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The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  5,556 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
Despite the enormous success--both critical and popular--of her novel Ship of Fools, Katherine Anne Porter's reputation as one of America's most distinguished writers rest chiefly on her superb short stories. This volume brings together the collections Flowering Judas; Pale Horse, Pale Rider; and The Leaning Tower as well as four stories not available elsewhere in book for ...more
Paperback, 495 pages
Published September 19th 1979 by Mariner Books (first published 1965)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Granny Weatherall is nearly eighty and she's in bed, surrounded by her children, her doctor and a minister. She's dying. Her mind and senses go from one memory to another, from one sensation to another, thoughts fluttering like distracted butterflies going in all directions, or like a malfunctioning television catching all sorts of signals. Among these, the strongest of all, was one sorrow--the grief which wiped all her other sorrows away-- she was twenty and the love of her life didn't come to ...more
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Somehow, though I was a literature major, I had never read more than a couple of Porter's stories before something recently triggered my decision to check this collection out of the library. Huge thanks to that something, for I enjoyed the reading thoroughly.

Porter has a poet's ability to describe a gesture, a way of moving, or a scene with similes that make your jaw drop, so precise & unexpected & moving they are. "She watched not the boy, but his shadow, fallen like a dark garment agai
Anne Sanow
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
KAP is one of my favorite writers, and this collection is a must-read not only for those who appreciate classic 20th-century stylists such as Hemingway and Faulkner but for those who enjoy contemporary multi-layered narratives of, say, Alice Munro. And though Porter is often considered to be a bit formal, there are passages of her writing that lean toward the experimental that she manages to blend beautifully into her storytelling.

This collection has all of Porter's stories, and it's definitely
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've been carrying around The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter for almost four decades without reading them, just one of the books I kept passing over as I took them out of shipping boxes in state after state, country after country. Recently I read a memoir by Reynolds Price in which he said that she had written stories of the highest order, equal to Chekhov, Faulkner, Joyce and others. So I went looking for her collected stories in this new house of ours and found them right where I h ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
When I bought this at Half Price Books a few weeks ago, the clerk said to me "Katherine Anne Porter is such a good writer that she almost makes up for the rest of Texas." I repeated that comment to my parents later, but they didn't find it quite as amusing as I did.
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have to admire Katherine Ann Porter. So many of her loves died and rejected her, ran away, and deceived her. Somehow she ended up writing truthfully about it. At least I believe her. Her stories do not seem like acts of judgment, since the lovers' sins are not forgiven or changed. Yes, I believe her, because her final relief was to understand it all in a story. What relief? It is only the comfort and joy between reader and author. If I could step back somewhere and propose to Katherine and win ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Katherine Anne Porter’s novel Ship of Fools (1962) was a sensation at the time, a top best seller that was made into a Hollywood movie with an all-star cast, but today Porter is best remembered and remains influential for her short fiction. Most of it was written in the 1920s and 30s and much of it, like that of her contemporary, Ernest Hemingway, who also didn’t write much more short fiction after the 20s and 30s, was excellent. The Collected Stories (1965) includes all three of her published s ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I read these stories over a period of several weeks, reading a single story at a time or even the longer stories over 2-3 days. A few of the stories are very short, only 3-4 pages, and a few others are more "short novels" being 50+ pages, but most are about 10-20 pages in length. This is a collection of three of her prior publications: Flowering Judas and Other Stories, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, and The Old Order: Stories of the South.

I liked the stories from Flowering Judas better than the other
I'm afraid that Katherine Anne Porter is slowly being forgotten by the American body literary, which is unfortunate because she is witty, observant, and deeply influential. I can't imagine the Just-Like-You-and-Me contemporary American writers without the precedent that Porter set.

Her strongest works are the later ones, everything from the stories contained in "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" forward. In particular, "The Leaning Tower" is an unsung wonderment... 30 pages of American-abroad disenchantmen
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really impressed. I don't think I would have picked this up if I hadn't started on the questionable quest of reading all the Pulitzer winners for fiction. Love the writing.
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Katherine Anne porter wrote 38 short stories. Her collected short stories garnered her a national book award and the Pulitzer prize. Three stars may be too low. About half the stories were superb, close to a 5. Others did nothing for me. She writes best when she sets the stories in Texas where she grew up.where she w,as born in 1890. There is a gothic element in her writing. Several stories center on handicapped children kept in a state of bondage by their families on farms and there is a heartb ...more
Katherine Anne Porter seems sadly under-read, and this is a truly strong and impressive collection of stories. Most notable, I think, is Porter’s impressive stylistic range. She seems capable of shifting her narrative technique with perfect, invisible ease from story to story. I should have read them more slowly.

Favorite stories:
“María Concepción”
“Flowering Judas”
“Old Mortality”
“Pale Horse, Pale Rider”
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
I had to read this short story for one of my creative writing courses, but it does not really speak to me. Granny is thinking way too much about trivial things while she is on the verge of dying. All will be well, Granny, you can go now.

Perhaps Katherine Anne Porter's other stories are more to my liking, perhaps I'll read something else written by her in the future.
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's hard to rank this book, which comprises three collections and runs from the very bad (most of her stories about Mexico) to the extremely good (the long story “Old Mortality”). I advise readers of this book to skip over the first collection, Flowering Judas and Other Stories and proceed straight to Pale Horse, Pale Rider, which is a solid four stars and will give you everything that's good about Porter's writing (lush characterization, amusing plot quirks that yield major epiphanies, inventi ...more
Baily Volpel
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Granny Weatherall is lying sick in bed fighting death from over taking her. Doctor Harry is standing by trying to help her, but she doesn't want his help because she thinks he isn't helping. Cornelia, Granny Weatheralls daughter is standing right next to the bed trying to comfort her mother in her last hour. Then the pastor comes in to give Granny Weatherall her last rights.

Granny Weatherall is a very old lady who has lived a long life by fighting for everything. She is strong willed and doesn't
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Whenever my sweetheart says "Carveresque," I think of the author standing at the head of a fully-laden Thanksgiving table, long fork and knife in hand, cutting up a manuscript. Talking about short stories the other evening and he suggested Porter's "Rope" as a portrait of a relationship pared down with a super sharp scalpel, and he wasn't kidding -- it's down to the bone. I've got this on my desk now, and will be dipping in. These don't seem like the kind of stories to sit down and read straight ...more
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked "Holiday" (German peasants and their difficulties but also their joys and heartiness--there's some real good family stuff for me to analyze here) and "The Leaning Tower" (artist in Berlin feels like an outsider, wonders about why/how life is worth living, the smallness of dreams in the vastness of the world and other people--some good traveling to Brazil stuff for me to think about) very much. And also the one about the woman who nearly dies during WWI and has to come back to the land of ...more
Susan Fetterer
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the second volume of National Book Award winning stories selected by my book club for study in 2013. Katherine Anne Porter wrote about places she was familiar with; her stories are set in places she lived. Each story in the collection, which won the prestigious award in 1966, reflects cultural and societal mores of the time and locale, spanning the decades of her writing career. Her language is spare and masterful. Each sentence is maximized for impact, having no excess. Whether the stor ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it
I only read a small portion of this book--the section describing Miranda's experience with the influenza epidemic of 1918. From what I have been able to learn there are very few fictional accounts of this terrible event. Porter's description is very touching. It centers around the song "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" sung by Blacks in the South to express feelings about loved ones carried off, one imagines by slave traders. In Porter's story of that title it also refers to those carried off by the infl ...more
Paul Jellinek
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Actually, the book I read was the Library of America volume "Katherine Anne Porter: Collected Stories and Other Writings" but for some odd reason Goodreads couldn't come up with that volume. Which is too bad because the "Other Writings" comprise about half of the LOA volume and are often as good as the fictional stories--most of which are superb. I can't believe that it took me this long to discover such an incredible American writer, but I am not complaining. Her descriptive powers, her honesty ...more
Scott Cox
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, literature
This collection of stories are as varied was Katherine Anne Porter's life. Some of her stories reflect childhood towns in Brown County, Texas (Noon Wine) – an area in central Texas wherein my mother grew up. Other stories reflect San Antonio, a city where Porter moved to later in life. And one story reflects her Diego Rivera (The Martyr) whom she became acquainted with while living in Mexico. All her stories are interesting and thought provoking. However Porter is probably best known for her nov ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I'm not generally a big reader of short stories. I want to like them, but mostly end up feeling sort of dissatisfied & not quite filled up. It's like eating a really nice appetizer & nothing else for dinner - two hours later you're scrounging in the fridge for the peanut butter. I guess I just like a longer read.

There are some writers who work within this genre who stand out for me - James Joyce, Raymond Carver, Ernest Hemingway, Ellen Gilchrist, & Alice Adams. All of these writers h
I tend to not like books of short stories by a single author. Magazines of short stories I like because the type of stories tend to be genre-specific and have varied styles coming from the several contributors. With books of short stories by a single author, you have one style, one voice. If you don't enjoy the style/voice from the outset, it has little chance of improving.

Of this book, I liked and enjoyed only one story: Holiday. Its humor, romp, action, high tension, light moments and sense of
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulitzer
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter took the Pulitzer in 1965 if I could give this 3 1/2 stars that would be more accurate. The book is actually split into 3 parts - the first called Flower Judas and Other stories - mostly very short stories -the second 1/3 is Pale Horse, Pale Rider and I made of three longer stories and the third The Leaning Tower and Other stories. The Flowering Judas stories were OK and the reason I can't give it four. None of them really stood out to me all that m ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I was really looking forward forward to this collection of short stories--for quite a while. An award-winning collection. I enjoy short stories. I find them deserving of their own credit completely separate from the novel. I also enjoy learning a bit about the life of an author I am reading. I learned that this collection of short stories was the major achievement of Katherine Anne Porter's literary career and were actually the compilation of three previously published short story collections. K ...more
Tracy Towley
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer
This was one of the best collections of short stories I've ever read.

I am not generally a fan of short stories. I like to commit to my literature and short stories tend to feel like a summer fling that was over before I was able to analyze it to death and suck all of the fun out it.

I especially dislike collections of short stories because even the best authors' voices come through in them. While I typically like to feel as though I can hear an author's voice, when it happens during a book of 30
N W James
Feb 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
KAP was recommended to me because I'm such a fan of Flannery O'Connor. I stopped reading this book about 3/4 of the way through. I just wasn't interested. Maybe I'll go back to it later just to say I read it all.

As a writer, she focuses so intently on detailed perceptions that I, as the reader, have a limited sense of the full character. Maybe the writing is too quiet and intricate for my current mind frame. I do know that most of the stories I would finish and then have to go back because i ha
William Young
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this short story Granny Weatherall is very old and is on her deathbed. Her daughter, Cornelia, is comforting her and looking after her.Granny Weatherall is recalling past events in her life.Doctor Harry is trying to comfort and help her but Granny Weatherall thinks he is too young, and she doesn’t want his help.The pastor walks in to comfort Granny Weatherall but she passes away shortly after.

Granny Weatherall, the main character, is sick and on her deathbed. She thinks she isn’t very sick an
Mar 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thenovella
I just finished reading the novella "Old Mortality" within this collection. The story is divided into three parts, all of which focus on one family, particularly the legend of the beautiful and capricious Aunt Amy. In the first section her nieces, Maria and Miranda, listen to the family lore surrounding Amy. In the second, they go to the horse races with their father and have a run-in with Amy's widower. The third section focuses on Miranda, and her first homecoming after running away to be marr ...more
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Katherine Anne Porter was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist. She is known for her penetrating insight; her works deal with dark themes such as betrayal, death and the origin of human evil.
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“God does not know whether a skin is black or white, He sees only souls.” 31 likes
“The thought of him was a smoky cloud from hell that moved and crept in her head.” 16 likes
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