Oh Eudora Welty, why can’t I quit you?
It’s because I bought her complete novels a few years ago, and well, I feel stuck reading them all.
This one was not bad though for a few reasons. It was goofy and had a clear voice to it. The character of Daniel Ponder is a really truly vexing character. He’s terrible with money, obsessed with women, has no moral core, and just seems bent of accidentally destroying his niece’s life.
Edna Earle tells early on how bad he is about giving away fortune. “Things I could think of without being asked that he’s given away would be–a string of hams, a fine suit of clothes, a white-faced heifer calf, two trips to Memphis, a pair of fantail pigeons, fine Shetland pony (loves children), brooder and incubator, good nanny goat, bad billy, cypress cistern, field of white Dutch clover, two iron wheel and some laying pullets (they were together), cow pasture during drouth (he has everlasting springs), innumerable fresh eggs, a pick-up truck–even his own cemetery lot, but they wouldn’t accept it. And I’m not counting this week. He’s been a general favorite all these years.”
The novel deals with an old theme, how do we handle our responsibilities to our family, especially when they are so undeserving of care and attention? Edna Earle is clearly the more deserving of her grandfather’s fortune both in need and in worth, but because Daniel is the older, but lesser, he gets the fortune.