Monday, October 7, 2013

Supporter of Porter

Perhaps it is fitting that on the cusp of my first trip to West Texas, I have just finished The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, published in 1965, for which she won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  While the stories were published in 1962, most of them were written in the early 1930s.  Porter grew up in Texas and Louisiana.

Porter's stories take place all over the world - West Texas, the South, Mexico, Berlin, the German countryside, etc.  Her characters are electric as her settings are.  There were some stories that didn't really hold my interest, and others that were piercingly good, such as "Old Mortality" and "Holiday."  In the latter, a young woman gets advice from her friend about where to go for her spring holiday, and she goes to the country to live with a "family of real old-fashioned German peasants, in the deep blackland Texas farm country." 

Porter is an important writer in the American canon, and while I didn't like every story in this collection, it is absolutely worth reading a handful of these distinctive stories. 

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