Why did I love this book?
Unlike Welty’s works featuring honorable or broadly comic characters, this dense story cycle was never excerpted in anthologies. It’s a trickier cast: consider Jinny Love Stark and Virgie Rainey, who cut through the languor of Depression-era Mississippi with stone-cold intention. Jinny Love plays croquet with her lover to enrage her volatile husband; she encourages her daughter to wear lizards as earrings to offend the propriety of her own controlling mother. Impoverished piano prodigy Virgie flouts her gift merely to watch her teacher go mad. Later, she trims her dead mother’s yard with sewing scissors while neighbors do the real work of laying out the body and receiving mourners. The heat presses forward. What day is it? What hour? This is weird, experimental Welty, and the payoff is sweet.