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A Curtain of Green and Other Stories

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  658 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
In her now-famous introduction to this first collection by a then-unknown young writer from Mississippi named Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter wrote that "there is even in the smallest story a sense of power in reserve which makes me believe firmly that, splendid beginning that it is, it is only the beginning." Porter was of course prophetic, and the beginning was splen ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 4th 1979 by Mariner Books (first published 1941)
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Book Club Books
68th out of 188 books — 249 voters
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Best Southern Gothic Literature
65th out of 108 books — 288 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,571)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4.25* of five

The Publisher Says: In her now-famous introduction to this first collection by a then-unknown young writer from Mississippi named Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter wrote that "there is even in the smallest story a sense of power in reserve which makes me believe firmly that, splendid beginning that it is, it is only the beginning." Porter was of course prophetic, and the beginning was splendid. A Curtain of Green both introduced and established Eudora Welty as in instincti
Bill  Kerwin
Dec 11, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the pleasures of reading is encountering an author who has influenced the authors we admire, and this pleasure may turn to delight when we discover this new author pleases us more than first. My admiration for Flannery O'Connor led me to Eudora Welty, but now I find that Welty--both as a writer and a person--is someone whom I both admire and love.

Both O'Connor and Welty write a lapidary prose, inlayed with irony and humor and inscribed with the characters—many of them eccentrics--who peop
Sep 14, 2012 Melki rated it really liked it
'Why I Live at the P.O.' is still my favorite short story of all time. (Sorry, Shirley Jackson. You know I love you, too.) I first read it in college, and read it again in this collection. There's just something about this wacky tale of a young woman pushed SO far by her family, she leaves home to live at the post office, that tickles my fancy. Whatever that is.

Here's a wonderful collection by a consummate storyteller. Her characters are just bursting with life. They are traveling salesmen, beau
Aug 31, 2015 Yve rated it did not like it
This book was disappointing and I felt like I was dragging through the last 150 pages just to finish it. Like Faulkner's, I don't get much out of Welty's stories other than someone yelling, "I'M FROM MISSISSIPPI!!! DEATH IS INEVITABLE!!!" There are other authors that focus upon their Southern homes to great effect (read: Flannery O'Connor), but reading Welty felt to me like listening to an 8tracks "southern gothic" "aesthetic" playlist that's full of gimmicky British "Americana" music like Hozie ...more
Duffy Pratt
Mar 09, 2014 Duffy Pratt rated it it was ok
Shelves: classic
In Annie Hall, Woody Allen explains how he thinks everyone can be divided up into the horrible and the miserable. In these stories, Welty puts a sharp focus on the horrible, but leaves some room for the merely miserable.

The writing is strong. Often, I found myself impressed with how good the writing was. At other times, I felt like she was trying too hard, and it was like slogging through a mire of similes. But usually, on a sentence by sentence level, and even paragraph by paragraph, I thought
May 21, 2008 Chad rated it it was amazing

A Curtain of Green and Other Stories is Eudora Welty’s first book, and this beautiful collection of short fiction, originally published in 1941, marks the beginning of a long, distinguished literary career. This is a book I’ve reread and taught several times, and each time I revisit these stories, I feel as if I’m catching up with an old friend. As is the case with outstanding fiction, I also see new elements in the stories each time I reread them. I recommend this collection for its diversity
Aug 23, 2015 Karima rated it it was amazing
Short stories at their finest.
She can set a scene! Here's an example:
from "A Memory"

She herself stared fixedly at his slow, undeliberate movements, and held her body perfectly still. She was unnaturally white and fatly aware, in a bathing suit that had no relation to her body. Fat hung upon her upper arms like an arrested earth slide on a hill. With the first motion that she might make, I was afraid that she would slide down upon herself into a terrifying heap. Her breasts hung heavy and widenin
Dec 22, 2010 Annie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
sigh. i truly think this collection of short stories has ruined other books for me for the last three months.

where to begin? eudora is so terrific at the art of the short story. she says little of what she is really thinking, but creates tongue-in-cheek plots and characters that set your mind on fire with possibilities. i think of each of her short stories as a sort of mystery tale. in her mission to expose the american south for all its dirty beauty she is both mercilessly cruel, as well as ir
Oct 11, 2014 Ron rated it liked it
I believe this is Eudora Welty's first collection of short stories, first published in 1941. Quite a few stories here with a very wide range. I like the writing a lot. There are many great observations within these stories. Some were rather bizarre, and there seems an excess of simple-minded folk. The bizarre strangeness effect was rather cumulative as I read through these stories. Every one seems to have a touch of strange about it. A few of the stories were to me rather uninteresting things in ...more
Jul 18, 2014 Jeff rated it liked it
When one hears someone speaking of great Southern writers it is usually Faulkner, O'Connor, and Welty who are spoken of in the same breath, especially of the gothic genre. In reading this first published collection of Welty's I must admit to being slightly underwhelmed. Now, that should be taken in context with the reputation that precedes it, the writing is fine, some of the stories are interesting, but it certainly is not at the level of Faulkner.

In this collection the two most traditionally
Sam Poole
May 07, 2014 Sam Poole rated it it was amazing
Flannery has been my favorite author for years and only Eudora Welty comes close to matching her aesthetic. These stories are not about people for whom one feels sympathy- they are losers, creeps, the tragic and the misunderstood. The famous works deserve their fame but the real power lies within stories like "The Whistle" and "A Memory". Dialogue makes up the majority of the action but it is the descriptions of a slowly changing southern atmosphere that gives real weight to the collection. One ...more
Sep 10, 2015 Scarlett rated it really liked it
This is my first Eduora Welty and I have to say that it really opened up my appetite for more.

Eudora understands people, not only that but she loves them. As with other great southern literature writers, it is her sense of empathy and wonder towards the human race what makes these stories so endlessly fascinating. In very few words, she is able to transcend from her beautifully crafted descriptions in order to reach that intangible feeling that makes all of her characters come alive.

Perhaps ther
Larry Bassett
Jun 25, 2011 Larry Bassett rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who live in 'the South' of the U.S.
Recommended to Larry by: the southern author Reynolds Price
I read this book of short stories as a part of The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. It was her first book of short stories, published in 1941. Hard to believe that this was written 70 years ago based on reading the words.

This was my first reading of Eudora Welty. I found the book on my parents' bookshelf but didn't read it until I discovered she lived in and wrote about Mississippi. Her being a southern author attracted me to her. I think I will have to read more of her work to decide if I li
Dec 20, 2014 Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, south
I picked this up because years ago I had enjoyed Delta Wedding. It found it sweetly poetic, a delicate glimpse into the drowsy-hot Mississippi summer of a motley family. The tone was perfect for a little girl observing the bustle of her elders around her. Plot was secondary to an evocation of southern life, but that worked for the novel.

Unfortunately, Eudora Welty's short stories held none of that charm for me. The tone that was so perfect for a little girl running around underfoot seemed confu
Apr 19, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
I picked this up in conjunction with One Writer's Beginnings. It's Welty's earliest short story collection, and a number of the stories are mentioned in her memoir. Three I knew and enjoyed reading again after many years: "Petrified Man," "Why I Live at the P.O." and "A Worn Path." I was also impressed by "A Piece of News" and "The Whistle." The other dozen stories I did not like. Welty has a knack for characterization, but the story plots frequently seem thin, and more than once I found myself ...more
Vanessa Wu
Sep 07, 2011 Vanessa Wu rated it it was amazing
What lifts a piece of writing out of the ordinary and makes it great? What does immortal prose look like? Why do some stories lodge in your heart and never go away?

Eudora Welty knows. She writes of ordinary people and ordinary things but they resonate with extraordinary power:

"Night fell. The darkness was thin, like some sleazy dress that has been worn for many winters and always lets the cold through to the bones. Then the moon rose. A farm lay quite visible, like a white stone in water, among
Aug 31, 2008 Leslie rated it really liked it
These stories don't quite pack the emotional or lyrical wallop of Katherine Anne Porter or Faulkner short stories, but they are still enjoyable and beautiful nonetheless. What I love about Welty is that she is entirely unpretentious and straightforward in her portrayal of life in rural Mississippi. She shows the heart and the beauty but never shies from exposing the dysfunction and even violence lurking just below the surface of seemingly normal families, towns, lives. I always feel a special co ...more
Having a literary Southern parent, I've been hearing about Eudora Welty pretty much since birth. So I figured I'd start with her early short stories, which I found to be very much in the mode of melancholic-Southern-women-around-World-War-II (see Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, etc.), which is okay by me. The degree of quality does vary a bit, but on the whole, it's a pretty solid collection. Every story is possessed with a sort of Gothic, subtropical, almost magical- ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Maryfrances rated it it was amazing
The short story doesn't get much better than in the hands of Eudora Welty. She' right there with the best, and she builds characters in a few words, takes a look at human nature, and entertains any reader looking for quality style. A great collection.
Jan 14, 2016 Joti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Harry Taylor
Feb 04, 2010 Harry Taylor rated it liked it
The book as a collection of short stories was alright. There was a lot of what I would call "pulp fiction" type stories. But there are some REALLY GOOD stories as well that exhibit Weltys ability to create memorable characters in just a few pages. Some of my favorites and recommended stories include: "A Worn Path", "The Whistle" and especially "Why I Live at the P.O.", just to name a few. I would recommend this to anyone with an appreciation for (Southern)women writers or and Southern rural life ...more
Douglas Dalrymple
Sep 05, 2014 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it
It's been more than twenty years since my Southern Fiction class in college. Re-reading these stories now, I like them even more.
Oct 13, 2008 MicheleinNJ rated it liked it
Skimmed through this book of short stories rather quickly; need to read them again, and possibly again. Seems like the kind of writing you get something new from each time. Picked it up at the thrift shop because I obviously recognized Eudora Welty's name. Once I finished reading the stories, though, my immediate thought was "What's all the fuss about?" The stories seem at first glance to be simplistic, but while I might not be smart enough to get their depth the first time around, I am smart en ...more
Jul 16, 2015 meheadhurts rated it it was ok
only read a few a the stories. Wasn't that crazy with the author's writing style, so didn't finish all the stories.
Oct 19, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Just perfect while visiting Mississippi and Eudora Welty's house.
Jan 29, 2014 Casey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
Welty is so skilled at describing people. Every story has a new way of rendering characters physically. They are all so sharp and original. These stories remind me of home and crack me up, even as some have a sinister lining.
Dec 13, 2013 Jasonlylescampbell rated it it was amazing
Eudora Welty is an incredible writer. I have heard high praise of her work by Walker Percy and been interested knowing they were friends (liked to talk about Days of Our Lives together Ha!) It took me a few stories to get used to her style, but her ability to drop you into a world and cover so many different types of characters is amazing. From this collection I loved Death of a Traveling Salesman, Worn Path, Clytee, Why I Live at the PO and A Visit of Charity the most.
Jul 15, 2013 Joyce rated it really liked it
Some of these I had read before, but most were new. I've dipped into Welty before but I don't think I've ever appreciated the range of her writing as much as in this collection. From outrageous humor to thoughtful, insightful drama, these stories cover a range of emotions and writing styles. She was a favorite of my mother-in-law, and I should have explored her earlier. A wide-ranging and intriguing collection of stories set in the South.
Welty, Eudora
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

In compilation only.

1) Lily Daw and the Three Ladies
2) A Piece of News
3) Petrified Man
4) The Key
5) Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden
6) Why I Live at the P.O.
7) The Whistle
8) The Hitch-Hikers
9) A Memory
10) Clytie
11) Old Mr. Marblehall
12) Flowers for Marjorie
13) A Curtain of Green
14) A Visit of Charity
15) Death of a Traveling Salesman
16) Powerhouse
17) A Worn Path
Anne Monfort
Feb 09, 2011 Anne Monfort rated it did not like it

Curtain of Green is a collection of short stories by Eudora Welty. These stories are all beautifully written with rich details and descriptions. But, they’re also really boring and confusing. Most of the stories were totally pointless and didn’t seem to have a plot at all. For writers, these stories showed a lot about how to use symbolism and metaphors but beyond that, they just weren't any fun to read.
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Eudora Alice Welty was an award-winning American author who wrote short stories and novels about the American South. Her book The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous awards. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America.

Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and lived a sig
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