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Pale Horse, Pale Rider (HBJ Modern Classic) Hardcover – June 18, 1990
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"Most good stories are about the interior of our lives, but Katherine Anne Porter's stories take place there," said Eudora Welty. "They show surface only at her choosing."
Pale Horse, Pale Rider comprises three of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's short novels or long stories, as Porter--who didn't hold with the term "novella"--called her pieces. In the masterly "Noon Wine," set on a Texas farm circa 1900, she offers an unforgettable study of evil. According to Reynolds Price the tale "can stand shoulder to shoulder with anything in Tolstoy or Chekhov." Both "Old Mortality" and the title story center on Porter's fictional counterpart, Miranda: a resilient Southern heroine who, as Mary Gordon observed, is in "the precarious position of a woman who must earn her way with no one behind her to break her fall."
"Many of Katherine Anne Porter's stories are unsurpassed in modern fiction," said Robert Penn Warren. "Miss Porter has the power that Chekhov or Frost or Ibsen, or sometimes Pound, has, the power to make the common thing glow with an Eden-like innocence." And The Saturday Review stated, "Porter moves in the illustrious company headed by Hawthorne, Flaubert, and Henry James."
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significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century.
The series was founded in 1917 by
the publishers Boni and Liveright
and eight years later acquired by
Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editons of impor-tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House
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Top Customer Reviews
I thought Flannery O'Connor had ruined all other southern short fiction writers for me, but Porter meets O'Connor's deft character portraits, with their keen knowledge of mannerisms and their psychological depth, as well as O'Connor's ability to surprise the reader with moments of recognition: Miranda's girlhood experience feels like my girlhood experience, across generations and geography. Even Mr. Thompson's story feels like it could have happened in one's own family, like the story grandparents and great aunts and uncles half-tell and subtly refer to while the turkey roasts in the oven and everyone steals nuts off the pecan pie.
I agree with others who are astonished that this book is not part of the literary canon in the U.S. It is a stunning, gorgeous example of short fiction. With the impenetrable heaps of "literary fiction" from contemporary writers, marketed to ridiculous heights, I'm finding old gems like this one soothing to my constantly inundated reader's mind. Read it. And writers, take note.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Porter was a treasure, and if you are unfamiliar with her work, this is a good place to start.Published 5 months ago by Sam D. Maloney
These three longer short stories telling the mysteries of living and dying represent Porter at her best. They are gems.Published 6 months ago by David
Required for my American Lit class. I wasn't intrigued or interested at all.Published 6 months ago by I Am Her
Great short stories, especially Pale Horse, about Kathrine's near death after contracting the Spanish Flu in 1917.Published 7 months ago by Roger
Perhaps I expected too much. I was bored with all three novels and had to force myself to continue to the end of each. Won't read it again.Published 14 months ago by AvidReader
I learned about this short novel while watching a documentary about the influenza epidemic of 1918. Some parts of it were quoted which made me want to read it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by laura
Simply, a fantastic collection of short novels that captures a mood and a time. It is a shame these aren't more well known.Published 18 months ago by Mike Dahlstrom
A short novel written by a woman who nearly died in the 1918 Influenza outbreak. When she finally recovered, she found out that her fiancé, who had nursed her at the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by MW