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.
The author of more than forty works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into over twenty-five languages, BARRY GIFFORD writes distinctly American stories for readers around the globe. From screenplays and librettos to his acclaimed Sailor and Lula novels, Gifford’s writing is as distinctive as it is difficult to classify. Born in the Seneca Hotel on Chicago’s Near North Side, he relocated in his adolescence to New Orleans. The move proved significant: throughout his career, Gifford’s fiction—part-noir, part-picaresque, always entertaining—is born of the clash between what he has referred to as his “Northern Side” and “Southern Side.” Gifford has been recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, The American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His novel Wild at Heart was adapted into the 1990 Palme d’Or-winning film of the same name. Gifford lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.