intense sensations

There’s nothing sleazy about this sleazy dress

Posted on: September 9, 2011

A Curtain of Green: and Other StoriesA Curtain of Green: and Other Stories by Eudora Welty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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 the stretches of deep woods in their colorless dead leaf.”

Her writing is elegant, unpretentious and clear. You feel it when you read it.

The extract above is from the opening of The Whistle. It’s a very beautiful and moving story. An extract can’t do justice to the overall effect of this story, for which the simple, pitch-perfect sentences are just a means to an end.

Vanessa Wu is the author of Love Has No Limits

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