Monday, March 24, 2014

Paperback 756: The Wild Palms and The Old Man / William Faulkner (Signet S1148)

Paperback 756: Signet S1148 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: The Wild Palms and The Old Man
Author: William Faulkner
Cover artist: James Avati

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:

  • Contemptuous Annette Bening resents your intrusion into her back-porch reveries.
  • James Avati is by far the best boring cover artist of all time.
  • There are many nice features to this painting—the expression on her face, the color of her shirt, the … let's call it an 'awning,' her bare feet, the grain in the wood … but still, this is pretty dull as covers go. Maybe they dialed it back out of respect for the Nobel Prize?


Best things about this back cover:

  • Yawn.
  • You can do better than this, Signet Giant!
  • The only part of this back cover that I like is the word "drenched."

Page 123~ (from "The Wild Palms")

The yellow eyes were full on him, she released the bitten lip and as he sprang back toward the bed he heard over the chuckling murmur of the wind the two voices at the front door, the porch—the plump-calved doctor's high, almost shrill, almost breaking, that of the gray gorgon wife cold and level, at a baritone pitch a good deal more masculine than the man's voice, the two of them unorientable because of the wind like the voices of two ghosts quarreling about nothing, he (Wilbourne) hearing them and losing them too in the same instant as he bent over the wide yellow stare in the head which had ceased to roll, above the relaxed bleeding lip.

In case you were wondering what "Faulknerian" meant.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]


Stoutcat said...

Shouldn't it be, "...the drenched and bewildering world..." rather than "bewildered"? Hmmm, bewilderd. Bewildering. Now they both sound stupid.

Also, I saw the cover and thought it was one novel titled, The wild Palms and the Old Man (although I'd never heard that title before).

DemetriosX said...

Pffft! That's relatively short as Faulknerian sentences go. There's one in Absalom, Absalom! that goes on for close to TWO pages.

I first read the title as The Wild Pajamas. But I may have been influenced by the sort of content Rex usually gives us.

That is good, though boring cover. It's an excellent piece of art (although some of the damage makes it look like she has a chinstrap beard), but it's poor advertising. Doesn't really make you want to pick it up and see what's inside.

Marla said...


Hm. Somehow I've never described anyone that way.

Larry said...

Any body who is picking up this volume hoping for some titillation is going to be supremely disappointed in Faulkner. I wonder what % of this paperback edition was actually read from cover to cover -- no more than 15%. Probably drops in half if you exclude copies bought for university classes.