreak. There's also the greatest two word last line of any novel that I'm aware of. I won't spoil it.
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Format: Paperback
I love this guy Faulkner. I read another half chapter of The Wild Palms on the train.
Never read anything by him before.
Faulkner's characters don't sit around and examine their navel. They just Do. Yes act on their passions they Do. His characters are not beautiful people. They have scars, injuries, poverty, depraved morals, injustices, suffering upon suffering. What makes the Wild Palms beautiful is the passion of people living life right on the bone.
A married woman is planning on abandoning her husband and two kids and running away with another man. The other man asks her what about her two kids. On page 41, she answers, "I know the answer to that and I know that I cant change that answer and I dont think I can change me because the second time I ever saw you I learned what I had read in books but I never had actually believed: that love and suffering are the same thing and that the value of love is the sum of what you have to pay for it and anytime you get it cheap you have cheated yourself." No Catholic saint-mystic ever said it better. Pretty good for a crazy Protestant drunk.
You hear talk about stream-of consciousness with James Joyce and Jack Kerouac and so on. This guy Faulkner captures the way our minds think and our mouths talk more realistically than anybody.
Of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor said, "Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the same track when the Dixie Limited is roaring down."
Something about this book reminds me of the Stephen King material set in the south, the Southern-ness of it and the same kind of characters.
The omniscient author technique is frowned on in serious, modern literature. I don't knw if this aesthetic rule post-dates Faulkner, but he uses it to no ill effect.
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