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A Curtain of Green, and Other Stories Audible –

Rating 4.25 of fiveThe Publisher Says In her now famous introduction to this first collection by a then unknown young writer from Mississippi named Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter wrote that there is even in the smallest story a sense of power in reserve which makes me believe firmly that, splendid beginning that it is, it is only the beginning Porter was of course prophetic, and the beginning was splendid A Curtain of Green both introduced and established Eudora Welty as in instinctive genius of short fiction, and in this groundbreaking collection, which includes Powerhouse and Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden, are the first great works of a great American writer.My Review Her first collection of stories, published the same year as her first story appeared in print A Worn Path in Atlantic Monthly as it was then , in 1941 Diarmuid Russell, the superagent of his era, sold the collection on the strength of thatto a friend of Miss Eudora s who was working at Doubleday, Doran as it was then That, laddies and gentlewomen, is damn near inconceivable to today s publishing professionals A collection by an unknown barely published writer getting published by a major house Who s she sleepin with The Muses She was a gifted writer, and stories were her perfect m tier.It s a first book, though, and no matter how hard one tries, there is the inevitability of imperfection and probability of overexuberance Here Night fell The darkness was thin, like some sleazy dress that has been worn and worn for many winters and always lets the cold through to the bones Then the moon rose A farm lay quite visible, like a white stone in water, among the stretches of deep woods in their colorless dead leaf By a closer and searching eye than the moon s, everything belonging to the Mortons might have been seen even to the tiny tomato in their neat rows closest to the house, gray and featherlike, appalling in their exposed fragility The moonlight crossed everything, and lay upon the darkest shape of all, the farmhouse where the lamp had just been blown out.first paragraph, The Whistle in A Curtain of GreenThat s a lovely word picture, and a kind of eerie mood setting image It s also too long and just a widge overwritten But the story, a chilling little piece, is plenty interesting It s always good to have an isolated farmhouse with a married couple basking in pale moonlight when something unexplained and menacing in its unexpectedness happens The story left me physically chilled And it s not her best work.I am a major partisan of Why I Live at the P.O as among the great stories of the American South s culture It s a flawlessly built, amusingly written moment in a family s life, a piece of time that any Southern boy with sisters or maternal aunts can not only relate to but practically choreograph So I hope to tell you I marched in and got that radio, and they could of all bit a nail in two, especially Stella Rondo, that it used to belong to, and she well knew she couldn t get it back, I d sue for it like a shot And I very politely took the sewing machine motor I helped pay the most on to give Mama for Christmas back in 1929, and a good big calendar, with the first aid remedies on it The thermometer and the Hawaiian ukulele certainly were rightfully mine, and I stood on the step ladder and got all my watermelon rind preserves and every fruit and vegetable I d put up, every jar Why I Live at the P.O from A Curtain of GreenTwo sisters have a spat about a man, and the family weighs in Hijinks ensue It s a chestnut now, it was a chestnut then, and it s damn good and hilarious.This is my idea of a good story collection, and the writer who created this first crack out of the box is my idea of gifted, and there is not one thing I d say to her except well done, Miss Eudora if she stood right here in front of me, not one little hint of a frown or trace of a doubt in my voice Make those mistakes and make em big, Miss Eudora, because if this is the FIRST then the BEST is gonna knock good right into superb And it did. Why I Live at the P.O is still my favorite short story of all time Sorry, Shirley Jackson You know I love you, too I first read it in college, and read it again in this collection There s just something about this wacky tale of a young woman pushed SO far by her family, she leaves home to live at the post office, that tickles my fancy Whatever that is.Here s a wonderful collection by a consummate storyteller Her characters are just bursting with life They are traveling salesmen, beauticians, murderers, and outspoken postmistresses Some of the ladies are so delicate, they cannot bring themselves to utter the word pregnant, but must spell it out instead They are gossipy and judgmental Many are lonely.From Death of a Traveling Salesman But he wanted to leap up, to say to her, I have been sick and I found out then, only then, how lonely I am Is it too late My heart puts up a struggle inside me, and you have heard it, protesting against emptiness But they are all very human Welty certainly understood people She saw their foibles, and she saw them at their best And she knew, oh, so well, that even ladies in silk dresses let one rip every now and then. I expected to love Eudora Welty s writing but was disappointed I slogged through this collection only enjoying a couple of the humorous stories Why I Live at the P.O., The Petrified Man Most of the stories felt heavy handed and melodramatic and the language was too florid for my taste I will return to Welty at some point and try some of her other collections I m rating this a generous 3 stars as it could be just my mood I m currently reading The Warmth of Other Suns and am not finding stories of quirky white Southerners appealing right now. I read this first short story collection by Eudora Welty after I read What There is to Say We Have Said, the Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell I came to greatly admire her from reading the letters that went back and forth between those two.I am very impressed with this collection of short stories, as I would imagine thousands of other people are There are probably other reviews here that give inklings or than inklings of the content of the 17 stories I will say that many of the short stories were raw and daresay at least to me some were quite depressing But she was merely writing about what life was like for a number of different people from different walks of like in Jackson Mississippi back in the late 1930s, early 1940s I liked her writing style Supposedly she was writing at a very early age, and writing just came naturally to her A number of the stories resonated with me One of them, and it happens to be one of the few humorous works in the collection, is Why I live at the P.O And to think it initially got rejected by 6 well known publications at that time There were several I found to be over the top touchingly wonderfully written but they were quite sad So I would only advise that if you are feeling blue and want a pick me up save these for another day but do read them The Key, The Whistle, Clytie, Flowers for Marjorie, Death of a Traveling Salesman, and A Worn Path I was curious as to when each of the short stories were originally published, and where, which was her first short story published, etc etc So I did some digging and found their first publications and some other interesting ephemera A Curtain of Green Eudora Welty s first short story collection, 1941, Doubleday Doran, issued 2,476 copies 2.50 Following are the stories in order of their appearance in the book 1 Lily Daw and the Three Ladies revision of story published in Winter edition of Prairie Schooner, 1937 2 A Piece of News first published in The Southern Review, Vol 3 No 1, Summer 1937 3 Petrified Man first published in The Southern Review, Vol 4 No 4, Spring 1939, originally rejected by this periodical in 1937, in fact in rejection letter Robert Penn Warren then managing editor called it flawed 4 The Key first published in Harper s Bazaar, 1941 5 Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden first published in New Directions in Prose and Poetry 1940 6 Why I Live at the P.O first published in The Atlantic Monthly, Vol 167, No 4, Apr, 1941 , had been rejected by The New Yorker, Collier s, Harper s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Mademoiselle, and Harper s Magazine7 The Whistle first published in Prairie Schooner, 1938 8 The Hitch Hikers first published in The Southern Review, Vol 5 No 2, Autumn 1939 9 A Memory first published in The Southern Review, 1937 10 Clytie first published in The Southern Review, Vol 7 No 1, Summer 1941 interesting blurb about Clytie 11 Old Mr Marblehall first published in The Southern Review, Spring 1938, As Old Mr Granada 12 Flowers for Marjorie first published in Prairie Schooner, 1937 , rejected by The Southern Review when Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren were managing editors, in fact in rejection letter RPW called it flawed.13 A Curtain of Green first published in The Southern Review, Vol 4 No 2, Autumn 1938 14 A Visit of Charity first published in Decision, a small literary journal in 1941, that famously was rejected 13 times by various magazines in the early 1940s, including The Atlantic Monthly and Ladies Home Journal It was finally published in a small literary magazine for which Welty was paid 30 See 15 Death of a Traveling Salesman first published in Manuscript, 1936, first published short story of Ms Welty 16 Powerhouse first published in The Southern Review, Vol 167, No 6, Jun, 1941, originally rejected by this periodical 17 A Worn Path first published in The Atlantic Monthly, 1941 Wonderful way with words but mostly pointless storiesBy Charles van Buren on February 11, 2018Format Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseJust as many of my fellow residents of the Jackson, Mississippi area, I became accustomed to occasionally seeing Miss Welty around town, particularly at the English Village Jitney Jungle grocery Despite this and the general recognition that she is one of the great authors, I never read much of her work Early on I developed a suspicion of anything which literature teachers and professors told me that I should read and particularly things they said that I had to read In my later years I have gone back and read some of that material and have enjoyed some of it I did not enjoy this collection of stories Miss Welty definitely had a way with words but I require from a story than the artistry of the language and the drawing of characters The truth is, most of these stories bored me I found them to be plotless and pointless I simply do not understand those who say that I should ponder their meaning I belong to the if you have something to say, say it school of communication. This is difficult to rate I can honestly say I liked it, something that wouldn t ve been true ten years ago So great is the literary kinship between Eudora and Flannery, that I included this on my Flannery shelf Eudora is truly a good gift meaning of her name Her capacity for the bizarre is enormous While her stories are strange and very other , her grasp of language is exceptional I m intentionally reading short stories, a genre of craftsmanship of which I ve read little I would love to be able to say that I understood Southern literature, but that would be a lie.My favorite, The Key tells an account of a deaf mute couple in a railroad station When they have a heated conversation with their hands, the other folks waiting become the ones who can t hear or speak A whoop aloud phrase She was in a bathing suit which had no relation to the shape of her body.Caution the n word is used in a non gratuitous manner two or three times. In Her Now Famous Introduction To This First Collection By A Then Unknown Young Writer From Mississippi Named Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter Wrote That There Is Even In The Smallest Story A Sense Of Power In Reserve Which Makes Me Believe Firmly That, Splendid Beginning That It Is, It Is Only The Beginning Porter Was Of Course Prophetic, And The Beginning Was Splendid A Curtain Of Green Both Introduced And Established Eudora Welty As In Instinctive Genius Of Short Fiction, And In This Groundbreaking Collection, Which Includes Powerhouse And Keela, The Outcast Indian Maiden, Are The First Great Works Of A Great American Writer This book was disappointing and I felt like I was dragging through the last 150 pages just to finish it Like Faulkner s, I don t get much out of Welty s stories other than someone yelling, I M FROM MISSISSIPPI DEATH IS INEVITABLE There are other authors that focus upon their Southern homes to great effect read Flannery O Connor , but reading Welty felt to me like listening to an 8tracks southern gothic aesthetic playlist that s full of gimmicky British Americana music like Hozier and Mumford Sons that s included just because it s in a minor key and either has a banjo or mentions church and death I have never much liked this southern gothic I recall O Connor s school of Southern degeneracy quip , and Welty seems to be a token of it These stories are overloaded with similes, metaphors, and other over descriptive language that results in any meaning being obscured and every action becoming stilted, weighed down and drawn out by the mess of pretentious figurative language she must apply to it I felt like I was reading about literary marionettes, not humans, and I got hardly any emotion out of it other than boredom and faint disgust And that s just her portrayal of white people, because her few instances of black characters are even one dimensional, reliant on racist cliches, and uncomfortable to read another similarity to Faulkner I don t know anything about Eudora Welty s life and maybe she was actually a lovely woman, but from A Curtain of Green all I can think is that she hated humanity and her only fascination was evil Ugh In Annie Hall, Woody Allen explains how he thinks everyone can be divided up into the horrible and the miserable In these stories, Welty puts a sharp focus on the horrible, but leaves some room for the merely miserable The writing is strong Often, I found myself impressed with how good the writing was At other times, I felt like she was trying too hard, and it was like slogging through a mire of similes But usually, on a sentence by sentence level, and even paragraph by paragraph, I thought the writing was really fine.And yet, I had a hard time engaging with these stories They were very short on story, and were like vignettes In the best of them, it was like a written version of a Diane Arbus photo But in others, I found myself wondering why Welty was creating such a nice sketch, and then doing nothing with it It s possible that its something about Welty, but I also think that I ve pretty much lost whatever taste I had for Southern gothic. A Curtain of Green and Other Stories is Eudora Welty s first book, and this beautiful collection of short fiction, originally published in 1941, marks the beginning of a long, distinguished literary career This is a book I ve reread and taught several times, and each time I revisit these stories, I feel as if I m catching up with an old friend As is the case with outstanding fiction, I also see new elements in the stories each time I reread them I recommend this collection for its diversity of subject matter a former freak show worker who was known as Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden a jazz musician whose wife may or may not have killed herself an elderly grandmother who makes long, arduous walks into the nearest town to procure medicine for her grandchild Indeed, after reading this collection, you will undoubtedly feel that Ms Welty could write stories about almost any conceivable subject Humor plays important roles in several of the stories, and I want to mention a few words about two stories The Petrified Man and Why I Live at the P.O These stories are similar in the fact that the humor emanates from the characters First, in The Petrified Man, Mrs Fletcher is a woman extremely concerned with appearances The entire story takes place in a beauty parlor while Mrs Fletcher is having her hair fixed by Leota, and almost the entire story is told through dialog Early in the story, Leota mentions Mrs Pike, a new friend For reasons that aren t entirely clear, Mrs Fletcher views Mrs Pike as a threat, and she continually reasserts her superiority to Mrs Pike Together, Leota and Mrs Pike, who is seen only through Leota s stories, attend a freak show Mrs Pike loves the freaks, and this implies, of course, that she welcomes differences Mrs Fletcher, however, emphatically states that she detests freaks The differences in opinion between Mrs Fletcher and Mrs Pike are the foundations for much of the story s humor, and Welty skillfully develops a rounded character with Mrs Pike, even though Mrs Pike is never seen in the story directly While they attend the freak show, Leota and Mrs Pike see a petrified man, a man whose food digests in his joints and turns to stone Later, Mrs Pike identifies the petrified man as an imposter, a man named Mr Petrie, someone who raped four women in California Mrs Pike receives 500 from the police as a reward for leading to Petrie s capture, and this infuriates Leota because the freak show where Petrie was hiding was close to her beauty parlor The Petrified Man explores themes of class, gender, and appearances, and it does so in a way that s extremely humorous Ultimately, Leota serves as a connector between Mrs Fletcher and Mrs Pike s characters Mrs Pike s ability to see others for who they truly are threatens Mrs Fletcher, who is focused on outward appearances Similarly, in the story Why I Live at the P.O., the return of Stella Ronda threatens the security of Sister In her introduction to A Curtain of Green and Other Stories, Katherine Anne Porter describes Sister as a terrifying case of dementia praecox Indeed, Sister s actions are over the top and her first person perspective is unreliable However, I would like to make the argument that Sister verbally abuses Stella Rondo and alienates her entire family because she feels invisible Sister s aggression manifests itself in a series of neurotic acts, all aimed at attracting her family s attention In addition, Welty uses humor to raise intriguing questions about Sister s character Is Sister unaware of how contentious she actually is Is Sister intentionally trying to be funny, or is she using humor as a defense mechanism Is she mad angry or Mad insane Other family members show preference to Stella Ronda because she left China Grove, Mississippi, so at the story s conclusion, Sister also leaves home She takes all of her valuables the electric oscillating fan, the sewing machine motor, the Hawaiian ukulele, etc and moves into China Grove s post office, where she works Like Mrs Fletcher, Sister feels the need to continually assert her superiority, and both women are performers They desperately need audiences A Curtain of Green and Other Stories both entertains and disturbs The characters in these stories are memorable, and the stories themselves are some of the most influential short fiction from the early twentieth century.