These eight stories reveal the singular imaginative power of one of America’s most admired writers. Set in the Old Natchez Trace region, the stories dip in and out of history and range from virgin wilderness to a bar in New Orleans. In each story, Miss Welty sustains the high level of performance that, throughout her distinguished career, has won her numerous literary awards. “Miss Welty runs a photofinish with the finest prose artists of her time” (Time*).
“Her fine attention to detail and description stays with a reader long after the story’s end. When she nails something, it stays nailed. For example, it will be some time before I forget the scene of the deaf bootblack boy watching a sleeping Aaron Burr in First Love, and this passage from that scene — “The heart is secret even when the moment it dreamed of has come, a moment when there might have been a revelation….” Or this evocation of New Orleans that opens The Purple Hat — “It was in a bar, a quiet little hole in the wall. It was four o’clock in the afternoon. Beyond the open door the rain fell, the heavy color of the sea, in air where the sunlight was still suspended. Its watery relection lighted the room, as a room might have lighted a mousehole. It was in New Orleans.” (excerpt from a review on Amazon by J. Carragher)
* = I haven’t been able to find the exact source, but this text is often used to describe the collection on sales outlets