The leisurely pace of this novel feels like a visit on the verandah on a humid day with a glass of sweet tea. All the headiness and anticipation of a a large family wedding, old Southern style.
Beautifully written from varying points of view. Slow reading in places, as I suspect Welty intended--lots happens in less than a week, but the pace of events is slow. The only comparison is with Faulkner, but it's much easier to read. Begins with the first solo train ride, in 1923, of 9 yr old Laura, an only child, to visit her multiple Fairchild cousins on their Mississippi delta plantation. The occasion is the wedding of her 17 yr old cousin Dabney. Laura doesn't yet understand why the family doesn't approve of Dabney's fiance Troy, or why she's not allowed to be among the many flower girls her age. The Fairchilds are the most prominent family in the area (I suspect Welty chose their name as carefully as she did those of individual family members like Ranny, Bluet, Battle and Little Battle). This prominence explains much of their behavior. The Civil War is more than the background, it's another character in the story. Welty's descriptions are wonderful, whether it's the effects of the hot, humid weather, family picnics, or the relationships in the family and with their servants. This is my first Welty; I'll certainly read more.
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