Friday, 21 October 2011

The Golden Apples

'Lets let the orphans go in the water first and get the snakes stirred up, Mrs Gruenwald,' Jinny Love Stark suggests.' Eudora Welty

The girls from Morgana, Mississippi are spending summer camp at Moon Lake. Loch Morrison, Boy Scout and Life Saver, reluctantly watches over the lake while they swim. The girls are equally reluctant to take their daily dip.

The boldest orphan, Easter, goes in first, the other orphans follow and then the girls from Morgana, Mississippi. The alligators have been 'beaten out' of the lake, but there are water snakes and rumours of a cottonmouth moccasin. Underfoot are cypress roots and soft mud. A rope marks the boundaries for swimming. The Morgana girls have bathing slippers but the orphans are barefoot.

Eudora Welty's collection of interconnected stories The Golden Apples, first published in 1949 are so evocative of Mississippi you can almost smell the 'sweetbay and cypress and sweetgum and live oak and swamp maple.'

With the change of season I find that I'm moving again towards my favourite American writers and I sense an autumn reading plan emerging!


Jennifer Dee said...

I have'nt read this book by Eudora Welty but have read 'The Ponder Heart'. It takes a little while to into the voice of her writing but once you do it is just heavenly. Have you visited her web site? She grew up in a wonderful house with her parents and two brothers; I just love looking around the rooms of her home I think it gets a real insight into her and her writing.

Sunday Taylor said...

Love that first line. I need to read these stories as Eudora Welty is one of my favorite writers. I love your description of her voice and of this book. Another illuminating post. Thank you!

Aarti said...

I've not read Eudora Welty before, but I actually used a quote by her in my application essay to study abroad. I feel like she helped me get to London, and for that I should thank her by reading some of her books!

I really enjoy interconnected short stories- glad this one was so evocative of its setting for you.

Anbolyn (Gudrun's Tights) said...

I'm woefully ignorant when it comes to the novels of my own country women so I'll be be looking forward to reading about your autumn reading plan.

AJ said...

You might enjoy Welty's recently published letters to and from William Maxwell; the US title is "What There Is to Say, We Have Said" I think (it is upstairs and I am lazy). I went and bought her complete stories to read in tandem --I always like the glimpses into the writer's process and decisions that letters provide.

Shelley said...

For fall, maybe add just a taste of Thomas Wolfe?

There is no funnier story in American lit than Welty's P.O.

Cathy at PotterJotter said...

Eeek! This reminds me of a time we all swam in a river in Vermont which had eels in it - not a good experience! Is the title from Yeats' 'Song of Wandering Aengus'?

Cath said...

That cover is so evocative of Welty. Dang, sometimes the publishers get things so right!

Nan said...

I could not, could not live there! :<)

Vintage Reading said...

Jennifer, yes I agree with you that her style takes a while to get used to. I will take the time to visit her website and I'd also like to read a biography. Here in the UK she is not widely known.

Sunday, I do like Welty, but my heart still belongs to Willa Cather!

Aarti, I'm fascinated that you quoted her in application essay! Although short stories are not my favourite genre this collection is very good.

Anbolyn, some day I will get to America for a literary pilgrimage!

AJ, yes I would like to read Welty's letters. I'd like to read a good biography, too. I am always fascinated by the writing process. Thank you for the recommendation.

Shelley, ah I have heard about this PO story, I need to track it down. Yes, I should read Wolfe - so many books, so little time!

Cathy, pass on Yeats - I never did do well in my Irish lit module at uni! My dad once caught an eel and put it in the bath!!

Cath, it is a perfect cover isn't it?

Nan, you wouldn't get me to swim in that lake!

A Bookish Space said...

This sounds wonderful - and I love the cover!