RARA-AVIS: Wild Palms

From: Duane Spurlock ( duane1spur@yahoo.com)
Date: 12 Jul 2003

Not the Oliver Stone TV mini-series.

For your consideration: I nominate "Wild Palms" by William Faulkner as a hard-boiled story.

Some background: "Wild Palms" is one of two stories that make up the book IF I FORGET THEE, JERUSALEM. Originally the book was published under the title WILD PALMS, against Faulkner's desires. Later, when the editorially corrected and definitive version was published, Faulkner's original title was returned.

"Wild Palms" and the other story, "Old Man," alternate chapters through the course of the book. ("Old Man" is also hard-boiled in its fashion, about an escaped convict and a woman and the flooded Mississippi River.)

"Wild Palms" is about an intern who leaves his residency just a short time before he becomes a fully certified doctor. He leaves with the wife of another man.

The woman, Charlotte, is truly a hard-boiled character. The man indulges in a hard-boiled related field -- he freelances stories to the true confession magazines.

Be warned, the style of writing is not the usual terse, laconic h-b style you're used to seeing from stories written in the 1930s. It's pure Faulkner -- elevated, convoluted.

But the tone is tough, the world in which the characters move is tough, the characters are tough.

-- Duane Spurlock Proprietor The Pulp Rack http://www.pulprack.com

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