The Build-Up

Finalist, National Book Awards 1953 for Fiction

First edition cover of The Build-Up by Williams Carlos Williams
ISBN 9780811202275
New Directions | Random House
William Carlos Williams author photo
William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams (1883–1963), author of Paterson and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Pictures from Brueghel, is widely considered one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. More about this author >

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The Build-up, Volume 3 of the Stecher Trilogy, picks up the thread ofWhite Mule and In the Money. Although all of the novels deal with the triumphant rise of an immigrant family in the early 1900s, the Build-up is more concerned with the overwhelming drive and ambition of Joe Stecher’s wife, Gurlie. After years of hard work, careful planning (and his wife’s badgering) Joe’s printing business is providing his family with a comfortable income. As soon as her financial goal is realized, Gurlie focuses her attention on another area. Her phenomenal energy is soon earning her all unassailable position as a social leader in a small New Jersey suburb. Her achievement is not without its heartache, however. This story is told with all the gentle humor and exacting detail that mark Williams’s prose works. [New Directions]