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Delta Wedding [Paperback]

Eudora Welty
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 12 2001 Harvest/HBJ Book
A vivid and charming portrait of a large southern family, the Fairchilds, who live on a plantation in the Mississippi delta. The story, set in 1923, is exquisitely woven from the ordinary events of family life, centered around the visit of a young relative, Laura McRaven, and the family’s preparations for her cousin Dabney’s wedding.

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Product Description


[she] give[s] the people of her South an inner richness ... It is a great and generous achievement SUNDAY TIMES --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

EUDORA WELTY (1909-2001) was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and attended the Mississippi State College for Women, the University of Wisconsin, and Columbia University (where she studied advertising). In addition to short fiction, Welty wrote novels, novellas, essays, and reviews, and was the winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars an exceptional portrait of southern life May 5 2003
By maureen
I first bought this book a year ago, seeing it laying on a table of "recommended books" at [a store] and thinking to myself that it sounded intriguing. I got home, opened it up and....put it down w/in ten minutes. Being somewhat widely read, this does not often happen to me, but I admit I found this book at first utterly boring.
However, a few days ago, I decided to try again and this time I opened up the book-and kept reading. The story draws you in slowly, until you feel you are present in shellmound, sitting in the settee in the corner watching this all take place. The setting description was vividly realistic, the characters believable. The characters ARE the plot line: the novel unfolds through the eyes of both outsiders (ellen and laura) and also through the eyes of the fairchilds themselves [in the forms of shelley and dabney].
This thought provoking narrative of a large and intricately woven Southern family is brought to life through the evocative words of eudora welty, and stays in the heart long after the last page is turned.
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On its surface, "Delta Wedding" is a story about the preparations for a wedding by a Southern clan. As one of the characters remarks, the family takes "you in circles, whirling delightedly about [but} nothing really so very much happened." Anyone expecting a page-turner about plantation life or a thickly plotted potboiler will surely be disappointed. Instead, you must be willing to believe that "old stories, family stories, Mississippi stories [are] the same as very holy or very passionate."
The plot, such as it is, is simple: the extended Fairchild family reunites for a wedding, and everyone brings their dreams, memories, grudges, and intrigues. As with any "typical" family reunion, there is a pervasive threat of scandal that never quite pans out, and several petty incidents get blown out of proportion by the affected characters. The sheer number of kinfolk can be overwhelming at times, but they are clearly delineated (although it must be said that the black servants rarely transcend stereotype, which is undoubtedly an accurate portrayal of how a rich Southern family would have viewed the help). Welty's drawling humor gives the narrative much warmth and vitality; her ability to switch perspective seamlessly from one character to the next is truly without equal.
All in all, Welty writes beautifully of familial relations and social manners; she can truly be considered the Jane Austen of the South.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like being a member of the family Aug. 21 2000
Reading "Delta Wedding" is like attending a family wedding and meeting all your distant relatives for the first time. You have a sense of belonging and, at the same time, a sense of being an outsider. Everyone seems to know everyone so much better than you do and you're rushing to catch up on everyone's story and sort out who is who. This is a relatively short book, but perhaps because she is primarily a short-story writer, Eudora Welty has packed this book so densely with character and detail, you will feel as though you have read a family saga of many hundred pages. The delta is recreated in such detail that you can feel the humid, misty breezes and hear the crickets chirping. The young girls through whose perspective you watch the proceedings are enchanting. Struggling to keep track of the characters forced me to go back and re-read parts of the book at times, which was, in fact, helpful in discovering important overlooked details. This is a book you can re-read many times always discovering something or someone new. Eudora Welty ranks at the very top of Southern writers and American writers in general.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Here it is, Mrs. McWain! May 8 2000
I do have to admit that Eudora Welty is one of the best writer's as far as capturing the complexities of human emotions and interactions. The way she wrote made me feel sympathy for the characters at times, and a sense that I know what they are going through at others. She has brought them to life so beautifully that there is probably a character to relate to anybody who picks up the book.(Which is very possible due to a LONG list of characters.) As I read the book I could see biogrpahical bits and pieces of her own memories which she remembered so descriptively. The description of the Delta causes you to feel so familiar with it that you may as well just live there. I can just picture the open, treeless fields and the little rivers. She also kept a hopeful outlook for relationships throughout the book, as I read would it would be from many critics, but I could not possibly believe when I found out that Robbie left George. Also, her common themes about love being freedom from isolation, social prejudice, and convention were all displayed in the book, whether vaguely or bright and apparent. The book was hard to read at times due to the fact that some of the chapters were so long. It was hard for me to sit down and read a whole chapter at a time, but that was the only drawback. Overall, the book was well-written and anybody who can relate to the irony of family get-togethers will enjoy reading this book.
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I had to read this for a Lit of the American South class I'm taking for my M.A. I read it in two days with a study guide close at hand as well as several background articles on Welty. I'm grateful for the additional materials, but even without them I know I would have found much to praise in this book.
When I first started to read, my professor suggested compiling a list of characters and their relationships in order to assist in keeping everyone straight. This was excellent advice and allowed me to read without getting too bogged down in character names and trying to figure out who was allied with whom, etc etc.
The novel is ostensibly a portrait of one Southern family. On a broader perspective, one can view it as a deconstruction of the American South with its age-old social structures and isolationism. But it can also be taken on a much more universal level. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in any milieu will relate to Ellen Fairchild, Laura McEvern, and Robbie Reid. Families across the world aren't so different. Robbie's statement in the novel's climax: "I didn't marry into them, I married George!" is, I thought, particularly insightful.
I honestly can't praise this book enough. It has inspired me to want to read more of Welty's work as well as other great Southern writers. An excellent introduction...
In some ways, perhaps in structure and narrative tone, it reminded me of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.
Again, this is one of the greatest books I have ever read!
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Pure drudgery
I must admit I have not yet finished Delta Wedding. If I do, it will be by sheer force of will. It is a laborious read. Read more
Published on April 24 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Lush, slow southern writing at its best
Eudora Welty scored big-time with this dreamy, humid, dense (HUGE cast of characters), meandering but otherwise very simple story of a young girl, a cousin, whose mother has... Read more
Published on April 20 2003 by Peggy Vincent
1.0 out of 5 stars Advil, anyone?
This novel was the hardest I have ever read. It was not due to content, but due to the writing itself. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars In Defense of Delta Wedding
Unlike the reader from Ohio, I loved Delta Wedding. It was my first introduction to Eudora Welty. I found her prose beautiful and loved the characters. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2002 by Nancy J. Miller
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment
This is the first I've ever read of Eudora Welty, and I found the book to meander aimlessly and end inconclusively. Read more
Published on May 17 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Song of the South
As a lifelong Southern girl, I find that there are three authors who can fully unveil the truth about the south: Shelby Foote, William Faulkner, and Miss Eudora Welty. Read more
Published on June 26 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Delta Wedding is one book I'm going to have to read again.
This book is deep, deep without being ponderous or erudite. It is deep like life, like an ordinary day, filled with significant events and events whose significance has yet to be... Read more
Published on March 7 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars And You Thought Weddings Weren't That Deep...
Eudory Welty has created a world as hazy and ephemeral as a hot Southern afternoon. Characters and events emerge and dissipate in this novel like heat waves. Read more
Published on March 2 1999
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