Sunday, November 17, 2013

Selected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty~★★★★

Author: Eudora Welty
Title: Selected Stories of Eudora Welty: A Curtain of Green and Other Stories
Release Date: Originally published in 1941; this edition released September 5, 1992
Publisher: Originally published by Doubleday; this edition published by Modern Library
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "Eudora Welty's subjects are the people who live in southern towns like Jackson, Mississippi, which has been her home for all of her long life. 'I've stayed in one place,' she says, and 'it's become the source of the information that stirs my imagination.' Her distinctive voice and wry observations are rooted in the southern conversational tradition. The stories in this volume, from the first two collections she published, range in tone from the quietly understated to the psychologically subtle to the outrageously grotesque. Linking them all is Welty's remarkable ear for the language and point of view of the South. 'She's a lot smarter than he cousins in Beula,' someone remarks about a reputed suicide in one story. 'Especially Edna Earle, that never did get to be what you'd call a heavy thinker. Edna Earle could sit and ponder all day on how the little tail of the 'c' got through the 'l' in a Coco-Cola sign.'"

Taryn's Review: Reading this book caused a few flashbacks to high school for me. Some of Welty's stories had made their way into my high school literature books and astonishingly, I remembered them while reading his book! The ones that struck a memory were "Death of a Traveling Salesman,"  "Why I Live at the P.O.," and "A Worn Path."

As the introduction blurb said, Welty was a master of language and her characters reflected her mastery. I really enjoyed so many of the short stories I read in this book, although every now and then I did come across one that I was bored with. What I loved most about the book, though, is that it captured the life, thoughts, and conversations of normal people from Jackson, Mississippi, and surrounding areas in the first half of the twentieth-century. While the characters themselves may not have been actual people who walked the earth, it is no doubt that many of the traits and events were inspired by those living around Welty.  Her keen observations skills tremendously enriched in her stories and her gumption to turn what appeared at first glance to be uninteresting rural life created a literary gem. 

For me, this isn't a book that I could adequately soak up in one night; I enjoyed breaking it down and reading a few short stories each night before bed. I don't claim to be one who truly understands the symbolism and themes of Welty's works (my mind was blown when I read what "Death of a Traveling Salesman" represented), but even so, I enjoyed most of them at face value. A great piece of Southern Americana recorded for our literary pleasure.

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