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The Wild Palms Paperback – October 31, 1995
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a book by Faulkner, so good anyway, but I'm pretty sure I lost the train of thought along the story (ok I have read it all in a bookshop without buying it while I was... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gonza
An oddity that in the end makes perfect artistic sense. In OLD MAN the world has returned to its original state: water. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Chadwick Henley Essex
The story of the couple es fantastic, but the one about the flood, unbearable.Published 18 months ago by Verónica Paula Valdi
Two beautiful tales told together. It's William Faulkner in fine form. If you've enjoyed a few of his other books, you'll probably lap this one up too.Published 22 months ago by Andrew C.
At times strains for effect but poetic, deeply moving, a story of a man who finds he cannot live without one woman twinned with a story of a man fleeing one to the monkish... Read morePublished on June 29, 2014 by Kent Miller