William Wharton, 1925-2008

As a commenter noted on my previous post, William Wharton, Author, Dies at 82:

William Wharton, a successful impressionist painter who at 53 published his first novel, “Birdy,” which won a National Book Award, became a critically acclaimed movie and led to a dozen more books, died Wednesday in Encinitas, Calif. He was 82.

Phillip and I are saddened to learn about this, that we won’t be reading anything new from him. You learn a lot about him and his family through his books, and he seemed to be someone you’d want to hang around with.

I’m going to reread Houseboat on the Seine: it’s a celebration of his life. Highly recommended. It’ll make you laugh and make you cry. I enjoyed ALL his books.

William Wharton was an accomplished painter but I never saw much of his work until Phillip found this YouTube video of his paintings:

Phillip and I were coincidentally discussing an old interview of Wharton the day before we heard of his death: Reasons for Life: A conversation with William Wharton.

I believe that we constantly have to keep our ear to the ground, our ground, and all the rest of it, in order to know what seems to fit the morality and the persona of what we usually call “God”. But the very word “God” is meaningless. The word itself does not mean anything to me, I do not care for the word itself, it is just the word “dog” spelled backwards.

He talks about influences in his life including painters. An interesting interview.

Now go read one of his excellent books.

Update: An informative obituary of Wharton from The Guardian.