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The Golden Apples Welty Is On Home Ground In The State Of Mississippi In This Collection Of Seven Stories She Portrays The MacLains, The Starks, The Moodys, And Other Families Of The Fictitious Town Of Morgana I Doubt That A Better Book About The South One That Completely Gets The Feel Of The Particular Texture Of Southern Life And Its Special Tone And Pattern Has Ever Been Written New Yorker not vel a cria o das personagens e da pequena e fict cia localidade de Morgana, no Mississ pi As sete hist rias contam as perip cias das personagens, ao longo de quarenta anos Chuva de Ouro Recital de Junho Senhor Coelho Lago Lua Todo o Mundo Sabe M sica de Espanha e Os Viandantes O livro termina com o posf cio da tradutora uma excelente tradu o, refira se , essencial compreens o de cada conto Um retrato fiel e intenso de uma comunidade do sul dos EUA, onde n o faltam as quest es pol ticas e raciais Assim, entrecruzam se os universos feminino e masculino, a mem ria colectiva, a perten a a um lugar, as ra zes sulistas, a vida e a morte, numa narrativa intensa e carregada de refer ncias mitol gicas a come ar pelo t tulo desta obra Nina cismava se seria a lentid o e a quase imobilidade dos barcos na gua que os tornava t o m gicos Afinal de contas, o barquinho delas entre os juncos naquele dia n o estivera longe desta maravilha A gua e o c u, a Lua ou o Sol giravam sempre, e entre eles havia esta indecis o m gica, a de um barco E mais do que um barco deriva pelo mundo, era o mundo que, ao dar pelo barco, ficava deriva, esquecido A coisa sonhada trocava de lugar com o sonhador 4 Lago Lua, p 157 Entretanto, como se dispensassem o apoio das pernas, as cabe as dos dois homens continuavam a voltar se calmamente para o largo, espraiando os olhos pela paisagem Por m, como se escarnecesse tamb m dessa postura, certa vez o hisp nico, pondo os cotovelos para fora, uniu as m os no topo da cabe a para segurar o chap u Era a pose proeminente de uma mulher, um nu reclinado 6 M sica de Espanha, p 247. Eudora Welty s The Golden Apples is in some sense beyond the human mind beyond what fiction addresses Welty s fiction is poetry, but beyond poetry It is complex in not supernatural ways, but maybe in superhuman ways in ways that are real but that are beyond the human mind Virgie, in the collection s closing story, The Wanderers, is a fine example of this She knew that now at the river, where she had been before on moonlit nights in autumn, drunken and sleepless, mist lay on the water and filled the trees, and from the eyes to the moon would be a cone, a long silent horn, of white light It was a connection visible as the hair is in air, between the self and the moon, to make the self feel the child, a daughter far, far back Then the water, warmer than the night air or the self that might be suddenly cold, like any other arms, took the body under too, running without visibility into the mouth As she would drift in the river, too alert, too insolent in her heart in those days, the mist might thin momentarily and brilliant jewel eyes would look out from the water line and the bank Sometimes in the weeds a lightning bug would lighten, on and off, on and off, for as long in the night as she was there to see 454 Nothing about the preceding paragraph is beyond reality, but it is indeed beyond normal human consciousness It is like the book s characters are constantly within meditation, absorbing every detail around themselves making even the minuscule visible as the hair is in air Meditation extends well beyond the natural world but to all people in Welty s Morgana, Mississippi from bubbly socialites not quite like Virginia Woolf s Mrs Dalloway to introverted men like Ran MacLain of The Whole World Knows, these characters are subjects of Welty s meditation and are as lovely and clear to her as, in the weeds a lightning bug that would lighten, on and off, on and off, for as long in the night as she was there to see Page numbers are from The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. One of the most amazing, beautiful, and striking series of short stories I ve ever read The characters are so layered and messy and complicated They become real people by the time you reach the end and you re left grieving for some and relieved and happy for others The last of the stories is particularly beautiful and won t ever be forgotten. Welty is a titan Ok, now that that s out of the way, this book is a collection of short stories that all relate to the same town Morgana and its townspeoplemaking itnovel like than short story collection like I read in an interview with Welty that the town s name is based on the sea horizon mirage phenomenon fata morgana This hazy, dream like misting in and out of mirage and reality perfectly characterizes the tone and structure of the book It became a little bit my white whale to finish truthfully because the density of the prose was a stumbling block for me Her narrative is sprinkled in between long lists of character names and dream like sequences, making it very slow to digest I finally gave in to the book by letting the language wash over me and by paying less attention to who was who Some of her descriptive passages are so exquisite and use such unique unexpected metaphors, that they take your breath away She was an amazing literary mind and this book is a clear testament to that fact. This book has been an albatross around my neck all freaking summer I found it on a table of free books while out for a walk one day, and I thought, being a writer and a Southerner, perhaps I should read one of the most lauded Southern writers There were a couple chapters of this book that I just loved, where I could see what all the fuss over Eudora Welty was about she paints such a wonderful picture of small town Southern life in the early 20th century that I could almost feel the shimmering heat of Morgana, Mississippi Or maybe that was just the heat of early 21st century Washington, D.C right outside my door Unfortunately, I hated most of the rest of the book some chapters relied too much on stream of consciousness narration for my taste, and it bounced around so much that I felt I never really got to know any of the inhabitants of Morgana I m glad I finally got to see what s so great or not so great about Eudora Welty, but it ll probably be a while before I m brave enough to pick up another one of her books. Beautifully written short stories about a fictional Mississippi town and its inhabitants. Virgie walked down the hill too, crossed the road, and made her way through the old MacLain place and the pasture down to the river She stood on the willow bank It was bright as mid afternoon in the openness of the water, quiet and peaceful She took off her clothes and let herself into the river.She saw her waist disappear into reflection less water it was like walking into sky, some impurity of skies All seemed one weight, one matter until she put down her head and closed her eyes and the light slipped under her lids, she felt this matter a translucent one, the river, herself, the sky all vessels which the sun filled She began to swim in the river, forcing it gently, as she would wish for gentleness to her body Her breasts around which she felt the water curving were as sensitive at that moment as the tips of wings must feel to birds, or antennae to insects She felt the sand, grains intricate as little cogged wheels, minute shells of old seas, and the many dark ribbons of grass and mud touch her and leave her, like suggestions and withdrawals of some bondage that might have been dear, now dismembering and losing itself She moved but like a cloud in skies, aware but only of the nebulous edges of her feeling and the vanishing opacity of her will, the carelessness for the water of the river through which her body had already passed as well as for what was ahead The bank was all one, where out of the faded September world the little ripening plums started Memory dappled her like nothan a paler light, which in slight agitations came through leaves, not darkening her forthan an instant the iron taste of the old river was sweet to her, though If she opened her eyes she looked at blue bottles, the skating waterbugs If she trembled, it was at the smoothness of a fish or a snake that crossed her knees In the middle of the river, whose downstream or upstream could not be told by a current, she lay on her stretched arm, not breathing, floating Virgie had reached the point where in the next moment she might turn into something without feeling it shock her She hung suspended in the Big Black River as she would know how to hang suspended in felicity Far to the west, a cloud running fingerlike over the sun made her splash the water She stood, walked along the soft mud of the bottom, and pulled herself out of the water by a willow branch, which like a warm rain brushed her back with its leaves The moon, while she looked into the high sky, took its own light between one moment and the next A wood thrush, which had begun to sing, hushed its long moment and began again Virgie put her clothes back on She would have given much for a cigarette, always wishing for a littleof what had just been from The Wanderers by Eudora Welty, in The Golden Apples Unexpected very subtle, complex, intense stories, with lushly descriptive, poetic language Another reviewer called them beyond the human mind and I had a similar sense, when I finished the last story these stories are over my head there shere that I m not getting yet Stories to dwell on, almost to luxuriate in except that some of them deal subtly with extreme interior suffering But also relief, release, even moments of bliss, as in that passage from the Wanderers which I think might be the most beautiful passage I ve read in any book, ever Whenever I ve spent time in Mississippi, visiting my husband s relatives, I felt I could almost pass out and die from the overpoweringly intoxicating scents of flowers blooming everywhere, and Eudora captures not only that, but the similar overpowering social situations in her fictional small town where everyone knows everybody s business, but hardly anyone is truly kind But there are also these most transcendent moments and passages The first story, Shower of Gold, introduces the nearly mythical King MacLain, a man who wanders away from and back to his wife Snowdie, is sighted all over the country like the dead Elvis and rud to be the father of many but never really wants to know his twin legitimate sons Ran and Eugene each of whom has his own, quite different, story, later in the book Snowdie may be the only townsperson who is truly kind even almost unbelievably so but sustains wounds from the catty pity of the other women who feel that dwelling on Snowdie makes church holier In June Recital, an innocent nine year old boy, Loch Morrison, watches from his window as a woman enters the abandoned house next to his, and sets about to burn the house down The story then switches to the very different point of view of his traumatized sixteen year old sister, Cassie, the former student of the would be arsonist, Miss Eckhart a single woman piano teacher, Yankee, German, isolated and thought of as different Cassie recalls the ordeal of her piano lessons with Miss Eckhart who lived and had her studio in that now abandoned house, where Miss Eckhart tried, not always successfully, to maintain her dignity in the face of abuse by a man rooming in the house, the death of the man she loved, and her infatuation with her precocious student, Virgie, who takes advantage of her teacher s excessive devotion, becoming cocky Virgie the town s wild girl the independent thinker the one Miss Eckhart hoped would go on to greater things now sneaks into the abandoned house to frolic with her sailor boyfriend observed by the children next door Virgie, also a loner who never marries, becomes the central character in the final story, The Wanderers, where she deals with her mother s death and then makes the decision to leave the town for good This is the story that had grown on me most in memory The Whole World Knows tells the story of Ran MacClain, son of the infamous King MacClain When he believes his new wife to be unfaithful, Ran moves out and rents a room nearby but still in love with his wife, he goes every night to play cards and croquet with her and her presumed lover who is also his co worker He fantasizes about beating the lover to death with the croquet mallet, then goes back to his rented room and vomits Everyone in town, particularly the old women, feels free to lavish Ran, in public, with their advice.The story escalates as he begins spending time with an innocent country girl who falls in love with him Moon Lake maybe the most astonishing story is an encounter between a group of town girls and a group of orphan girls that explores what it might mean to be an orphan, or, in the case of Easter, the leader of the orphans, a child abandoned first by her father and then by her mother, someone that nobody is watching Nobody cares And at the same time, in the character of Nina, I thought Eudora may have been showing us a glimpse of her young self becoming an artist, longing to be able to inhabit the consciousness of Easter, or a boy, or a Negro, to become someone other than herself. These interconnected stories were just amazing and beautiful.One could just imagine the slow pace of life in the Deep South.A book to take in slowly, the prose is poetic and Welty brings the characters to life. The only piece of writing by Eudora Welty I had read prior to picking up The Golden Apples was a her book of autobiographical essays called One Writer s Beginnings I think this was a good place to start In it she describes how she learned to listen for stories in every day life Growing up in the South where story telling is part of the fabric of everyday life equipped her with the ability to see and hear stories that most of us might pass by without a second thought In One Writer s beginnings she tells how she learned to see stories as through the lens of a camera The frame through which I viewed the world changed too Greater than scene, I came to see, is situation Greater than situation is implication Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined to any frame This understanding of Eudora Welty s way of seeing people really enhanced my experience of reading The Golden Apples None of the characters she has created are insignificant She never judges them She simply tells you their story They are the inhabitants of the small southern town of Morgana,Mississippi Each story in this collection could be a stand alone story Taken together, however, these seven short stories weave a tapestry of life in this town over the first 50 odd years of the twentieth century Stories of individuals are told but as you progress through the collection you can see how characters move in and out of each others lives, how they touch each other and effect each other, some effecting others lives while not being present or even having knowledge that their actions are resonating with others over time and space Eudora Welty manages to capture life on a personal, internal level as well as over a physical, geographical space To me her writing exhibits the honest storytelling tradition of the American south with well executed moments of stream of consciousness style narrative.Not all of the short stories in this volume were to my taste.However, taken as a whole The Golden Apples is a stunning, well executed, and thought provoking piece of literature.


About the Author: Eudora Welty


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