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The Imagination of the Heart is the final chapter in the saga of Sailor Ripley and Lula Pace Fortune, the “Romeo and Juliet of the Deep South.” Their story began in Barry Gifford’s novel Wild at Heart, which in 1990 was made into a Palme d’Or—winning feature film by David Lynch. Following Sailor’s death at the age of sixty-five in New Orleans, Lula moved back to her home state of North Carolina. This novel begins fifteen years later when Lula, at age eighty, decides to write a memoir in diary form, reflecting on her life with Sailor while also keeping a journal describing her last road trip: a journey with Beany Thorn, her best friend since childhood, back to New Orleans.
Like a contemporary book of Revelations, dutifully recorded by Lula as a dialogue between self and soul, it becomes a bittersweet, often dangerous journey into the imagination of the heart, and what may lie beyond.
Also included in this edition is “The Truth is in the Work,” a conversation between Barry Gifford and Noel King which delves into a range of topics, from Gifford’s early publishing experiences to his film projects and to professional sports.