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“A deft hand has woven this narrative. . . . This book rings true.”―The New York Times
Faulkner’s first novel, Soldiers’ Pay (1926), is among the most memorable works to emerge from the First World War. Through the story of a wounded veteran’s homecoming, it examines the impact of soldiers’ return from war on the people―particularly the women―who were left behind.
“Not die soon enough?” Gilligan drained his glass. “I got the low down on him, see. He’s got a girl at home: folks got ’em engaged when they was young, before he went off to war. And do you know what she’s going to do when she see his face?” he asked, staring at her. At last her two faces became one face and her hair was black. Her mouth like a scar. “Oh, no, Joe. She wouldn’t do that.” She sat up. The blanket slipped from her shoulders and she replaced it, watching him intently.
trying to draw back. He held her wrist. “No, no, let me go. You are hurting me.” “I know it,” he answered grimly. “Get in.” “Don’t, George, don’t! I must go back.” “Well, when can I see you?” Her mouth trembled. “Oh, I don’t know. Please, George. Don’t you see how miserable I am?” Her eyes became blue, dark; the sunlight made bold the wrenched thrust of her body, her thin taut arm. “Please, George.” “Are you going to get in or do you want me to pick you up and put you
breathing. Eastward the sky paled impalpably, more like a death than a birth of anything; and they peered out in front of them, seeing nothing. There seemed to be no war here at all, though to the right of them a rumorous guttural of guns rose and fell thickly and heavily on the weary dawn. Powers, the officer, had passed from man to man. No one must fire: there was a patrol out there somewhere in the darkness. Dawn grew grey and slow; after a while the earth took a vague form and someone seeing
to,” James Dough shifted his artificial leg, nursing his festering arm between the bones of which a tracer bullet had passed. “If they want to have another one.” “Yes.” She yearned toward the agile, prancing youth. His body was young in years, his hair was glued smoothly to his skull. His face, under a layer of powder, was shaved and pallid, sophisticated, and he and his blonde and briefly-skirted partner slid and poised and drifted like a dream. The negro cornetist stayed his sweating crew
and gained momentum. After a while Jones opened his eyes, groaning. He rose stiffly, stretching and spitting, yawning. “Good time to go in, I think,” he said. George Farr, tasting his own sour mouth, moved and felt little pains, like tiny red ants, running over him. He, too, rose and they stood side by side. They yawned again. Jones turned fatly, limping a little. “Good night,” he said. “Good night.” The east grew yellow, then red, and day had really come into the world,