One of UAP’s perennial best-sellers is Company K, an innovative 1933 novel in which native Alabaman, WWI veteran, and Croix de Guerre winner William March presented a full company of American soldiers in that war, each of whose personal story is told in one short chapter. The book’s popularity has never waned, and this year’s centenary of the onset of WWI has again boosted the book’s readership.
March’s writing career is book-ended by Company K, on which he rocketed to literary stardom, and The Bad Seed, published in 1954, the year of his death. The Bad Seed won the 1955 National Book Award for Fiction, but unfortunately it’s remembered less as a landmark in psychological fiction than for a noir-y, high camp film adaptation in 1956. But we shouldn’t blame March too much. He was in good company. While The Bad Seed was being filmed, William Faulkner was busy earning an easy paycheck penning The Long, Hot Summer, a steamy Southern potboiler starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
In between Company K and The Bad Seed, March wrote about his native land. Following in the footsteps of Faulkner, many of whose stories took place in the fictional Yoknapatawpha, March set his novels on the Gulf Coast. Known collectively as his “Pearl County” series, March’s three novels—Come in at the Door, The Tallons, and The Looking-Glass—described the people and towns of his childhood in the environs of Mobile. Out of print for some years, UAP is bringing the three novels of March’s Pearl County series back into print in the next 5-6 weeks. First out will be The Tallons, the story of two brothers whose quiet life is unsettled by the arrival of a beauty from Georgia. It’ll be cool to hear an old lion of Alabama letters roar again.