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.

4 Replies to “William Wharton, 1925-2008”

  1. I would like to go down the street now to my local pub, order a single malt and lift a glass to William Wharton.

    I have a lunch break in 45 minutes. I may just do that.

  2. jesus I think I read birdy almost 20-25 years ago…still a favorite as is the movie which is suprising…but I thought the movie was a great adaptation…thanks guys I will attempt ot read some of the ones I had not read…

  3. Thanks for sharing the photos of these paintings. The only other work I can recall seeing by Wharton is the dust jacket for Last Lovers. Along with John Irving and Pat Conroy, he’s been one of my favorite authors–I’ve read everything I can find, just finishing Houseboat on the Seine. Do you know if I can buy one of his paintings? Of course, they may be much more expensive than I can afford. But I feel like I got to know the man, a bit, through his books, and like the idea of extending the connection. Thanks.

    • Hi Jeff, seen your posting on Steel White Table, regarding William Wharton/ Albert Du Aime. I have a very interesting piece of work by him, that I think that you would be VERY interested in. Contact me at: Sequoiagroves@gmail.com and I can send you photos of what I have. It’s a drawing by him done 2 months before his unfortunate passing, that is inscribed on the bottom and signed. It’s very cool. I was his nurse, and I truly think that you will appreciate it much more than I have.

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