A piece of advice: If, in the afterlife, you were expecting William Faulkner to drop by your apartment, you might want to keep an eye on the balcony. As a young man living in New Orleans, Faulkner would climb the side of his residence, preferring, as his friend Harold Dempsey recalls, “a little bit of flamboyance when arriving.” Throughout his work, this chronicler of dislocation—who took as his major theme the Old South’s environmental and moral decline—would avoid the usual narrative paths to catch his readers unawares. Having received Robert Penn Warren’s blessing to “take on Faulkner,” Jay Parini, an English professor at Middlebury, has produced One Matchless Time, a lucid biography of the Nobel laureate’s life. Not bogged down by minutiae, Parini’s prose delivers insightful assessments of each of Faulkner’s novels. Untangling the life from the work, Parini maintains a respectful but critical distance that grounds Time as its subject scales the heights. Parini discusses his work at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Christopher Byrd)