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In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted mur­derers, the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most impo In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted mur­derers, the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most important Ameri­can novelist of the twentieth century. She also reveals wonderfully entertaining and intimate stories and anecdotes about her family—in particular her uncle William, or “Pappy,” with whom she shared color­ful, sometimes utterly frank, sometimes whimsical, conversations and experiences.               This deeply felt memoir explores the close re­lationship between Dean’s uncle and her father, Dean Swift Faulkner, a barnstormer killed at age twenty-eight during an air show four months be­fore she was born. It was William who gave his youngest brother an airplane, and after Dean’s tragic death, William helped to raise his niece. He paid for her education, gave her away when she was married, and maintained a unique relationship with her throughout his life.                         From the 1920s to the early civil rights era, from Faulkner’s winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature to his death in 1962, Every Day by the Sun explores the changing culture and society of Oxford, Mis­sissippi, while offering a rare glimpse of a notori­ously private family and an indelible portrait of a national treasure.  


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In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted mur­derers, the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most impo In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted mur­derers, the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most important Ameri­can novelist of the twentieth century. She also reveals wonderfully entertaining and intimate stories and anecdotes about her family—in particular her uncle William, or “Pappy,” with whom she shared color­ful, sometimes utterly frank, sometimes whimsical, conversations and experiences.               This deeply felt memoir explores the close re­lationship between Dean’s uncle and her father, Dean Swift Faulkner, a barnstormer killed at age twenty-eight during an air show four months be­fore she was born. It was William who gave his youngest brother an airplane, and after Dean’s tragic death, William helped to raise his niece. He paid for her education, gave her away when she was married, and maintained a unique relationship with her throughout his life.                         From the 1920s to the early civil rights era, from Faulkner’s winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature to his death in 1962, Every Day by the Sun explores the changing culture and society of Oxford, Mis­sissippi, while offering a rare glimpse of a notori­ously private family and an indelible portrait of a national treasure.  

30 review for Every Day by the Sun: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lawyer

    Dean Faulkner Wells offers a unique and personal view into the private world of William Faulkner. The daughter of youngest Faulkner brother Dean, who died in a plane crash prior to her birth, spent a great deal of time in the company of Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. As a child, she did not recognize the importance of the man who generously undertook raising her following her father's death. To his niece, the writer was simply known as "Pappy." William Faulkner took on the responsibility withou Dean Faulkner Wells offers a unique and personal view into the private world of William Faulkner. The daughter of youngest Faulkner brother Dean, who died in a plane crash prior to her birth, spent a great deal of time in the company of Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. As a child, she did not recognize the importance of the man who generously undertook raising her following her father's death. To his niece, the writer was simply known as "Pappy." William Faulkner took on the responsibility without reservation, as a natural obligation to his youngest brother whom he deeply loved. Dean was the baby brother. Wells' title is taken from the Faulkner family's remembrance that Dean never owned a watch. He lived every day by the sun. Dean Faulkner was ten years younger than William. William paid for his flying lessons. He gave him a Waco-C cabin cruiser. It was the plane in which Dean Faulkner died. William blamed himself for his brother's death. That event contributed to the bouts of depression he fought periodically over the course of his life. Wells presents Faulkner on a level of intimacy that reveals a man completely different from the image he showed to the rest of the world. It is for this that "Every Day by the Sun" should be read. There is no deep literary analysis here. Nor is there any deep exploration of Faulkner's feelings towards race. Wells reveals Faulkner's warmth, humor and wit that he reserved for family and intimate friends. Wells does not varnish over Faulkner's marriage to Estelle or his romances he pursued outside his marriage. However, she clearly understands that she was able to accept his behavior because she was a niece and not a daughter. Wells also portrays Estelle in a more favorable light than previous authors. She offers no insight regarding the underlying reasons for the Faulkner's distant marriage. She was offered no explanation, so she does not speculate on William and Estelle's disaffection for one another. The Faulkners' alcoholism is a subject for open discussion. William binged. Estelle drank every day. But Estelle joined AA and maintained her sobriety. She returned to her painting which she abandoned for years and was an avid fisher-woman. Dean Faulkner Wells also provides us with a view of Oxford that is rapidly vanishing as the town has become a popular retirement community today. The beloved "Square" that surrounds the old courthouse is changing. Old Faulkner haunts are disappearing. Condominiums, apartments and garden homes crowd in on the square today. "New" Mississippians bray into their cell phones as they cruise the shops, boutiques and restaurants that have replaced the familiar locations frequented by William Faulkner. It is a bustling commercial success that Faulkner would have despised. The reader may still find Faulkner in the rooms of Rowan Oak and in the pages of Wells' engaging memoir. Faulkner's niece has written a book that shows her obvious love for William Faulkner. However, she never sinks into sentimentalism. Her view is fresh, objective and unblinking. Read it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Many years ago I read Joseph Blotner’s massive (and massively numbing) biography on William Faulkner. In fairness to Blotner, I thought he did a good job with the younger Faulkner, but it was with his account of the older writer that I sort of lost interest. But maybe it was just a page count thing. With Dean Faulkner Wells’ Every Day by the Sun, I think I’ve found a good account of the author in his later years. However, what’s missing throughout is any real literary analysis. What Wells’ provi Many years ago I read Joseph Blotner’s massive (and massively numbing) biography on William Faulkner. In fairness to Blotner, I thought he did a good job with the younger Faulkner, but it was with his account of the older writer that I sort of lost interest. But maybe it was just a page count thing. With Dean Faulkner Wells’ Every Day by the Sun, I think I’ve found a good account of the author in his later years. However, what’s missing throughout is any real literary analysis. What Wells’ provides is a portrait of her uncle – who she clearly loved, that in its own way transcends a literary biography. Those coming to look for something more in-depth in Wells’ book may be disappointed. Still, the book is hard to put down. You are going to like Wells’ voice a great deal. The book does have a lot of William Faulkner in it, but it is Dean Faulkner Wells’ story. And it is an interesting story. Dean’s father, was William Faulkner’s brother Dean. His daughter never knew her father, since he was killed in a plane crash before she was born. According to Dean, William was haunted (it was his plane his brother crashed in) by this event for the rest of his life. The back story to all of this would seem to make for some genuine context for Faulkner’s air show novel, Pylon, but I can’t say for sure, since I’ve not read it. To make up for this tragedy, Faulkner was always a dutiful uncle to her, and helpful brother-in-law to her mother. As a result, Dean spent a great deal of her growing-up –years at Rowan Oaks. The Faulkner that emerges is a paradox: a modernist writer who is also deeply rooted in the traditions of his past heritage. Other than airplanes, Faulkner had little use for radios, television, and phones. His evenings often found him reading Shakespeare or the Bible. But there is a dark side to Faulkner as well, and Wells, while not dwelling on it, doesn’t ignore it either. On his drinking, she says that she never saw him drunk. But she knows he drank – a great deal (primarily as a binge drinker). So much so that he would often have to be hospitalized in order to dry out. The fact that this happened more than once had me feeling that Wells is just representing the tip of an alcoholic iceberg, which I feel definitely, in his later years, impacted his writing. Then there’s Faulkner’s womanizing – which seemed pretty weird as he entered his fifties. He liked them young (early twenties). Wells’ insists that Faulkner enjoyed their minds. Whatever. Nevertheless, I felt her account an honest one. At one point she tells of watching Faulkner’s daughter, Jill, on television recounting life with dad. Jill told the interviewer that Faulkner didn’t care for anyone but himself. Hearing this, Dean found herself screaming at the TV, but in the next paragraph acknowledges that she really didn’t know what it was like to really live with “Pappy.” If you’re into Faulkner, this is a good read, but one that skates quickly over the events of his life. I would instead recommend reading this book with Dean’s story foremost in mind, which is that of a young woman (with a famous literary uncle) growing up in a fast-changing South. Sadly, as I was reading this book, I found out that Dean Faulkner Wells passed away this summer.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Lovely and witty memoir enmeshed within the Mississippi of her ancestors. I don't think I've enjoyed a memoir this much in years, and I read a goodly number. Dean Faulkner Wells has the subtle, outrageous, and poignant eyes of her home place. Telling the context of her days as a girl, her youth, her Pappy and her word gift- it was not only a joy to read but filled with minutia information both intriguing and core to the culture. The Oxford farmstead "bells", the choice of smoking or wine, not bo Lovely and witty memoir enmeshed within the Mississippi of her ancestors. I don't think I've enjoyed a memoir this much in years, and I read a goodly number. Dean Faulkner Wells has the subtle, outrageous, and poignant eyes of her home place. Telling the context of her days as a girl, her youth, her Pappy and her word gift- it was not only a joy to read but filled with minutia information both intriguing and core to the culture. The Oxford farmstead "bells", the choice of smoking or wine, not both (oh, I could see those bottom side up turned over glasses)and the heat. I can picture him too, with the white hair, small ears, elegant profile and grace of arrogance. Next time I go South on a drive, I don't want to skip Oxford.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    This is a must-read for any Faulkner fan. A well-told and researched tale by William Faulkner's niece. Her father, Faulkner's youngest brother, was killed in an airplane accident scant weeks before she was born, and so the famous author assumed responsibility for her upbringing. Her experience of him is much different that many others - she never saw him drunk, for instance - but nonetheless, her story is an interesting an insightful look into Faulkner's life from the perspective of an adoring y This is a must-read for any Faulkner fan. A well-told and researched tale by William Faulkner's niece. Her father, Faulkner's youngest brother, was killed in an airplane accident scant weeks before she was born, and so the famous author assumed responsibility for her upbringing. Her experience of him is much different that many others - she never saw him drunk, for instance - but nonetheless, her story is an interesting an insightful look into Faulkner's life from the perspective of an adoring young woman. I have just returned from a trip to Oxford, Mississippi - my Mother's home - and have visited the Faulkner home, Rowan Oaks, many times. My mother also counts people who knew him personally among her friends, so this book was especially interesting to me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Mccool

    This book has been like learning about a new friends family over coffee in a Mississippi town square. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The tone and descriptions were familiar to me, having a family rooted in the south and "southern ways" for generations. The question of love and deep respect never entered my mind, each person mentioned in this book was a heartfelt part of her family; "her people". I smiled at some of Faulkner's family tales and felt sincere empathy over others. I remembered many of my o This book has been like learning about a new friends family over coffee in a Mississippi town square. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The tone and descriptions were familiar to me, having a family rooted in the south and "southern ways" for generations. The question of love and deep respect never entered my mind, each person mentioned in this book was a heartfelt part of her family; "her people". I smiled at some of Faulkner's family tales and felt sincere empathy over others. I remembered many of my own family stories while reading and I have promised myself the next time I am up in Oxford I will run by "the big place" just to take a long look.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ann

    Loved this book, especially since I started reading it in Oxford, MS during Books on the Nightstand's 2012 Booktopia, and we'd just toured Faulkner's home. Written by Faulkner's niece, the only living Faulkner (Dean died 3 months after publication), I loved that I recognized much of the Oxford she spoke of. I appreciate the honesty of this book, and am more and more intrigued with William Faulkner.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tangi Carter Pryor

    Excellent. Haunting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate Donnelly

    A memoir by the niece of William Faulkner. Lots of new information for me. The first of Faulkner's books that I attempted to read was THE SOUND AND FURY. It was my first experience with 'stream of consciousness.' I was surprised at the number of Faulkner books that I have read. The book was an easy read and quite interesting.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I very much enjoyed reading about Faulkner from his niece's point of view and learning a little more about my new hometown. I am more convinced than ever that Oxford's cultural reputation owes a great deal to Wm Faulkner.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Al Lloyd

    Charming author and book. Who knew Faulkner read Dear Abby first thing every day ?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sassa

    I found this memoir by the niece of William Faulkner so very delightful. The personal insights into this globally-recognized author have enticed me to read his novels (I never have!) and to visit his home and stomping grounds in Oxford, MS. Once again, I am appreciate the effort of all those who write memoirs that include stories of older generations so we can remember the value of history, family and place.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori Watson koenig

    Interesting but not really. As I knew nothing about William Faulkner or his family when I began this book, I vastly increased my knowledge of him/them, but I just never really got sucked in to it. Well written and I loved the fact that she didn't make it seem like she was a bigger part of his story than she was. Truly the book was more about the entire family than just the most famous of them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    This is the best book ABOUT Faulkner I have ever read. It's because of the charm and humor of the author, the great man's niece, a talent her own self. Find you a copy, I mean it. Highest recommendation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Crawford

    It was ok

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dotty

    Fascinating memoir about the family of the great American writer, William Faulkner.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    A great story of a well known family of the south. They had a fair amount of tragedy in the family. The authors own father died in a plane crash. Very good read if you are in history.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pamela J

    This memoir is about Dean Faulkner Wells's memories of and relationship to her famous father-figure William Faulkner. A loving portrait of a man who lost his youngest brother too soon but fulfilled a promise to look after his family. No literary insights but some interesting moments into the man and surrogate father William Faulkner tried to be for his niece. Her memoir is an act of gratitude for his kindness towards her.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abbe

    Review "Nobody could have written this book except Dean Faulkner Wells. It is not only charming, poignant and witty, it is a priceless contribution to America's rich literary history."—Winston Groom, author, _Forrest Gump _"Dean Faulkner Wells has written a memorable family story, full of the intimacies of place and cherished connections, that not incidentally sheds unexpected, humanizing light on her august uncle, William Faulkner."--Thomas McGuane "A funny, extremely readable, incredibly lika Review "Nobody could have written this book except Dean Faulkner Wells. It is not only charming, poignant and witty, it is a priceless contribution to America's rich literary history."—Winston Groom, author, _Forrest Gump _"Dean Faulkner Wells has written a memorable family story, full of the intimacies of place and cherished connections, that not incidentally sheds unexpected, humanizing light on her august uncle, William Faulkner."--Thomas McGuane "A funny, extremely readable, incredibly likable memoir of what it was like to grow up with the great man....A wonderful book."--Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama "_Read Every Day by the Sun_, then read Go Down Moses, The Hamlet, The Town, The Mansion, and you will feel you have been on an archaeological dig with a master. Dean Faulkner Wells knows where the gold is buried, where the heart strings sang, where the understanding and love were engendered....Burn the deconstructionists’ texts. Every day By The Sun is all you need."—Ellen Gilchrist "I can't recall the last time I enjoyed a book as much as Every Day By The Sun. Dean Faulkner Wells has performed a miracle: She’s brought a great man back to life, and in doing so she’s summoned a time and a place that now seem too far gone. I love her clean, sharp, unpretentious prose, the well-hewn stories piled one on top of the other, the intimate revelations about a family that belongs to all of us but belonged to her first. William Faulkner is a fascinating character indeed, but it is Wells herself whom I found most captivating. She’s somebody to fall in love with and never get over."--John Ed Bradley, author, Tupelo Nights "A fresh, affectionate view of 'Pappy,' the great and difficult writer."--Roy Blount, Jr. "Part biography, part memoir, Wells' work does much to humanize the man who is often remembered only for his words. A must-read for Faulkner-philes."--_Kirkus _ "Marvelously evocative, intimate, and deeply moving." --John Berendt Product Description In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted mur­derers, the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most important Ameri­can novelist of the twentieth century. She also reveals wonderfully entertaining and intimate stories and anecdotes about her family—in particular her uncle William, or “Pappy,” with whom she shared color­ful, sometimes utterly frank, sometimes whimsical, conversations and experiences. This deeply felt memoir explores the close re­lationship between Dean’s uncle and her father, Dean Swift Faulkner, a barnstormer killed at age twenty-eight during an air show four months be­fore she was born. It was William who gave his youngest brother an airplane, and after Dean’s tragic death, William helped to raise his niece. He paid for her education, gave her away when she was married, and maintained a unique relationship with her throughout his life. From the 1920s to the early civil rights era, from Faulkner’s winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature to his death in 1962, Every Day by the Sun explores the changing culture and society of Oxford, Mis­sissippi, while offering a rare glimpse of a notori­ously private family and an indelible portrait of a national treasure.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa N

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A surprisingly candid memoir of the Faulkner family, written by William’s niece, Dean Wells. Nobel Prize and two time Pulitzer Prize winner William Faulkner was the oldest in a family of four boys. He had a close relationship with his youngest brother, Dean. Dean died in an airplane crash a few months before the birth of his daughter (Dean Wells) in a plane given to him by his brother William. Dean Wells had a close relationship with her uncle William who helped raise her and contributed to her A surprisingly candid memoir of the Faulkner family, written by William’s niece, Dean Wells. Nobel Prize and two time Pulitzer Prize winner William Faulkner was the oldest in a family of four boys. He had a close relationship with his youngest brother, Dean. Dean died in an airplane crash a few months before the birth of his daughter (Dean Wells) in a plane given to him by his brother William. Dean Wells had a close relationship with her uncle William who helped raise her and contributed to her financial support. The title of this book comes from a running family joke: Dean missed one question on his commercial pilot’s exam. When asked to list the equipment a pilot should always carry with him, he omitted one item—a watch. His cousin said, “Dean never needed a watch. He lived every day of his life by the sun.” She speaks straightforwardly yet compassionately about William’s alcoholism and his extramarital affairs. I found this very touching: At one point, Dean tried his hand at writing and asked William for advice. The book contains a list of vocab words, in William’s handwriting, that he must have recommended to his brother. This was my favorite anecdote: William took an unappealing job in the 1930s in Hollywood as a screenwriter because he needed the money. His director Hawks “took William and Clark Gable on a dove shoot in the Imperial Valley. Gable, whom William had never met, brought along his .410 over and under, a shotgun that William coveted on sight. As they drove into the valley, Hawks began talking about books and authors. Clark Gable listened in silence. At last Hawks said, ‘Mr. Faulkner, who would you say are the best living writers?’ William replied, ‘Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Thomas Mann, John Dos Passos, and myself.’ ‘Oh,’ said Gable. ‘Do you write, Mr. Faulkner.?’ ‘Yes, Mr. Gable,’ William replied. ‘What do you do?’” I’m a huge fan of Southern Gothic. I fell in love with Faulkner’s short stories in college, and I really enjoyed this memoir.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Ross

    I've always been ambivalent (I preferred his short stories to his novels, with "A Rose for Emily" being my favorite because the storyline was familiar and could have been written about any small Southern town) about William Faulkner as an author, which as a Southerner and a writer, in some circles, puts me one step away from being a traitor to all things Southern (I hate watermelon too so I'm sure that puts me over the line) and puts a big cloud of suspicion over my head regarding my Southern au I've always been ambivalent (I preferred his short stories to his novels, with "A Rose for Emily" being my favorite because the storyline was familiar and could have been written about any small Southern town) about William Faulkner as an author, which as a Southerner and a writer, in some circles, puts me one step away from being a traitor to all things Southern (I hate watermelon too so I'm sure that puts me over the line) and puts a big cloud of suspicion over my head regarding my Southern authenticity. So be it. I like what I like and I don't like what I don't like. If it's too incomprehensible and too out there, I'm not going to pretend that it's anything else. I don't care who wrote it. However, after reading this book, I have a deeper understanding - and greater appreciation - of not just William Faulkner, but of the Mississippi contingent of the Faulkner family. I may even go back and read a couple of novels again that I was on the fence about the first time I read them. Written by the daughter of William Faulkner's younger brother, this book is clear-eyed and engaging. The author doesn't sugarcoat the foibles and sins of the Faulkner family, but she doesn't trash them either. They did some awful things and they did some wonderful things. They have some good character and they had some bad character. They had good genetics and bad genetics. In short, the Faulkners were just like every other human being who has, does, or will live. Including you and me. You don't read many books like this where there's an objective account of the totality of the humanity involved. Usually the mythological aspect - from one extreme to the other - is so overwhelming that you come away not knowing the person/people involved any better than before you read the book. This one's different. Whether you're a Faulkner fan or not, I'd recommend it. Whether you're a Southerner or not, I'd recommend it. If you breathing and reading this, I'd recommend it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted mur­derers, the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most important Ameri­can novelist of the twentieth century. She also reveals wonderfully entertaining and intimate stories and anecdot In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted mur­derers, the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most important Ameri­can novelist of the twentieth century. She also reveals wonderfully entertaining and intimate stories and anecdotes about her family—in particular her uncle William, or “Pappy,” with whom she shared color­ful, sometimes utterly frank, sometimes whimsical, conversations and experiences. This deeply felt memoir explores the close re­lationship between Dean’s uncle and her father, Dean Swift Faulkner, a barnstormer killed at age twenty-eight during an air show four months be­fore she was born. It was William who gave his youngest brother an airplane, and after Dean’s tragic death, William helped to raise his niece. He paid for her education, gave her away when she was married, and maintained a unique relationship with her throughout his life. From the 1920s to the early civil rights era, from Faulkner’s winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature to his death in 1962, Every Day by the Sun explores the changing culture and society of Oxford, Mis­sissippi, while offering a rare glimpse of a notori­ously private family and an indelible portrait of a national treasure.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Written by the niece of William Faulkner, this book provides her view inside the Faulkner family life in Oxford, Mississippi. Dean, the daughter of William's youngest brother (also named Dean), grew up with her "Pappy" serving as a father figure after her own father was killed (along with 3 young passengers) piloting a plane that crashed shortly before she was born. While I enjoyed the stories and included photos, there was a sense of disarray to the order in which some of the information was pr Written by the niece of William Faulkner, this book provides her view inside the Faulkner family life in Oxford, Mississippi. Dean, the daughter of William's youngest brother (also named Dean), grew up with her "Pappy" serving as a father figure after her own father was killed (along with 3 young passengers) piloting a plane that crashed shortly before she was born. While I enjoyed the stories and included photos, there was a sense of disarray to the order in which some of the information was presented, resulting in some confusion at certain points in the book. The stories are sometimes shared in minute detail while others are glossed over in not enough to either satisfy or accurately inform the reader. This may be partly due to the author's young age at the time of the events, and certain gaps might be explained by her frequently changing living arrangements with her mother and step-father. William's intermittent (but serious) bouts with alcoholism and his infidelities with much younger women while married to his one and only wife are touched upon throughout the book, but only superficially. This is really the story of the Faulkners as experienced by Dean Faulkner Wells through her childhood and early adult life, which appeared to have little focus other than to be an observer of her own family foibles. Don't read this expecting any great insight into Faulkner's character or writing career or you will be disappointed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    Having read most of Faulkner's fiction and the collection of his letters, I felt like I knew what he looked like from the inside, sorta, but always wondered how all that Southern pain/passion/ego looked from the outside. His niece is the perfect conduit for this information, and she's a delightful writer. Like her uncle, a great eye for detail. Faulkner's drinking binges are legendary, but I don't think we knew--even from Blotner--that the writer's favorite TV show was Car 54, Where Are You? No Having read most of Faulkner's fiction and the collection of his letters, I felt like I knew what he looked like from the inside, sorta, but always wondered how all that Southern pain/passion/ego looked from the outside. His niece is the perfect conduit for this information, and she's a delightful writer. Like her uncle, a great eye for detail. Faulkner's drinking binges are legendary, but I don't think we knew--even from Blotner--that the writer's favorite TV show was Car 54, Where Are You? No TV at Rowan Oak, but "Pappy," as his niece called him, went over to a friend's house every Sunday night to watch those two goofy cops. He also had a terrible time opening those little packages of soda crackers that come with soup or salad in restaurants, would end up smashing them with a fist, muttering about "the instransigence of inanimate objects." But the book is really about the writer's father's death, eerily almost re-enacting John's death in SARTORIS . . .anyway, if you love Faulkner, or if you just wonder what the hell? read this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    Not being an English major, I did not know much about William Faulkner, Nobel Prize in Literature recipient; that was enough to prompt me to take a look at this memoir as the next in the series of my summer memoir readings. This memoir was written by Dean Faulkner Wells, niece of William Faulkner, who knew him endearingly as "Pappy". Her memoir was told with an incredible amount of detail from her incredible memory about all of the Faulkners, whether she personally knew them or not. This detail Not being an English major, I did not know much about William Faulkner, Nobel Prize in Literature recipient; that was enough to prompt me to take a look at this memoir as the next in the series of my summer memoir readings. This memoir was written by Dean Faulkner Wells, niece of William Faulkner, who knew him endearingly as "Pappy". Her memoir was told with an incredible amount of detail from her incredible memory about all of the Faulkners, whether she personally knew them or not. This detail was a bit overwhelming at times. The heart of the book focused on the triumphs and tragedies Pappy experienced throughout his life, but the feature sections were equally interesting -- the Faulkners in the barnstorming era, the Faulkners and Ole Miss, and the Faulkners in the civil rights movement. Overall this was an interesting family story, but it would have been better told without the less-than-relevant detail.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This book is by William Faulkner's neice, the daughter of his youngest brother who died in an airplane crash before she was born. Faulkner stepped up and made sure that she was taken care of during her lifetime, although he could not protect her from her mother's sad choice of an abusive second husband. The memoir is not specifically of William, but there are some very sweet stories concerning him. When Dean once was at a reception getting tea, she was asked if she wanted lemon or sugar. Not hav This book is by William Faulkner's neice, the daughter of his youngest brother who died in an airplane crash before she was born. Faulkner stepped up and made sure that she was taken care of during her lifetime, although he could not protect her from her mother's sad choice of an abusive second husband. The memoir is not specifically of William, but there are some very sweet stories concerning him. When Dean once was at a reception getting tea, she was asked if she wanted lemon or sugar. Not having done this before, she asked for both and got a globby glump in her cup. Without a moment's hesitation, her uncle, just behind her in line, requested both also when he was asked. It's little things like this about a family that are interesting. Even more so when that family is the Faulkners.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rivki Silver

    I read this several weeks ago, but forgot to review it at the time, so my recollection is, by now, slightly hazy. However, I have a warm, fuzzy feeling about this book. As a lover of William Faulkner's works and all things Yoknapatawpha, I very much enjoyed reading about the Faulknes from the perspective of a Dean Faulkner Wells, who was a neice of the author. The book read like a combination of memoir and familial biography, and I found it enjoyable to read, though its charm lay much in the subj I read this several weeks ago, but forgot to review it at the time, so my recollection is, by now, slightly hazy. However, I have a warm, fuzzy feeling about this book. As a lover of William Faulkner's works and all things Yoknapatawpha, I very much enjoyed reading about the Faulknes from the perspective of a Dean Faulkner Wells, who was a neice of the author. The book read like a combination of memoir and familial biography, and I found it enjoyable to read, though its charm lay much in the subject matter. So, if you are curious about the life and times of the Faulkners, as well as a window into the South in that time period (from the 30s through today), this is a great read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    I grew up in Oxford, attended picnics at Rowan Oak as a child and have vague memories of meeting Mr. Faulkner in the late 50's. My mother was acquainted with the author as well as Faulkner's daughters and remembers her as "very full of herself" (which upon reading this lovely memoir I understood a little better.) so discovering this book was a treat and reading it was a very personal experience. I remember the Oxford described by Wells vividly and found the book fascinating, touching and utterly I grew up in Oxford, attended picnics at Rowan Oak as a child and have vague memories of meeting Mr. Faulkner in the late 50's. My mother was acquainted with the author as well as Faulkner's daughters and remembers her as "very full of herself" (which upon reading this lovely memoir I understood a little better.) so discovering this book was a treat and reading it was a very personal experience. I remember the Oxford described by Wells vividly and found the book fascinating, touching and utterly charming for its portrayal of a man that was a very real character in my own childhood memories.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    A moving remembrance of a treasured uncle, Wells' memoir is a loving insight into the man who was one of the South's greatest writers. Mrs. Wells recounts the history of the various branches of the Faulkner family, with entertaining and little known stories about her relatives. But the main thrust of the book is her uncle William, who was a surrogate father to her. He paid for her education, gave her away when she married. Rowan Oak was a home away from home for the author, the memories of which A moving remembrance of a treasured uncle, Wells' memoir is a loving insight into the man who was one of the South's greatest writers. Mrs. Wells recounts the history of the various branches of the Faulkner family, with entertaining and little known stories about her relatives. But the main thrust of the book is her uncle William, who was a surrogate father to her. He paid for her education, gave her away when she married. Rowan Oak was a home away from home for the author, the memories of which she obviously cherishes. This memoir gives insight into a family who have always done their best to remain out of the public eye, in spite of the fame of Mr. Faulkner.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I was very interested in this well written memoir because I'll be at Rowen Oak in a few weeks! It's the story of Dean Faulkner who was the niece of William and was raised and supported by him when her dad, William's brother (also named Dean), died in a plane crash just before she was born. It shows so much of Oxford, Pappy's literary and family life, the Faulkner family, etc. that I know it will make the experience be much richer for reading it. I also tried reading some more Faulkner, but found I was very interested in this well written memoir because I'll be at Rowen Oak in a few weeks! It's the story of Dean Faulkner who was the niece of William and was raised and supported by him when her dad, William's brother (also named Dean), died in a plane crash just before she was born. It shows so much of Oxford, Pappy's literary and family life, the Faulkner family, etc. that I know it will make the experience be much richer for reading it. I also tried reading some more Faulkner, but found this much more appealing at this time. I believe one must be in the mood to read Faulkner.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Now I want to read more Faulkner! :o) This book was written by his niece and paints a great picture of William Faulkner. It's definitely not an expose or anything, but it does address his most basic character flaws (alcoholism, adultery), so it's really not a fluff job of a book. I'd like to read a more comprehensive bio of the man now, as this book is from the perspective of a family member and maybe isn't as thoroughly researched and comprehensive as a full soup to nuts bio might be. Still, th Now I want to read more Faulkner! :o) This book was written by his niece and paints a great picture of William Faulkner. It's definitely not an expose or anything, but it does address his most basic character flaws (alcoholism, adultery), so it's really not a fluff job of a book. I'd like to read a more comprehensive bio of the man now, as this book is from the perspective of a family member and maybe isn't as thoroughly researched and comprehensive as a full soup to nuts bio might be. Still, this is a great book, as it shows the Faulkner the family knew, which would be a hard perspective for another writer to explore at this late date. Enjoyed very much!

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