The Collected Short Stories of Eudora Welty

Unlike her sister southerner, Flannery O’Connor, each of Miss Welty’s stories shows us a different side of the author. Dark or light, historical or contemporary–she gives free rein to her pallet. But there is one inevitable long-running thread: close character observation, that is, Miss Welty’s camera is always “on” her characters: dress, habitual gestures, speech. No danger here of the writer leaving gravity behind for abstract observation or political manifesto. A few of these stories are regularly in the text books and anthologized: “The Worn Path” and “Why I Live at the PO”, in particular. My personal favorite is “Powerhouse,” a character study and arguably one of the most complete characters ever drawn in an American short story. Innuendo and bald fact stand side by side in a wicked, yet enigmatic depiction of an itinerant jazz piano player named Powerhouse in the pre-civil rights south, a Jelly Roll Morton ivory tinkler who unrolls his story bit by wicked bit. It’s so good, in fact, I suspect the ethnicity PC troops are even now  jack booting down Powerhouse’s street with an eye to pound on his door and drag him off into the bland, placeless, characterless fictional night.  >
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