This is an ok collection. The star appeal I felt when I read A Curtain of Green was just not here. It’s strange because this collection came out only about a year after that one, and it strikes me as so obvious to only publish most of both collections or just combine them together, because a lot of these stories were pretty unforgettable. Eudora Welty (I have typed that as Wlety about 1000 times in my lifetime from back in my college days when I wrote a long term paper on her novel The Optimist’s Daughter – End digression) still remains a soft-hearted version of Flannery O’Connor in that her characters are often larger than life, but they aren’t grotesque masques of humanity.
The best story in this collection by far is the title story. In this story, a man gets tired of his pregnant wife and stays out drinking all night. When he gets home she is gone, having a left a note that she has jumped in the river. The resulting story involves dragging the river with, get this, a wide net. It’s good. Here’s how it opens: “William Wallace Jamieson’s wife Hazel was going to have a baby. But this was October, and it was six months away, and she acted exactly as though it would be tomorrow.”
I am challenged by my feelings about Welty (got it that time) because I have read a few of her books and I try really hard to like her. And I have a few times. I really liked The Optimist’s Daughter. I think I must have convinced myself that I am the type of person who likes Welty and can’t handle the fact that maybe I am not.