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The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
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's review
Aug 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: welty, pulitzer-fiction
Read from July 19 to 20, 2012

In returning home to be with her sick father, Welty writes a story of relationships: Laurel and her dad; Laurel and her dad's new self-centered, Texan wife, Fay. After the eye surgery, her father dies and after the funeral Laurel spends 3 days alone in her childhood home. In deep reflection, she focuses on her losses -- her father, her mother, and the early death of her husband, Phil. "The guilt of outliving those you love is justly to be borne. . . Surviving is perhaps the strangest fantasy of them all." Before her departure to return to Chicago, Laurel finds a damaged wood "breadboard" (that her husband had made for her mother) which Fay destroyed. Laurel fights with Fay over where the breadboard should reside (with her or Fay). But then Laurel says "Never mind. I think I can get along without that too. Memory lived not in initial possession but in the freed hands, pardoned and freed, and in the heart that can empty but fill again, in the patterns restored by dreams." Laurel finds peace by letting go and moving forward in her life. Pulitzer Prizer Fiction, 1972.
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07/20/2012 page 137

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