I’ve recently finished reading All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren’s novel that fictionalises the life of Louisiana governor Huey LongÂ (the movie version, starring Sean Penn, is out later this year). My friend Macgregor recommended the director’s cut – the version as originally written by Warren, rather than the edited version that was published in 1947. I haven’t read both versions, and at 600+ pages, I’m unlikely to ever read the edited version, butÂ on principle I rather like the idea of reading the author’s preferred text.
The main story is about the rise ofÂ Willie Talos (Willie Stark in the other version – but known as “the Boss” in both),Â told through the eyes of a journalist who becomesÂ an adviser to the governor. Tis highly recommended for anyone who enjoys politics and the American South. The real beauty is in the daydreaming segues, which are unlikely to make it into the celluloid version.