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Delta Wedding (A Harvest/Hbj Book) Paperback – March 21, 1979


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Product Details

  • Series: A Harvest/Hbj Book
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st Harvest/HBJ ed edition (March 21, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156252805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156252805
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[she] give[s] the people of her South an inner richness ... It is a great and generous achievement SUNDAY TIMES --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

EUDORA WELTY (1909-2001) was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and attended the Mississippi State College for Women, the University of Wisconsin, and Columbia University (where she studied advertising). In addition to short fiction, Welty wrote novels, novellas, essays, and reviews, and was the winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

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Customer Reviews

The plot is a simple one, however, the novel's pattern of relationships are most complex.
Jana L. Perskie
Welty's second novel "Delta Wedding" developed from a short story titled "The Delta Cousins" that three magazines initially rejected.
Robin Friedman
If anything, this book did remind me of that, for which I'm grateful, but as a story I found it extremely slow-going and tedious.
M. Meszaros

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on May 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
When you see the title "Delta Wedding," please don't assume that Eudora Welty's novel is either a gaudy supermarket romance or a pollyanna tribute to nuptial celebration and Southern domesticity. It is about the events leading up to a wedding, and of course there is plenty of talk about dresses and cooking and dancing, but Welty, almost like Virginia Woolf's American counterpart, suffuses the atmosphere with mysterious psychological undercurrents and the foreboding aura of secrecy. We get the sense that there is more to these people's personalities than the text can convey, and we read on patiently and attentively, hoping to unravel the complexities.

The setting is the area of central Mississippi through which the Yazoo River flows, not far from Faulkner country geographically or literarily; much of the land in this particular locality is owned by a family named the Fairchilds, the dynastic centerpiece of the story. The prevalent symbol in the novel is a train called the Yellow Dog, the principal means of mass transportation that connects this part of Mississippi to the rest of the state. This is the train that brings nine-year-old Laura McRaven from Jackson to visit the Fairchilds, her cousins, on their plantation, where Dabney (that's a girl) Fairchild is engaged to be married within the week to a man twice her age named Troy Flavin.

It is also the train that, not long before the novel begins, nearly ran over Laura's uncle George as he tried to rescue his addled niece Maureen who had caught her foot in a trestle. George's wife Robbie had witnessed this near-accident and now is using it as an excuse to leave him--how could he be so selfish as to risk his life and widow her?
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Merridith on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Reading "Delta Wedding" is like attending a family wedding and meeting all your distant relatives for the first time. You have a sense of belonging and, at the same time, a sense of being an outsider. Everyone seems to know everyone so much better than you do and you're rushing to catch up on everyone's story and sort out who is who. This is a relatively short book, but perhaps because she is primarily a short-story writer, Eudora Welty has packed this book so densely with character and detail, you will feel as though you have read a family saga of many hundred pages. The delta is recreated in such detail that you can feel the humid, misty breezes and hear the crickets chirping. The young girls through whose perspective you watch the proceedings are enchanting. Struggling to keep track of the characters forced me to go back and re-read parts of the book at times, which was, in fact, helpful in discovering important overlooked details. This is a book you can re-read many times always discovering something or someone new. Eudora Welty ranks at the very top of Southern writers and American writers in general.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a lifelong Southern girl, I find that there are three authors who can fully unveil the truth about the south: Shelby Foote, William Faulkner, and Miss Eudora Welty. This book beautifully tells the story of Laura McRaven, a young girl visiting her deceased mother's family in the Mississippi delta, ostensibly to attend Cousin Dabney's wedding. Miss Welty has a true gift for evoking the smells, tastes, and sounds of the rural south. You will feel that you have spent the summer with the Fairchild clan. Not to be missed as a benchmark in southern literature. Yankees will vow to move south.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. F Malysiak on June 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had to read this for a Lit of the American South class I'm taking for my M.A. I read it in two days with a study guide close at hand as well as several background articles on Welty. I'm grateful for the additional materials, but even without them I know I would have found much to praise in this book.
When I first started to read, my professor suggested compiling a list of characters and their relationships in order to assist in keeping everyone straight. This was excellent advice and allowed me to read without getting too bogged down in character names and trying to figure out who was allied with whom, etc etc.
The novel is ostensibly a portrait of one Southern family. On a broader perspective, one can view it as a deconstruction of the American South with its age-old social structures and isolationism. But it can also be taken on a much more universal level. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in any milieu will relate to Ellen Fairchild, Laura McEvern, and Robbie Reid. Families across the world aren't so different. Robbie's statement in the novel's climax: "I didn't marry into them, I married George!" is, I thought, particularly insightful.
I honestly can't praise this book enough. It has inspired me to want to read more of Welty's work as well as other great Southern writers. An excellent introduction...
In some ways, perhaps in structure and narrative tone, it reminded me of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.
Again, this is one of the greatest books I have ever read!
Enjoy!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on March 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
On its surface, "Delta Wedding" is a story about the preparations for a wedding by a Southern clan. As one of the characters remarks, the family takes "you in circles, whirling delightedly about [but} nothing really so very much happened." Anyone expecting a page-turner about plantation life or a thickly plotted potboiler will surely be disappointed. Instead, you must be willing to believe that "old stories, family stories, Mississippi stories [are] the same as very holy or very passionate."
The plot, such as it is, is simple: the extended Fairchild family reunites for a wedding, and everyone brings their dreams, memories, grudges, and intrigues. As with any "typical" family reunion, there is a pervasive threat of scandal that never quite pans out, and several petty incidents get blown out of proportion by the affected characters. The sheer number of kinfolk can be overwhelming at times, but they are clearly delineated (although it must be said that the black servants rarely transcend stereotype, which is undoubtedly an accurate portrayal of how a rich Southern family would have viewed the help). Welty's drawling humor gives the narrative much warmth and vitality; her ability to switch perspective seamlessly from one character to the next is truly without equal.
All in all, Welty writes beautifully of familial relations and social manners; she can truly be considered the Jane Austen of the South.
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