William March’s debut novel, Company K, introduced him to the reading public as a gifted writer of modern fiction. Of that World War I classic, Graham Greene wrote: “It is the only war book I have read which has found a new form to fit the novelty of the protest. The prose is bare, lucid, without literary echoes.” After Company K, March brought his same unerring style to a cycle of novels and short stories–his “Pearl County” series–inspired in part by his childhood in the vicinity of Mobile, Alabama. The University of Alabama Press is pleased to be bringing these three novels back into print.
In The Tallons, the second novel in the “Pearl County” series, March tells the story of two farm boys, Andrew and Jim Tallon. Their placid and predictable life is upended by a girl from Georgia, Myrtle Bickerstaff. The conflict which engulfs these three arises from a series of carefully chosen and extraordinarily telling incidents to a dramatic climax which will be remembered long after the book is set aside. March framed the novel as “a study in paranoia” and to the end of his life considered it one of his strongest works.