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A Curtain of Green and Other Stories

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,041 ratings  ·  113 reviews
In her now-famous introduction to this first collection by a then-unknown young writer from Mississippi named Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter wrote that "there is even in the smallest story a sense of power in reserve which makes me believe firmly that, splendid beginning that it is, it is only the beginning." Porter was of course prophetic, and the beginning was splen ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 4th 1979 by Mariner Books (first published 1941)
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Bill Kerwin
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the pleasures of reading is encountering an author who has influenced the authors we admire, and this pleasure may turn to delight when we discover this new author pleases us more than the first. My admiration for Flannery O'Connor led me to Eudora Welty, but now I find that Welty--both as a writer and a person--is someone whom I both admire and love.

Both O'Connor and Welty write a lapidary prose, inlayed with irony and humor and inscribed with the characters—many of them eccentrics--who
Richard Derus
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.25* of five

The Publisher Says: In her now-famous introduction to this first collection by a then-unknown young writer from Mississippi named Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter wrote that "there is even in the smallest story a sense of power in reserve which makes me believe firmly that, splendid beginning that it is, it is only the beginning." Porter was of course prophetic, and the beginning was splendid. A Curtain of Green both introduced and established Eudora Welty as in instincti
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this first short story collection by Eudora Welty after I read “What There is to Say We Have Said, the Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell. I came to greatly admire her from reading the letters that went back and forth between those two.

I am very impressed with this collection of short stories, as I would imagine thousands of other people are. There are probably other reviews here that give inklings or more than inklings of the content of the 17 stories. I will say that man
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I expected to love Eudora Welty's writing but was disappointed. I slogged through this collection - only enjoying a couple of the more humorous stories. (Why I Live at the P.O., The Petrified Man) Most of the stories felt heavy-handed and melodramatic and the language was too florid for my taste. I will return to Welty at some point and try some of her other collections. I'm rating this a generous 3 stars as it could be just my mood. (I'm currently reading The Warmth of Other Suns and am not fin ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
'Why I Live at the P.O.' is still my favorite short story of all time. (Sorry, Shirley Jackson. You know I love you, too.) I first read it in college, and read it again in this collection. There's just something about this wacky tale of a young woman pushed SO far by her family, she leaves home to live at the post office, that tickles my fancy. Whatever that is.

Here's a wonderful collection by a consummate storyteller. Her characters are just bursting with life. They are traveling salesmen, beau
Carol Bakker
This is difficult to rate. I can honestly say I liked it, something that wouldn't've been true ten years ago. So great is the literary kinship between Eudora and Flannery, that I included this on my "Flannery" shelf.

Eudora is truly a "good gift" (<— meaning of her name). Her capacity for the bizarre is enormous. While her stories are strange and very 'other', her grasp of language is exceptional. I'm intentionally reading short stories, a genre of craftsmanship of which I've read little. I woul
Charles  van Buren
Wonderful way with words but mostly pointless stories

By Charles van Buren on February 11, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Just as many of my fellow residents of the Jackson, Mississippi area, I became accustomed to occasionally seeing Miss Welty around town, particularly at the English Village Jitney Jungle grocery. Despite this and the general recognition that she is one of the great authors, I never read much of her work. Early on I developed a suspicion of anything which literatur
Andy Weston
I’ve just finished, and very much enjoyed A Curtain Of Green and Other Stories by Eudora Welty.
Welty’s great skill is to enable the reader to travel back through time and sit in a rocking chair on the porch of this small town in Mississippi in the 1930s and watch the world go by. On each page one senses the author's great love of people. Her descriptions never remain mere observations, but are something much deeper.
Many of the stories are dark, occasionally weird and often sad in mood, but with
Aug 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was disappointing and I felt like I was dragging through the last 150 pages just to finish it. Like Faulkner's, I don't get much out of Welty's stories other than someone yelling, "I'M FROM MISSISSIPPI!!! DEATH IS INEVITABLE!!!" There are other authors that focus upon their Southern homes to great effect (read: Flannery O'Connor), but reading Welty felt to me like listening to an 8tracks "southern gothic" "aesthetic" playlist that's full of gimmicky British "Americana" music like Hozie ...more
Duffy Pratt
May 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classic
In Annie Hall, Woody Allen explains how he thinks everyone can be divided up into the horrible and the miserable. In these stories, Welty puts a sharp focus on the horrible, but leaves some room for the merely miserable.

The writing is strong. Often, I found myself impressed with how good the writing was. At other times, I felt like she was trying too hard, and it was like slogging through a mire of similes. But usually, on a sentence by sentence level, and even paragraph by paragraph, I thought
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing

A Curtain of Green and Other Stories is Eudora Welty’s first book, and this beautiful collection of short fiction, originally published in 1941, marks the beginning of a long, distinguished literary career. This is a book I’ve reread and taught several times, and each time I revisit these stories, I feel as if I’m catching up with an old friend. As is the case with outstanding fiction, I also see new elements in the stories each time I reread them. I recommend this collection for its diversity
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Short stories at their finest.
She can set a scene! Here's an example:
from "A Memory"

She herself stared fixedly at his slow, undeliberate movements, and held her body perfectly still. She was unnaturally white and fatly aware, in a bathing suit that had no relation to her body. Fat hung upon her upper arms like an arrested earth slide on a hill. With the first motion that she might make, I was afraid that she would slide down upon herself into a terrifying heap. Her breasts hung heavy and widenin
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
sigh. i truly think this collection of short stories has ruined other books for me for the last three months.

where to begin? eudora is so terrific at the art of the short story. she says little of what she is really thinking, but creates tongue-in-cheek plots and characters that set your mind on fire with possibilities. i think of each of her short stories as a sort of mystery tale. in her mission to expose the american south for all its dirty beauty she is both mercilessly cruel, as well as ir
Sam Poole
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Flannery has been my favorite author for years and only Eudora Welty comes close to matching her aesthetic. These stories are not about people for whom one feels sympathy- they are losers, creeps, the tragic and the misunderstood. The famous works deserve their fame but the real power lies within stories like "The Whistle" and "A Memory". Dialogue makes up the majority of the action but it is the descriptions of a slowly changing southern atmosphere that gives real weight to the collection. One ...more
Catherine  Mustread
The title story in this first collection of short stories (1941) by Eudora Welty, is not darkly humorous like many of her stories, but would still qualify as dark with the story focusing on a bitter widow and the young black boy helping her in her garden.  Set in Mississippi, there is a current of sadness, acceptance and violence.

I listened to this story on Selected Shorts where it was featured on a segment called Strange Places.
James Field
Jan 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
I gave up after the first six stories. I call them stories, but they were so ambiguous that ‘story’ is the wrong word. In an avalanche of similes and over description, we’re introduced to a weird character, drift on to another weird character, then a third and a fourth, then the narrative stops. Tedious, pointless, and annoying.
Mike Goldstein
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A few of these felt dated/problematic, but mostly these are sooooooo good. Little insignificant people with their little insignificant problems. So bleak.

"Flowers for Marjorie," "The Whistle" and "A Memory" were my three favorites. "A Memory" makes the world seem so gross. So good.
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's been more than twenty years since my Southern Fiction class in college. Re-reading these stories now, I like them even more. ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-ma
"But like a needle going in and out among my thoughts were the children running on the sand, the upthrust oak trees growing over the clean pointed roof of the white pavilion, and the slowly changing attitudes of the grown-up people who had avoided the city and were lying prone and laughing on the water's edge. I still would not care to say which was more real—the dream I could make blossom at will, or the sight of the bathers. I am presenting them, you see, only as simultaneous." ...more
Vel Veeter
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first read Welty in college in an intro to American Lit class, specifically “A Petrified Man” from this collection, which remains one of my very favorite stories of all time. It’s funny, it’s weird, and it’s crass. It’s irreverent in just the right way.

Other stories from this collection hit the same kinds of spots. The stars of this one included “A Petrified Man,”Why I live at the P.O.,” “Old Mr. Marblehall,” “Powerhouse,” and “A Worn Path.”

This collection isn’t a held together one at all, mea
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
When one hears someone speaking of great Southern writers it is usually Faulkner, O'Connor, and Welty who are spoken of in the same breath, especially of the gothic genre. In reading this first published collection of Welty's I must admit to being slightly underwhelmed. Now, that should be taken in context with the reputation that precedes it, the writing is fine, some of the stories are interesting, but it certainly is not at the level of Faulkner.

In this collection the two most traditionally
Scott Middleton
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty darn good collection of stories. The real standout was "Why I Live at the P.O.," which is essentially a more southern, more high-brow (p)re-telling of the opening sequence of Home Alone. Literally laughed out loud in public at the hijinks and family squabble described therein. "Petrified Man" is also a must-read for anyone who likes old-fashioned slice-of-life hairdresser gossip.

Other stories are more somber examinations of southern life. "The Hitch-Hikers" asks the question, h
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is my first Eduora Welty and I have to say that it really opened up my appetite for more.

Eudora understands people, not only that but she loves them. As with other great southern literature writers, it is her sense of empathy and wonder towards the human race what makes these stories so endlessly fascinating. In very few words, she is able to transcend from her beautifully crafted descriptions in order to reach that intangible feeling that makes all of her characters come alive.

Perhaps ther
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
I believe this is Eudora Welty's first collection of short stories, first published in 1941. Quite a few stories here with a very wide range. I like the writing a lot. There are many great observations within these stories. Some were rather bizarre, and there seems an excess of simple-minded folk. The bizarre strangeness effect was rather cumulative as I read through these stories. Every one seems to have a touch of strange about it. A few of the stories were to me rather uninteresting things in ...more
I picked this up because years ago I had enjoyed Delta Wedding. It found it sweetly poetic, a delicate glimpse into the drowsy-hot Mississippi summer of a motley family. The tone was perfect for a little girl observing the bustle of her elders around her. Plot was secondary to an evocation of southern life, but that worked for the novel.

Unfortunately, Eudora Welty's short stories held none of that charm for me. The tone that was so perfect for a little girl running around underfoot seemed confu
Aug 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
These stories don't quite pack the emotional or lyrical wallop of Katherine Anne Porter or Faulkner short stories, but they are still enjoyable and beautiful nonetheless. What I love about Welty is that she is entirely unpretentious and straightforward in her portrayal of life in rural Mississippi. She shows the heart and the beauty but never shies from exposing the dysfunction and even violence lurking just below the surface of seemingly normal families, towns, lives. I always feel a special co ...more
Vanessa Wu
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What lifts a piece of writing out of the ordinary and makes it great? What does immortal prose look like? Why do some stories lodge in your heart and never go away?

Eudora Welty knows. She writes of ordinary people and ordinary things but they resonate with extraordinary power:

"Night fell. The darkness was thin, like some sleazy dress that has been worn for many winters and always lets the cold through to the bones. Then the moon rose. A farm lay quite visible, like a white stone in water, among
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the first things anyone learns about my taste in books is I dislike short stories and I hate American literature. I hate it. First we whine about the Native Americans and it’s hard living in this country, then we whine about the British, then we whine about slavery (either having it or not), then we whine about WWII. We just whine a lot. Now, that said: I love this collection of short stories, written by a Southern woman—and Southerners tend to be the most egregious whiners about everythi ...more
Neelam Babul
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as part of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I had never read any of Eudora Welty's stories before but as I was scrolling through the classics section in the local state library, I saw a whole row of books containing short stories written by Welty. The stories are exemplary, outstanding and very unique. They take you to a whole new adventure away from the world. I just can't wait for the evening where I can relax after work with coffee on one hand and the entire collection of Welty ...more
As a native Mississippian, I was first exposed to Eudora Welty's writing in college circa 1966-67. We were required to read several stories from her first short story collection, A Curtain of Green. I was too "cool" (i.e., immature) to appreciate them at the time.

Many years later, my eyes were opened when I attended an exhibit of her Depression-era photographs (One Time, One Place) with a dear friend at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, MS, where I lived at the time. A year or two later, my ear
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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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