Terry's Reviews > The Optimist's Daughter

The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
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's review
Jun 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

I loved this. It moved from a comedy of manners to a meditation on life and death and our desire and our ancestors' desire to make contact. It reminded me quite a bit of Joyce's "The Dead" so... take that the way it means something to you.

Two thoughts--one related to the book, one not, really. One: it's strange to read, to participate in, Southern literature without being aware of Southern history. There's always a twinge, there. It's like unraveling Faulkner's moodiness--the despair and regret and rage and shame and desire. I imagine it's a bit like reading post-war German literature. There HAS to be SOME acknowledgment of history, doesn't there? Or does there? It's something to chew on.

Second, and totally unrelated to this book: I was reading it at work and someone asked, "Do you LIKE Eudora Welty?" and it reminded me of the movie Educating Rita where a professor comes across Rita reading Ferlinghetti and asks her "Do you LIKE Ferlinghetti?" and she has to restrain herself from saying "Only when it's served with Parmesan cheese" and answers "I'm not familiar with the American poets". So I said "I'm not really familiar with her work, I have to say" and inside I was giggling.
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