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Losing Battles Paperback – August 11, 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
Told almost entirely in dialogue, this novel reads like one of the lengthiest plays ever written. Welty moves from one conversation to the next, recording every word spoken by every character, rarely describing what they are thinking or how they are feeling, and supplying the "action" only when necessary. I can imagine that some might find this technique tiresome, but I couldn't stop turning the pages. Yes, it's a long read, but it's an easy one.
The novel displays Welty's usual small-town humor: townfolk so closely bound that they are unable to hold a grudge (Jack even comes to the aid of the judge who sentenced him), rapid-fire and droll sarcasm among family members ("What's a morning yell for?" "Mainly to show you're still alive after the night."), and rural parochialism and ignorance that are more endearing than disquieting. The one surprise (for Welty) is the pure slapstick of the situation created when the judge's car teeters on the edge of an incline--which it does for most of the length of the novel--and the family's various attempts to bring it safely down; the last chapter is more Keystone Cops than her usual high-brow Faulkner-style wit.
Like the book's many outsiders (Jack's wife, the schoolteacher, an aunt newly married into the family, the judge and his wife), the reader ultimately succumbs to the charm and magnetism of the Banner community. Any attempt to resist is just a losing battle.
Most of the "action" in _Losing Battles_ is presented through conversation which lends a real "you are there" feeling throughout. The novel ends with our attendance at Miss Julia's funeral, which is poignently and lovingly recounted by Ms. Welty. While I found Ms. Welty's style of writing often difficult is get through, I found the effort well worth it. Justly so, Ms. Welty's writing is meant be taken in slowly and savored to be truly appreciated.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Losing Battles (1970) may be the world’s longest shaggy dog story. The 400+ page novel is a series of extended free-form dialogue scenes with a gallery of over a dozen characters... Read morePublished 14 days ago by M. Buzalka
Welty recalls the writings of Thomas Hardy with her command of the English language, your utilization of adjectives and application of metaphors. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Bill
It is hard not to fall in love with Welty's prose at first word --- this one however is bit too insular, familial. Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 by Cynthia Davis
This novel is a comic masterpiece by one of the most important American fiction writers of the 20th century. Read morePublished on March 10, 2013 by reality bites
Have been looking for a 1st edition to this book for quite some time. Read it years ago and wanted a copy. Very pleased!!Published on January 1, 2013 by teachamms
Ms. Welty has written, seemily, a book of her people, but I just could not read it. The Renfro clan was having a reunion on the day Jack Renfro was to arrive home from prison. Read morePublished on January 6, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Published in 1970, "Losing Battles" was the fourth of Eudora Welty's (1909 -- 2001) five novels and her first since 1954. Read morePublished on June 21, 2011 by Robin Friedman