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Losing Battles

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  413 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Three generations of Granny Vaughn's descendants gather at her Mississippi home to celebrate her 90th birthday. Possessed of the true storyteller's gift, the members of this clan cannot resist the temptation to swap tales.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
ebook, 448 pages
Published July 20th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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During early June, I read one of Eudora Welty’s short stories titled "A Worn Path". The beauty of the prose in that piece compelled me to seek out a full-length piece in which to immerse myself. Losing Battles, set in the summer of 1930’s Mississippi, grabbed my attention and seemed like the perfect lazy, summer day read. Unfortunately, my June was anything but lazy and I think some day I will re-read this one when I can sit down and absorb the luscious words that really seemed to pop right off ...more
Diane Barnes
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't write a proper review of this book because it was too wonderful. I entered this family reunion, stayed until it was over, listened to every story, and found something to love about every single character, even the ones already dead and buried. I had chicken pie and fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon, and lemonade to wash it down. I laughed at old jokes and heard family secrets long buried, played with babies, got my heart broken by old maid aunts with no real home, and marveled at G ...more
Eudora Welty weaves a very Southern tale around a Mississippi family who are staging a family reunion that is also a celebration of the family’s oldest member, Granny Vaughn. This felt like going back in time and visiting the world of my childhood. My own extended family had an annual reunion at a small church in the mountains where my father was born, and I have sat through dinners that spread like the food was endless and heard the musings and memories of great-aunts and uncles, aunts and uncl ...more
I have never been to a family reunion like the one for Granny Vaughn's 90th birthday. Sadly, all my grandparents but one died before I was born and the last died before I was 10. But I've been to numerous Christmas open houses, Thanksgiving get-togethers, family weddings and funerals. And these all give rise to some of what Welty describes in Losing Battles (without the car on the cliff or various animals).

Losing Battles is such a warm-hearted, though occasionally biting, story of a large family
Ronald Morton
The entirety of this book takes place over the course of a two day family reunion (I suppose it's also a birthday party, but the reunion part shines through), there is a hefty amount of present day action, but the majority of the book is composed of family discussions (with many, many participants) or family storytelling (also with many, many participants) which all have this kind of mythifying tall tale feel to them, but the present day action is also kind of over the top where it's difficult t ...more
Jorge Cienfuegos
Abandonado un poco más allá de la mitad del libro. No le doy puntuación porque me parece injusto a falta de doscientas y pico páginas, pero de ser, sería un uno o uno y medio.

La novela está muy bien escrita y aunque hay muchos personajes todos parecen estar bastante bien caracterizados, y en un principio parecen bastante atractivos. Está llena de diálogos con notas excéntricas que se supone que tendrían que hacer el libro dinámico y divertido, pero... no. Le he dado muchas oportunidades para que
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: members of families
Recommended to Rhys by: my mother
“Yep, that’s that Yazoo clay.”…

… A Southerner’s simple explanation of the common destruction caused by the continual movement of Mississippi’s soil. If you weren’t from ‘these parts’ and did not understand why a house leaned or a pool held no water, you might also have difficulty with Eudora Welty’s “Losing Battles”.

Eudora’s first novel – written [very late:] after she had long established herself and her readers in that unique prose style of describing language, characters, and human nature in
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"De pronto, el mundo de la luz de la luna se apagó; unas luces duras como el canto de una pala aparecieron en el techo del porche y del pasadizo, atravesando la casa del todo y dejándolos en una isla sobre la tierra negra, en medio de ninguna parte, sin nadie más a quien recurrir que a ellos mismos."

La historia que narra Eudora, es como esa capa de polvo y deterioro que envuelve las viejas fotografías de familia. Es difícil adentrarse de lleno en esas historias que, por la complejidad social y c
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been meaning to read something by Eudora Welty for ages, and finally picked up this book. I had a hard time getting into it, I think because it took me a while to really be able to hear in my head the rhythms of the dialogue. I'm not from the Deep South, so the speech idioms and rhythms weren't familiar.
Once I got into it, I really liked it. In a way it reminded me of Tom Sawyer, in they way that situations arose that were both absurd and believable, though the natural progression of strong
Carol Peters
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Welty after a long absence, I'm newly astonished at the exquisite phrasing of her language, the believability of her characters gabbing to each other, the lifelike entanglements of her stories, including the main adventure of this novel, getting Judge Moody's Buick back down from Banner Top. Particularly loved the rendering of Jack & Gloria's toddler child & of their helplessly young & innocent love for each other.
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterful presentation of basically ONE DAY in the life of a poor Southern family during the Depression. It's the annual family reunion, and Granny's birthday. Welty writes superb dialogue, and every few pages, at least, offers a unique metaphorical description. A story full of humanity.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
what a whirlwind.

I found this book slowed my reading, just to try to keep track of everything going on- which is crazy, considering the book only covers a day and the following morning. Ms. Welty didn't leave many moments for contemplative quiet... I wonder if that's why that one uncle left town- for some space with this thoughts.

Anyone who likes gossipy rambles shouldn't have any trouble getting into this.

Funny too!
Chris Gager
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My edition has 416 pages... The plan for now is to alternate between my "to read" list and my awesome collection of rescued books from the town transfer station. This one is from the latter category. Never have read a full novel by Miss Eudora. A few short stories is all. This one's pretty entertaining so far as the author has set for herself the daunting task of setting her story in the midst of an unfolding family reunion. There are so many voices! Apparently there are few if any black people ...more
Eddie Watkins
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
A hard book to get into largely because the first page or so contain some of Welty's worst writing (an over-reliance on similes and an overall forced feel) and the next 20 pages intoduce the reader to so many characters so quickly that it's easy to get bogged down. After the rough start it gets quite good, even though not a whole lot happens, as the whole novel covers just a day (or two?) of a massive depression-era family reunion. Not quite the masterpiece Eudora I imagine wanted it to be, but ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Esta mujer escribe de maravilla. No es un libro que se lea de un tirón pero una vez que estas dentro ya no es fácil salir. Los personajes son antológicos, excéntricos y algunas situaciones de lo más disparatadas. Todo ello no exento de humor y de una dureza propia de la vida de los protagonistas pero narrado con sensibilidad, con ternura. Derrotas que se tornan victorias porque así debe de ser, así son ellos.
"Parece que sea interminable lo que uno puede perder y pese a todo seguir viviendo"
Jim Leckband
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ostensibly this book takes place over less than 2 days in a Northeast Mississippi rural county in the Depression. In reality it takes place in the memories, tales, lies and reluctant truths of the extended Vaughn/Renfro family over the last few decades as they have a family reunion. Add to it the farcical elements of a band of misfits trying to get down a car hanging on a tree over a river cliff and you end up with a comic masterpiece.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welty's prose is unabashedly beautiful, her descriptions lyrical and poetic. And, though the action of this novel occurs over only a day and a half, at a 1930s backwood Mississippi family reunion, you can't come away without a sense of a truly grand epic, a universal human drama, a pattern repeated again and again through the centuries and an appreciation for Welty's genius as a regional writer and a crafter of language.
"You can profit from knowing that you needn't be ashamed to crawl-to keep crawling,to be proud to crawl where you can't crawl any further. Then you find yourself flat on your back-look whats carried you another mile. From flat on your back you may not be able to lick the world but at least you can keep it from licking you."
What can I say, it hit me in my guts and my brains.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a family reunion in Mississippi. Everyone - aunts, uncles, granny, the siblings, the young wife, the baby - is expecting Jack to come back home on the day of Granny's 90ieth birthday. Celebration starts and everyone's got plenty to tell... about the family's story.
Jane Robinson
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a train track where a Coca Cola truck was hit by the Nashville Rocket. No one like her, though there is Wodehouse: "he gave me a look that would have split logs in the teak forests of Borneo."
Mark Paolini
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book, great cold-weather book as it takes place during summer in Mississippi, 1930's. Concerns an extended family reuniting for a birthday party, and long held secrets are laid bare. Welty can say in 2 sentences what others would need a paragraph for, and miss. Lovely.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be reading books written by or about women lately, mostly southern, and this is one that everyone interested in women writers should read! I could hear the conversations taking place in the book perfectly clearly, mostly in the voices of my grandmother and great aunts and great uncles.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this novel casts a spell over its readers, its very repetitive and its voices shift where there is too much going on. It gave me a bit of a headache. But Welty is excellent at conveying bittersweet themes such as lost love, and the yearnings of small town provincial life.
Welty is a gem but many a good reader has lost battles with Losing Battles. I must admit I did finally come to terms with it the second time around and can only recommend perserverance.
Robin Friedman
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winning While Losing

Published in 1970, "Losing Battles" was the fourth of Eudora Welty's (1909 -- 2001) five novels and her first since 1954. Welty worked on and off again on this novel for fifteen years, with long periods of inactivity to care for her mother and brothers. Unlike her other novels, "Losing Battles" is lengthy. When her publisher demanded substantial cuts and edits to the text, Welty took her manuscript elsewhere and had the book published as she wanted it. The novel received grea
Jul 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, funny, poignant, but at times dragging. I enjoyed it, but it can't hold a candle to "the optimist's daughter".
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny but seems disorganized and even manic at times.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Abandondo. I lost the battle to read.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written but required quite a bit of concentration. I became tired with the constant use of similes. I am glad I read the book but will probably not read another long work by Ms. Welty.
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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
More about Eudora Welty...

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“Don't give anybody up. . . or leave anybody out. . . . There's room for everything, and time for everybody, if you take your day the way it comes along and try not to be much later than you can help."--Spoken by Jack to Gloria” 9 likes
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