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The Wild Palms

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,754 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
In this feverishly beautiful novel—originally titled If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem by Faulkner, and now published in the authoritative Library of America text—William Faulkner interweaves two narratives, each wholly absorbing in its own right, each subtly illuminating the other. In New Orleans in 1937, a man and a woman embark on a headlong flight into the wilderness of illi ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 31st 1995 by Vintage (first published 1939)
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As I Lay Dying by William FaulknerThe Sound and the Fury by William FaulknerLight in August by William FaulknerAbsalom, Absalom! by William FaulknerSanctuary by William Faulkner
Best of William Faulkner
8th out of 74 books — 45 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyOf Mice and Men by John SteinbeckThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Best Books of the Decade: 1930s
190th out of 455 books — 771 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 28, 2012 Mat rated it it was amazing
Greatest Faulkner book I have read so far! Fan-bloody-tastic. I liked this even better than Absalom! Absalom! And it was much easier to follow.

The Wild Palms is a novel which actually consists of two different stories. Faulkner decided to interweave two different stories to build each respective story more towards its climax. Faulkner actually wanted to call this novel If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem but his editors insisted on calling it The Wild Palms, the title of ONE of the two stories in this n
The Dialogue in this Novel is Truly Downright Embarrassing

I've read that other writers sometimes laughed at the dialogue in some of Faulkner's novels. I'm no Faulkner scholar; after having read or re-read nearly all of his novels now though, I'd say this book is THE primary suspect. While conversations were not Faulkner's strong suit, the conversations between the two lovers here is so clumsy it could be mistaken for overdramatic middle school improv. I am not exaggerating when I say that I've n
Dec 04, 2014 Ginny_1807 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La singolarità della struttura, unita al virtuosismo dello stile, rischia di mettere a dura prova il lettore meno paziente.
Tuttavia se si entra nel meccanismo e ci si lascia prendere dal ritmo solenne e dal realismo visionario di queste storie, ci si rende conto di trovarsi di fronte a un’opera insolita e di grande valore.
I due romanzi che la compongono, narrati a capitoli alterni, si snodano parallelamente percorrendo luoghi e tempi diversi.
All’apparenza non hanno nulla in comune,
Aug 21, 2009 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: louisiana
There he is, the Old Man, the river that is something of a deity in the American South. The muddy water that threatens and nurtures and has a will and a force that can not be predicted or tamed, even in our time.

In this book you have a prisoner struggling against the whims of the Mississippi. Convicts are enlisted to rescue stranded peasants. A tall convict is asked if he can row a boat, he says he can, probably because he doesn't know what he is promising. The point is made that this convict al
Oct 30, 2013 Guido rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stati-uniti
Due racconti, separati e distinti, si dividono la singolare struttura alternata di questo romanzo. Avrei voluto trovare un motivo, un collegamento inequivocabile tra le due vicende; purtroppo non sono stato sufficientemente attento. È stata una lettura molto amara: non mi sentivo testimone, ma vittima dei pensieri e delle azioni dei protagonisti; della duplicità della narrazione, che trovavo sleale nei miei confronti; degli eventi, che non riuscivo a confinare tra le pagine. Per queste ragioni n ...more
Eddie Watkins
Oct 08, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-fiction
Charley Patton's 2-part song "High Water Everywhere" is about the same flood portrayed in this book. This little factoid, realized after I finished the book, made me swoon.

I couldn't finish the book the first time I tried, as I was in college and still thought in the back of my head that my girlfriend and I could just drop out and "live on love". The impossibility of this strategy so hammered home in this book really frightened me at the time, but instead of finishing the book and learning my le
Initial review:
Wow. Empathize this: a woman dashes away from her two children and husband for "freedom" and dysfunctional "love", even, or especially, when it means living hand to mouth. A "doctor" relinquishes his freedom for her and risks his life for that shadowy bond that may enable his escape from life and responsibility. And a convict is tossed about on the raging flooding Mississippi, yet constrained to act morally and ethically, simultaneously rising above, and being restrained by, his s
Mohsen Rajabi
Mar 08, 2016 Mohsen Rajabi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
آدمهای داستانهای فاکنر معمولا عادی نیستند... نویسنده معمولا شخصیتهایی خلق میکند که بسیار برجستهاند و به خوبی در جامعه متمایز میشوند. قهرمان اصلی نخلهای وحشی، شارلوت است، زنی که در هیچیک از قالبهای سنتی که برای زنان در نظر گرفتهاند نمیگنجد. هری نیز از طرفی دیگر مردی است که نمیتواند مشغولیتها و زندگیای عادی را که برای همهی مردان در نظر گرفته میشود، در پیش بگیرد. البته آشنایی با شارلوت نیز در رفتاری که هری از خود نشان میدهد مؤثر است، ولی در ابتدا نیز چیزی در او هست که در مردان عادی جامعه نیست.
در ای
Kay Wright
Apr 25, 2011 Kay Wright rated it it was ok
I'm an Faulkner addict, slogged my way through Abaslom, Absalom, and fell in love with Light in August. When our bookclub decided to each do a classic, I found this early piece that I had missed during my quest to read all Faulkner. (I got into the early Hollywood junk and gave up but that's another story.) If I Forget Thee Jerusalem, which was published as the Wild Palms over WF's objections, is two stories that never intertwine. I had read one of them, the convict who rescues the pregant woman ...more
Nov 03, 2014 Bastet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me ha costado mucho terminarla, de hecho la abandoné antes de llegar a la mitad, y, la verdad, no entiendo por qué la crítica considera esta novela la obra maestra de Faulkner. Supongo que no estoy preparada para apreciar las virtudes de este escritor. Desde el principio pensé que el hecho de que se alternaran dos historias tan diferentes entre sí cobraría sentido al final, cuando ambas convergiesen al coincidir los dos hombres, el médico y el fugado, en la misma cárcel; pero no solo no ocurre e ...more
May 17, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing
This is a Faulkner must-read, but not without some problems. "Wild Palms" is as modernist a novel as anything by Virginia Woolf. The alternating stories - which seem to have no surface relationship whatsoever, is daring and artsy stuff. But does it work? The "Wild Palms" portion tells the story of two lovers, one who is married, who cast everything to the wind in order to live a bohemian life devoted to Love. I noticed one reviewer commented that theirs was a selfless love. Quite the contrary. O ...more
Kenneth Iltz
Jun 22, 2015 Kenneth Iltz rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
I haven’t read William Faulkner for a long time. Often, I find his books difficult reading. This is not the case with Wild Palms. The book is comprised of two stories, a love story and a river story, entitled "Wild Palms" and "Old Man.”.
"Wild Palms" tells the story of Harry and Charlotte, who meet, fall in forbidden love, travel the country together for work, and, ultimately, experience tragedy when the abortion Harry performs on Charlotte kills her. "Old Man" is the story of a convict who, whi
Zoha tajik
رمانهای کلاسیک یک جوری اند که آدم را درون خودشان میکشند، میگذارند با شخصیتهاش خو بگیری و بشناسیشان. و نخلهای وحشی از این قاعده مستثنا نبود. میدانم که پس از این علاوه بر توم جاد خوشه های خشم و آنا کارنینا و و خیلی از شخصیتهای خیالی دلم برای شارلوت، ویلبورن و زندانی بند قد این رمان هم تنگ می شود. و دلم برای شارلوت بیشتر از همه شان!
Jul 29, 2015 S'hi rated it really liked it
Can someone please tell me what I just read?
There is so much detail in this book, told with an almost stream of consciousness style, that I feel like I was mesmerised and missed most of it. I was caught in the flood, but it wasn’t a physical flood – or was it?
It begins with a seemingly passionless passion and covers such a range of emotions that the walk through the snow describes perfectly that it becomes difficult to process everything in its intensity.
That I had just read Richard Brautigan’s
Brian Willis
Jun 28, 2015 Brian Willis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, Faulkner's writing intersperses consciousness streaming prose with moments of intense beauty and suffering. In this novel with alternating stories, one sees two very different protagonists make very different decisions about their life, both almost casual and instinctual but with very different results. The story told in "The Wild Palms" section of the book is vivid, intense, and at times very harrowing (how did Faulkner get away with the subject matter in 1938? Wow). "The Old Man" is ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Aprile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lievi anticipazioni (non più comunque di quanto appaia nel risguardo)
Generalmente prima di iniziare un nuovo libro, lo sfoglio, lo soppeso, ne leggo il risguardo - per la precisione - lo rileggo. La prima lettura era già avvenuta all'acquisto ma questa nuova è fondamentale per le precedenze, mi deve colpire in quel momento particolare in modo da indicarmi il libro da iniziare. In questo caso, però, tale lettura è stata nociva. Mi ha distratto dal godimento spontaneo del testo. Il lettore viene a
Ehsan Sharei
May 15, 2016 Ehsan Sharei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
جایی خواندم که فالکنر داستان نخلهای وحشی را به نوعی ناقص و ناتمام حس میکرده، و به همین دلیل داستان دیگری به نام پیرمرد را در میان فصلهای آن گنجانده است. این دو داستان که به ظاهر هیچ وجه تشابهی با هم ندارند به طرزی معجزه آسا در فصلهای پایانی کتاب یکدیگر را به خوانند یادآوری میکنند. کتاب همانند همه آثار دیگر فالکنر دارای لحظاتی خاص و ناب و نفسگیر است که آن را در میان آثار ادبی بزرگ جهان قرار میدهد. نثر ادبی کتاب و البته ترجمه فارسی کمی پایین تر از سطح آثار دیگر فالکنر نظیر خشم و هیاهو، آبشالوم آبش ...more
Dec 04, 2014 Margarida rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Palmeiras Bravas" inicia-se quase no final da história de amor, brutal história de amor entre Harry Wilbourne e Charlotte Rittenmeyer, ela que abandonara marido e as duas pequenas filhas, ele virgem até aos vinte e sete anos, não sabendo, até aquela altura, o que era amar.
Um amor trágico, sofrido, entre uma mulher forte, que se recusa a ser mãe e quando ela o força, as consequências são catastróficas.
Pontuado por longas e complexas frases, não deixa de ser um romance fascinante, embora algo di
Jul 02, 2016 Kienan rated it really liked it
Not your typical "love story" which I enjoyed. Time moves quickly in this one... A bit hard to keep up at times. However, the writing is outstanding. Love the way Faulkner spoke.
Vit Babenco
Apr 19, 2014 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing
The Wild Palms appeared to me the most beautiful novel ever written by William Faulkner. Two parallel tales of love and agony are permeated with the ultimate humanism.
“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.”
Love creates suffering and suffering makes us human.
Eddie Tafoya
Jun 15, 2015 Eddie Tafoya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Faulkner's unappreciated masterpiece. Especially the "Old Man" sections.
Feb 09, 2016 My rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This must be my least favorite from Faulkner.
Chicko Rain
"Wilbourne lại trầm ngâm suy nghĩ về khả năng bẩm sinh với cơ chế sống chung như vợ chồng của phụ nữ, ngay cả với những phụ nữ ít kinh nghiệm và ngây thơ - nghĩ về sự tin tưởng đầy thanh thản vào cái số đa tình của họ như những con chim tin vào đôi cánh của mình - về niềm tin vững chắc và thầm lặng vào hạnh phúc xứng đáng sắp đến ngay tức thì nuôi dưỡng họ trở thành những con chim đủ lông đủ cánh, cho phép họ bay từ bến đậu của sự đứng đắn vào không gian chưa được chứng minh, chưa được thử nghiệ ...more
Ricardo Mainou
Mar 07, 2016 Ricardo Mainou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El libro es una maravilla.

Hay que decirlo la traducción de Borges es terrible y lamentablemente es la única disponible en español.
Si la prosa de Faulkner es compleja y su uso de metáforas deslumbrante e insólito, la traducción entorpece la lectura.

La novela alterna dos historias aparentemente desconectadas. En la primera, titulada "Las palmeras salvajes" seguimos el romance adúltero entre un estudiante de medicina y una mujer casada. La pareja busca sostener su amor y pasión a costa de todo, in
Andrea Fiore
"Non alludo a questo, e a nemmeno allo Utah. Alludo a noi stessi. All'amore se preferisci. Perché non può durare. Non v'è posto per esso nel mondo d'oggi, nemmeno nello Utah. Lo abbiamo eliminato. C'è voluto molto tempo, ma l'uomo è pieno di risorse, la sua inventiva non ha limiti, così siamo riusciti a liberarci dell'amore esattamente come ci siamo liberati di Cristo. Al posto della voce di Dio abbiamo la radio, e invece di dover risparmiare moneta sentimentale per mesi e anni per meritare un'o ...more
Frances Coles
Jun 15, 2015 Frances Coles rated it really liked it
Such an incredible hurtling book. I loved it. I'm still digesting it and don't have too much to say about it so far. It's such powerful visceral writing and yet the link between the two stories (of the convict and the lovers on the lam) is so subtle, almost arty. The very last line brought me up short; it seems almost like a punchline, but one that I don't quite get. Maybe the convict's dismissal of womankind is meant to contrast with Harry's grief for Charlotte? I don't know. I kind of like the ...more
Silvia Sirea
Oct 11, 2015 Silvia Sirea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro impetuoso e prepotente. Passionale e amaro. Due storie diverse raccontate simultaneamente che non hanno niente in comune - a parte qualche sottile riferimento che mi è sembrato di aver colto, ma potrei anche starmi sbagliando.
I capitoli si susseguono alternandosi a raccontare le vicende delle Palme selvagge e de Il Vecchio.

Il Vecchio è il nome con cui ci si riferisce al fiume Mississipi, croce e delizia di chi abita nelle sue terre. In questi capitoli viene narrata la storia di un'inond
Apr 26, 2013 carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very famous flood that is referenced in many novels, this book is referenced in the book my boyfriend was reading just after I finished this one. That book is: "Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story" by Nick Tosches

What eloquence. I can't wait to read more faulkner. His sentences were mesmerizing in length and thought and still this small novel tied two stories together so well. Like the flooded tributaries of the Mississippi, so is this book on my mind.

Its theme of struggle the current
Oct 20, 2009 Isis added it
Shelves: class_reading
My mother asked me what I thought of it, and mentioned that she thought it sounded kind of "steamy" from the GoodReads summary, so this started out as a comment on her comment and then turned into a general commentary/review so I thought it would make more sense to just make my official comment lol.

I thought it was excellent. there's not really a lot of explicit sex in it, so i wouldn't call it steamy so much as "shocking" in the context of the times. there's a mention of using a douche, there'
Nov 22, 2009 Rick rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Two tales told in alternate chapters, one of which is titled “The Wild Palms,” the other “Old Man.” Faulkner’s preferred title for the novel, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem was over-ruled by his publisher. “The Wild Palms” tells the story of a young doctor and his artist girlfriend who abandon their previous lives (he an intern, she a wife, mother and bohemian hostess) to nurse a romantic passion that won’t blow out in the winds of societal respectability and expectations. The protagonist of the “O ...more
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William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as earl
More about William Faulkner...

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“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.” 905 likes
“Love doesn't die; the men and women do.” 65 likes
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