In New Orleans in 1937, a man and woman embark on a headlong flight into the wilderness of illicit passion. In Mississippi ten years earlier, a convict risks his one chance at freedom to rescue a pregnant woman. From these separate stories Faulkner composes a symphony of deliverance and damnation.
As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of William Faulkner's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews James Lee Burke about the life and work of William Faulkner – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.
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- W Perry Hall
Yes. As well as having a compelling story that builds gradually to an intriguing conclusion, The Wild Palms is structured in a way that made me go back to earlier chapters to see how subsequent events are foreshadowed.
The climax of the "Wild Palms" portion of the novel is unforgettable. Having said that, the account of the flood in the other portion, "The Old Man", is also remarkable. The quote, "From grief and nothing, I choose grief", resonates and has an interesting relationship to the French film Breathless, in which this line is quoted.
Marc Vietor gives an excellent performance, well-sustained and with a dignity that serves Faulkner's prose well. The Southern aspect is evident in a good way, without ever seeming overplayed or affected. Faulkner's work is read impressively by various narrators at Audible.com, and this book is no exception.
I took a while to get into this, mainly because of the unorthodox structure. It is difficult to understand the relationship between the two alternating stories. The relationship is not direct but involves themes that echo between the two: loss, endurance, sacrifice, the transience of human relationships, attempts to comprehend intense experiences and to resolve threads of existence. It's a sad book that includes an element of the absurd.
I was surprised to see that this audiobook hasn't been reviewed yet. I downloaded it a while ago and had assumed that other listeners would have reviewed it by now. Although it's not the most famous of Faulkner's books, nor, like any of his work, a light read, I found it to be moving, intriguing and memorable.