Every Day by the Sun
A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi
By Dean Faulkner Wells
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307591043, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
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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 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.
DEAN FAULKNER WELLS is the niece of William Faulkner and the daughter of Dean Swift Faulkner and Louise Hale. She is the author of, among other works, The Ghosts of Rowan Oak: William Faulkner’s Ghost Stories for Children and is the editor of The New Great American Writers Cookbook and The Best of Bad Faulkner. She lives with her husband, Larry Wells, in Oxford, Mississippi, where they run Yoknapatawpha Press, a regional publishing house that focuses on southern writers.