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Delta Wedding

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,079 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
A vivid and charming portrait of a large southern family, the Fairchilds, who live on a plantation in the Mississippi delta. The story, set in 1923, is exquisitely woven from the ordinary events of family life, centered around the visit of a young relative, Laura McRaven, and the family’s preparations for her cousin Dabney’s wedding.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 21st 1979 by Mariner Books (first published 1946)
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Diane Barnes
Nov 05, 2015 Diane Barnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this 2 years ago, and loved it every bit as much this time around. A big, multi-generational, chaotic family; aunts, uncles, cousins, everybody a part of the Fairchild clan, except, funnily enough, no grand-parents, now that I think of it. Wonderful, sweet, old maid aunts Primrose and Jim Allen, busybody take charge Aunt Tempe, saintly mother Ellen and her 8 children, all spoiled rotten in a nice way. Daphne, the 2nd oldest daughter, decides at 17 to marry the plantation overseer Tr ...more
Camie
Nov 25, 2015 Camie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If I were tested on this book I would most assuredly fail. Luckily I see I am not the first to call it " a jumbled up mess." Here's the bit I understood. The book is about the Fairchild's a large lively Southern family living on a plantation called Shellmound in the 1920's. It's cast of characters (which includes all distant relatives, servants, neighbors, ancestors, pets, and etc. ) is roughly 40 + and they are there for the wedding of Dabney the sweetheart of the family and Troy the overseer. ...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: A vivid and charming portrait of a large southern family, the Fairchilds, who live on a plantation in the Mississippi delta. The story, set in 1923, is exquisitely woven from the ordinary events of family life, centered around the visit of a young relative, Laura McRaven, and the family’s preparations for her cousin Dabney’s wedding.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten r
...more
Ben
Jun 19, 2010 Ben rated it it was amazing
I grew up in a family of four kids, and during the summer, we shared a lakehouse with another large family. Nearby, several other families from our church also had lakehouses. Every day - throughout the entire summer - was largely spent swimming, waterskiing, and biking with a huge extended family of other kids. We played games like spotlight and ghost in the graveyard almost every night. Around the Fourth of July, we had firework wars that were truly epic. No was ever alone. Each moment was a s ...more
Lawyer
Delta Wedding: Lingering Awhile

Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty was chosen by members of On the Southern Literary Trail as its group read for November, 2015. Special thanks to Co-Moderator Diane "Miss Scarlett" for nominating this work


The time is coming soon to say goodbye
A time of sadness it will be
But, honey, listen to my parting sigh
And linger on awhile with me

The stars above you, yet linger awhile
They whisper I love you,oh linger awhile
And when you have gone away
Every hour seems like a day
I
...more
Kirk Smith
Nov 19, 2015 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is softer than a down cushion. More cozy than a pile of warm quilts. I'm not from a large family, so it was amusing to think what it would be like with a good dozen or more of your close family all under one roof. All generations back to great aunts! A lively and chaotic household with twice that many by the time of the wedding. Captures a time and place I could have barely imagined.
Ronald Morton
And all the little parlor things she had a moment ago cherished she suddenly wanted to break. She had once seen Uncle George, without saying a word, clench his fist in the dining room at home—the sweetest man in the Delta. It is because people are mostly layers of violence and tenderness—wrapped like bulbs, she thought soberly; I don’t know what makes them onions or hyacinths.
Delta Wedding was Eudora Welty’s first novel (with The Robber Bridegroom being more of a novella), following her success
...more
Sarah
Sep 09, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read Delta Wedding about 20 years ago. Back then I thought it was boring and was frustrated because nothing happened. Ah, the folly of youth.

The second time around I became obsessed with Delta Wedding. I raced home from work to pour a cold drink and sit on my porch in the shade in evening air that was still heavy and thick with humidity. The weather and lyrical writing transported me to the Delta to spend time in the chaotic home of the Fairchild's.

Other than a wedding, nothing momentous
...more
Lucinda Mcintyre
I love to read Eudora Welty in the summer when the cicada bugs are buzzing away and the heat is nearly enough to make you crazy!
A big, loud Southern family gathers for a wedding in 1920's Mississippi. Not much else really happens - but don't let that stop you from reading.
I started reading this book by trying to carefully figure out every paragraph - keeping straight who was who - and who was talking and to whom - and was really struggling. I finally realized that I needed to just let my eyes ru
...more
Louise
Eudora Welty is supposed to be one of 20th Century America's great defining authors, but honestly, I just couldn't stick with this book. Although the writing was beautiful, after two chapters, nothing of consequence had taken place. The jacket referred to "drama upon drama, revelation upon revelation", but I read nothing that made me think this was going to happen.

Furthermore, the highly rated reviews from other readers mostly referred to their experiences as children. I know enough about growin
...more
Peter
Oct 12, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, reviews
The cover of this edition claims Delta Wedding is “a wonderfully entertaining portrait of an ebullient Southern family and an exquisitely woven celebration of Southern life” ...but that’s not the book I read. Somehow I got hold of a much darker novel.

In the Mississippi delta, on the banks of the Yazoo – “the river of death” – live the Fairchild family, whose children think they are born from a mysterious cotton sack carried on the back of an elderly former slave. And so they are. The Fairchilds
...more
Emily
I've been writing a lot lately about feminist musicologist Susan McClary and her ideas about the need for an alternative narrative practice. McClary goes in search of a mode of storytelling that does not dwell in a land of perpetual desire, of constant striving for a climax or resolution which, once achieved, spells the end of the story (the so-called "phallic" or "heroic" narrative arc), but that instead stresses pleasure over desire, that glories in what McClary calls a "voluptuous 'being-in-t ...more
Ali
Apr 12, 2008 Ali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
The common view was that, though the writing was lush, and the characterizations apt, the novel did show the flaws that you might have expected from a first-time author.

The tone of the first chapter, from the point of view of a young child, was excellent. But she was not able to construct a story line that could be told from Laura's point of view, and had to flit from character to character to continue the narrative. (But only, to Bruce's disappointment, using female characters.)

There was no cha
...more
Ashley
Oct 28, 2011 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Delta Wedding" (1945)recalls the comings and goings of a large, extended Fairchilds family as they prepare for the wedding of their daughter Dabney in September 1923. Their eight-year old cousin, Laura McRaven, arrives from Jackson, a week before the big day. She tries to blend in with her cousins and all the preparations, but she is still in mourning for her mother who had died the previous winter. Eudora Welty creates complex, conflicted characters who have different ideas about the family's ...more
Connie (Ava Catherine)
I love this passage: "Her nose in the banana skin as in the cup of a lily, she watched the Delta. The land was perfectly flat and level but it shimmered like the wing of a lighted dragongly. It seemed strummed, as though it were an instrument and something had touched it.
--Eudora Welty

I have never read a more beautiful description of the Mississippi Delta. Welty has the most lovely turn of language. Even a thank you note in her hands is a thing of incredible beauty and awe.

Laura McRaven, a nin
...more
Janice(JG) George
Three and a half stars because I wanted to finish it and Welty kept me interested with her descriptions of the Delta and the cotton fields and the people. In the beginning, I could see the comparisons between her and Faulkner, there was something Faulknerian about her observations of her characters... but as the story progressed, and the wedding drew closer, the events and dialogue began to sound a whole lot like a Tennessee Williams drama. And I do mean dr-a-a-a-m-a-a.

Some reviewers complain a
...more
Darcy
Aug 12, 2012 Darcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So beautifully written, I could feel the heat and humidity of the delta in her prose. I loved that it was somewhat rambling, in the sense that things happened that just happened and didn't resolve themselves into an ending. No real closure in certain parts of the story, but that's like life--things happen that don't have a beginning and ending or any explanation. I also loved that I didn't understand everything, or everybody's point of view. Very beautiful story.
Sarah Ryburn
well, i enjoyed the first third or so immensely. i thought of it as rather faulkner-esque. now i've reached the end, and honestly but painfully i must confess that i just think welty could have cut 50-75 pages. this piece would have made a better short story or novella. welty's short stories are just so much "tighter" than her novels. i enjoyed both the robber bridegroom and the ponder heart , but the shorts are her true genius.
Joyce
Abandoned - this book with what I suppose was intended to be detailed descriptions of the southern comfort type of life we all love put me into a coma. Maybe that's because I don't find the south to be all that comfortable.
tom bomp
Jan 09, 2013 tom bomp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, fiction
Had a dreamy quality that I enjoyed. The atmosphere was kind of beautiful and the descriptions were great and the scenes felt real. I liked it.

Weird/bad points: there was pretty much no conflict involved in the book even though quite a bit was set up, which was bizarre. For example, there are constant references to Troy's seeming unsuitability as a husband but nothing comes of it - and there's not really much explanation of WHY people talk about him as unsuitable. (view spoiler)
...more
Jim Leckband
I don't believe the ending happened just because the wedding was over. It happened because Welty finally ran out of aunts and houses.

After further rumination of this unsatisfying novel, I came to the realization that something was missing:

Zombie Delta Wedding

Eudora Welty did not have good luck with her editors. Here she had written the first cross-genre teen romantic paranormal novel (well, second, if you count Little Undead Women as first.) Her concept was brilliant. What starts out as a presum
...more
Nancy
Dec 24, 2010 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boy, it took me a really long time to read this book. I had wanted to read something by Eudora Welty for a long long time and that is how long it took me to finish. A long long time, a really long long time. I found this a very difficult read. I had to keep re-reading parts to understand what was going on, who was who, etc. I found Welty's voice hard to understand (she had a very different way of expressing thought that I had to try again and again to hear) but quite interesting once I approched ...more
Gary Power
Jul 09, 2016 Gary Power rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I only got half way through this before I abandoned it. The writing is beautiful but there are more characters in it than the Old Testament. It certainly sets the scene but I found it hard to know what is going on when you don't really know who to root for. Maybe I was lazy and gave up too quick or maybe it just wasn't for me...
Jill Stevenson
Lord this book about wore me out! So many different conversations going at once; so many children, aunts, kin, servants I wish I had a flow chart! Obviously they all had ADD - ha! The writing was lovely but the book was like watching a Seinfeld episode - nothing happened. The wedding (of the title) was given such short shrift as to be unnoticed. All at once, it was over without any fanfare.

Laura, the visiting cousin who begins the narration (but does not sustain it in her voice), is an orphan pl
...more
Mom
Mar 01, 2008 Mom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I enjoy reading books written by an author who lived during a different time period than what I have lived. The writing style and language are different, I have to pay more attention and look deeper while I am reading. I also enjoy envisioning what my life might be like during this different time period or in a different region of the country. Books like this tend to take me away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I enjoy adding this variety to my reading.
Karen
Aug 28, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enter the world of the Mississippi Delta, said to be the most southern of places, in 1923. You will smell the flowers (so many highlighted in the story), taste the coconut cake and pickled peaches, hear the music and the crickets, and experience the characters as if you are there. The book has been criticized for lack of plot, but I think the plot is a silent backdrop. It is the future we all know is coming when we read the book.

I found the book worth reading for the names alone. Following are a
...more
Geni
Dec 20, 2014 Geni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Praised as one of America's most influential authors of the Twentieth Century, Welty is known for her portrayals of Southern women. Delta Wedding, with its lovely prose, authentic dialogue, varied voices of people of all ages and all walks of life, seems to offer the reader a lot. The detail of this story amazes as it reveals the complex relationships among members of the Fairchild family. However, it is a story in which little happens, and what does happen is repeated by different characters, o ...more
Sarah
Dec 16, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of the Fairchild's, a large and successful plantation family living in the post reconstruction South between the world wars. Whenever I read a story set in the south, the treatment of the former slaves makes me uncomfortable. There are many black faces in this novel, none of whom are developed as characters. They are variously sly, stupid, lazy, and of course, the traditional Mammy character who loves the white kids as her own. The white characters never have a thought about th ...more
Melinda
May 31, 2016 Melinda rated it it was ok
This was something of a slog. I read The Optimist's Daughter and have recommended it to several people, but this first novel isn't something I'd foist off on anyone. Although written in 1946, the events in the story take place in and around a former plantation in the 1920s. Maybe that explains the stream-of-consciousness, shifting settings, and multiple points of view, all typical elements of Modernism. In that way, this novel reminded me of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. As in that book, t ...more
K.E. Garvey
I felt this title was strayed from what I would normally expect from this author. The story itself was wonderful and extremely reminiscent of the south, but, I did not like the characters enough to care about them. Any distinction was lost in the chaos of family, with them all speaking at once while Laura's thoughts were interjected throughout. Story and character are separate entities, I loved one, disliked the other. I generally shy away from 'literature' and prefer modern fiction for its lack ...more
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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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“People are mostly layers of violence and tenderness wrapped like bulbs, and it is difficult to say what makes them onions or hyacinths.” 36 likes
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