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Delta Wedding

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,458 Ratings  ·  255 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.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 28th 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1946)
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Diane Barnes
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 11, 2015 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
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Derus
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Eudora Welty writes books that seem to be about nothing in particular. There are seldom any staggering occurrences. It is all about life. Of course, there is a major event coming in this novel, Dabney Fairchild is marrying, and all the family are gathering for the event; aunts, uncles, cousins, great-aunts, in-laws, all assembling to see Dabney off from the family home to a home of her own.

Along the way, we meet an array of fantastic characters, each an embodiment of their Southern heritage. Thi
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
Kirk Smith
Sep 02, 2015 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
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: virago
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
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 momento
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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
Lucinda Mcintyre
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
This book certainly resonates with me on so many levels. The Fairchild's story is pretty much my own family story. Delta Wedding is set in the 1923 South, pretty much marking the end of plantation days, the long term effects of Reconstruction taking it's toll. The center of the tale is the occasion of a Fairchild daughter, Daphne, and her upcoming marriage to the plantation overseer. For me the exquisite detailing of the daily interaction, the introduction of the automobile, the family size, the ...more
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it
"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
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.
Aug 04, 2012 added it
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.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with others about the chaos, a sometimes confusing number of characters, and that nothing much happens except the wedding. But it's my South, in an earlier time than I experienced, but with many of the same kinds of occurrences of family life.
Alisha Fish
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was not my favorite. You follow around a large family named the Fairchild's who live in the Mississippi Delta. I could see myself recommending this if they are into Southern Literature. However, for me it was very all over the place. There wasn't much direction. The writing was descriptive. This is something I look for in a book. Honestly, this one just didn't keep my attention. I picked it up for a second time. I wanted to give it another try, but this time wasn't much better.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Warm, light domestic drama about a wedding and the week-long preparations of it, set in the Mississippi Delta of the early 1920s. The Fairchild family (both the living ones, and the ancestors who never really passed away, at least not in memory) is sprawling (spread over three or four plantation houses, and all the way into Memphis) and insular, where even those who have married into the family never feel fully part of it. There are so many characters (especially aunts) that they’re hard to keep ...more
tom bomp
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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)
“Not her young life with her serene mother, with Battle, but her middle life—knowing all the Fairchilds better and seeing George single himself from them—had shown her how deep were the complexities of the everyday, of the family, what caves were in the mountains, what blocked chambers, and what crystal rivers that had not yet seen light.”

I feel the influence of Woolf very strongly here (Welty wrote an excellent foreword to To the Lighthouse), but comparing this novel with Woolf, the power of su
Jim Leckband
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Helen Gaye Brewster
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
My first Eudora Welty, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The descriptions of Delta life are similar to descriptions I heard from my grandmother, who grew up in peach country in Middle Georgia during the same era that the book is set. Welty's use of Southern vernacular is dead on, and the words and phrases are ones I heard growing up in South Georgia. The relationships between black "servants" and the family seemed a little unpleasant to some reviewers, but I'm guessing they are fairly typical of the ...more
Robin Friedman
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have of late been reading some long, ambitiously sprawling novels that attempt, with questionable success, to capture a large historical era or place. I have also been reading novels which are radically different in style and scope. These novels take small scenes and discrete places, times, and characters, and attempt to develop them. In words of the poet George Oppen, such novels "write the great world small". Among the latter type of novels are those of Eudora Welty (1909 - 2001). Welty live ...more
Mar 01, 2008 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.
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Pinchy "coming through" 2 19 Aug 26, 2017 01:49PM  
On the Southern L...: Final Impressions, Delta Wedding, Nov., 2015 8 26 Dec 01, 2015 02:25PM  
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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.” 43 likes
“Don’t ever let this husband of yours, whoever he is, know you can cook, Dabney Fairchild, or you’ll spend the rest of your life in the kitchen. That’s the first thing I want to tell you.” 0 likes
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