Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels
$19.95 $14.96
  • Paperback
  • 624
  • April 2010
  • 9781583229101

Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels

Barry Gifford

On the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Barry Gifford's international bestseller, Wild at Heart, as well as the anniversary of the Palme d'Or-winning film adaptation by director David Lynch, Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels presents all of the novels and novellas that comprise the saga of Sailor Ripley and Lula Pace Fortune, "the Romeo and Juliet of the South": Wild at Heart, Perdita Durango, Sailor's Holiday, Sultans of Africa, Consuelos Kiss, Bad Day for the Leopard Man, and The Imagination of the Heart.


"Barry Gifford is now more than forty years and forty books into his career, yet still no one seems to know what to do with him … The experience of reading Gifford is like starting a car and realizing, too late, that someone has cut its brake lines. A spectacular wreck is imminent, so you might as well enjoy the adrenaline rush … The thrill of the Sailor and Lula books is in seeing how horribly a human life—or an entire society—can spiral out of control. But the gruesome dismemberments, car wrecks, and point-blank gunshots only entertain for so long. The image that lingers in the reader's imagination, long after the series ends, is far more sedate and ordinary: Sailor and Lula, embracing in a cheap motel bed, telling each other stories to ward off the nightmares that they know will come.—Nathaniel Rich, New York Review of Books

"Gifford sketches marvelous characters as deftly as William Faulkner and animates them in scene after scene of hilarious dialogue … Barry Gifford continues to be one of America's most original writers." —Playboy

"An epic story about real love persisting through every manifestation of America's slow apocalypse, writing a real masterpiece of salt and sage that sweats off the page like an auto mechanic dripping hair grease into your soup … In Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find," The Killer remarks that the old woman would have been real nice if there had been someone around to kill her every day of her life. In Gifford's South, this is never a problem.—Miracle Jones, Fiction Circus

"There are precious few literary landscapes where this particular sort of true romance burns as hot and sweet and altogether cool as in Gifford's sprawling, epically Southern gothic novels … a pulpy, meridianal meditation on love and death in the dirty South, hugely entertaining and often frenzied in their depiction of Sailor and Lula's misadventures into random, swampy chaos but also written in the kind of watertight, blunt-edged prose that recalls Jim Thompson filtered through some awesomely hyper-Americanized hybrid of Fellini and Katherine Dunn … Too cool.—Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

"Barry Gifford invented his own American vernacular—William Faulkner by way of B-movie film noir, porn paperbacks, and Sun Records rockabilly—to forge the stealth-epic of Sailor & Lula. His accomplishment looks more and more like one of the permanent glories of recent storytelling, a set of crude masterpieces like Philip Guston's late paintings. The compression and verve on view on every page of this compendium is as irresistible and dizzying as a dish of brandy-filled chocolates forged in shapes of pistols, hangmen's ropes, convertible automobiles, and unclad, steamy bodies, daring you to keep gobbling them up." —Jonathan Lethem

"I saw Sailor and Lula in love in the middle of a crazy, violent, wild world, and I wanted to go on that trip with them … It's like looking into the Garden of Eden before things went bad." —David Lynch

"Barry Gifford is one of the great American masters … It's a magic combination: fantastic dialogue, characters who really get under your skin, and a totally original narrative style … With a copy of Sailor and Lula in my hands I will always feel like I am speeding down some nameless freeway in a convertible, the wind in my hair, a gun-toting femme fatale on my lap, and a suitcase full of stolen cash in the trunk." —Tony O'Neill, author of Sick City

About Barry Gifford

BARRY GIFFORD’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in twenty-eight languages. His novel Night People was awarded the Premio Brancati, established by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alberto Moravia in Italy, and he has been the recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His books Sailor’s Holiday and The Phantom Father were each named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, and his book Wyoming was named a Novel of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. He has written librettos for operas by the composers Toru Takemitsu, Ichiro Nodaira, and Olga Neuwirth. Gifford’s work has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Punch, Esquire, La Nouvelle Revue Française, El País, La Repubblica, Rolling Stone, Brick, Film Comment, El Universal, Projections, and the New York Times. His film credits include Wild at Heart, Perdita Durango, Lost Highway, City of Ghosts, Ball Lightning, and The Phantom Father. Barry Gifford’s most recent books include Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels, Sad Stories of the Death of Kings, Imagining Paradise: New & Selected Poems and The Roy Stories. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information visit

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