BROTHER BILL by John Faulkner


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Recently two members of the Hemingway tribe wrote about brother Ernest; now John Faulkner rambles on about brother Bill. The result's a homey, crackerbarrel tangy, slow-pokey account, an ""affectionate reminiscence"" as it's subtitled, shot through in a backporch-and-bourbon way with humor, nostalgia, intimacy and not too little insight. Those looking for a roadmap to Faulkner's famous literary world of deep, desperate involutions and intricacies definitely won't find it here; but they will get steeped in lots of for-the-family-only lore. Samples: in his youth Bill had a subscription to American Boy and was much influenced by it; he was also influenced by his mother--a strong, sensible woman; Bill loved horses, woods, hunting, corncob fights and the old swimming hole; Bill ""sort of quit"" sophomore high school but he read the Greeks, Romans, Shakespeare; the Post kept rejecting all of Bill's early efforts, but after Sanctuary they offered to buy 'em all back at a thousand dollars a throw; Bill's colored Mammy was looked upon as ""our shepherdess""; Bill made several fortunes but he mostly lived on credit; Bill hadn't much use for churchgoing, but he honored the old values, adored the land and scorned the ""git up & git"" materialists who ""took over towns"", (they became the ""Snopeses"" of the novels); Bill stole the plots of two of his brother's tales, but according to brother John that really wasn't stealing; Bill was not the dipso scuttlebutt says he was, he just went on ""tears every now and then""; the Nobel Prize never changed him, he still turned down dinner invitations, including JFK's. And that's about it. For Faulkner fans, if not the scholars.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1963
Publisher: rident