You will run out of highlighter ink reading this one, because there are so many passages you will surely want to reread and savor later.
This grand matriarch of Southern Writer Tradition was first discovered, praised and published by luminaries such as Robert Penn Warren when he was coeditor of The Southern Review, Edward Weeks when he was editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and Mary Louise Aswell, when she was fiction editor of Harper's Bazaar.
This collection of stories is truly worthy to be called a classic. It is sometimes tedious reading, because the stories and characters are complex. After a number of false starts over a period of years, I finally resolved to give this scholarly work the focused time and attention it deserves, and feel richly rewarded for the effort.
Ms. Welty joins the ranks of great writers who prove to us that a great writer does not have to live the experience to effectively write about it. She leaps with ease between characters as diverse as Aaron Burr, a deaf black servant boy, a traveling salesmen, eccentric Southern matrons, and countless others. She portrays them in all of their complexities as if she had lived the experiences of each. Her descriptions of scenes and settings are equally as lucid and believable as if she had first hand knowledge of each. This rare and precious gift is best described in her own words, "I have been told, both in approval and accusation, that I seem to love all of my characters. What I do in writing of any character is to try to enter into the mind, heart, and skin of a human being who is not myself. Whether this happens to be a man or a woman, old or young, with skin black or white, the primary challenge lies in making the jump itself. It is the act of a writer's imagination that I set most high."