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The City and the Pillar: A Novel Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400030374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400030378
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“An artistic achievement.” —The Washington Post

“One of the best novels of its kind. . . . It isn’t sentimental, and it is frank without trying to be sensational and shocking.” —Christopher Isherwood

“A brilliant exposé of subterranean life.” —The Atlantic Monthly

“Frank, shocking . . . extremely sympathetic, penetrating and exhortive.” —New York Herald Tribune

From the Inside Flap

A literary cause célèbre when first published more than fifty years ago, Gore Vidal?s now-classic The City and the Pillar stands as a landmark novel of the gay experience.

Jim, a handsome, all-American athlete, has always been shy around girls. But when he and his best friend, Bob, partake in ?awful kid stuff,? the experience forms Jim?s ideal of spiritual completion. Defying his parents? expectations, Jim strikes out on his own, hoping to find Bob and rekindle their amorous friendship. Along the way he struggles with what he feels is his unique bond with Bob and with his persistent attraction to other men. Upon finally encountering Bob years later, the force of his hopes for a life together leads to a devastating climax. The first novel of its kind to appear on the American literary landscape, The City and the Pillar remains a forthright and uncompromising portrayal of sexual relationships between men.

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Customer Reviews

Her writing is beautiful, but also complex--as are her characters.
Dianne Merridith
You will run out of highlighter ink reading this one, because there are so many passages you will surely want to reread and savor later.
James L. Vickery
This is a remarkable compilation of short fiction by one of the most gifted writers of our time.
Jana L. Perskie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 86 people found the following review helpful By James L. Vickery on June 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
You will run out of highlighter ink reading this one, because there are so many passages you will surely want to reread and savor later.
This grand matriarch of Southern Writer Tradition was first discovered, praised and published by luminaries such as Robert Penn Warren when he was coeditor of The Southern Review, Edward Weeks when he was editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and Mary Louise Aswell, when she was fiction editor of Harper's Bazaar.
This collection of stories is truly worthy to be called a classic. It is sometimes tedious reading, because the stories and characters are complex. After a number of false starts over a period of years, I finally resolved to give this scholarly work the focused time and attention it deserves, and feel richly rewarded for the effort.
Ms. Welty joins the ranks of great writers who prove to us that a great writer does not have to live the experience to effectively write about it. She leaps with ease between characters as diverse as Aaron Burr, a deaf black servant boy, a traveling salesmen, eccentric Southern matrons, and countless others. She portrays them in all of their complexities as if she had lived the experiences of each. Her descriptions of scenes and settings are equally as lucid and believable as if she had first hand knowledge of each. This rare and precious gift is best described in her own words, "I have been told, both in approval and accusation, that I seem to love all of my characters. What I do in writing of any character is to try to enter into the mind, heart, and skin of a human being who is not myself. Whether this happens to be a man or a woman, old or young, with skin black or white, the primary challenge lies in making the jump itself. It is the act of a writer's imagination that I set most high."
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
For those who want to jump-start their introduction to southern literature, this is as fine a beginning point as you will find anywhere. The prose is so richly drawn that it feels like poetry, and the images in "A Curtain of Green" and "A Still Moment" will take your breath away. You have to slow down to savor every carefully crafted sentence. Very highly recommended.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By hmraymond on July 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
If Flannery O'Connor is the Empress of Southern gothic writing, than Welty is for sure the Queen. Her stories perplex, confuse, amaze and just plain make you happy that people can write like this.
Her short stories are a given on any English professor's syllabus, and with good reason. Not only are they well written and chock full of metaphors and symbolism, but they speak a multi-generational and multi-regional dialect all their own.
Personal fave: Why I Live at the P.O.
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Format: Paperback
This National Book Award winner and treasure trove contain all 41 of Eudora Welty's short stories, including: "A Curtain of Green and Other Stories," (1941); "The Wide Net and Other Stories ,"(1943); the seven interlocking narratives of "The Golden Apples," (1949), "The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories," 1955, as well as two previously uncollected works, "Where Is the Voice Coming From?" (1963), and "The Demonstrators" (1966). Miss Welty also wrote a Preface especially for this edition, in which she says: "I have been told, both in approval and in accusation, that I seem to love all my characters. What I do in writing of any character is to try to enter into the mind, heart and skin of a human being who is not myself."

The intricacies of human relationships is the primary theme in this collection of short fiction. Eudora Welty's works combine wonderful humor and an astute perception of human psychology. Her ear for dialogue is superb and her prose lyrical and nuanced.

Eudora Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi where she spent most of her life. From the moment of publication, her collections of stories won wide critical acclaim, as did her novels, "The Robber Bridegroom," "Delta Wedding," "The Ponder Heart," "Losing Battles," and "The Optimist's Daughter," which won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize. Her autobiography, One Writer's Beginnings, won both the American Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984. In 1996, Welty was given France's highest civilian honor, the French Legion of Honor Award.

This is a remarkable compilation of short fiction by one of the most gifted writers of our time. This volume enriches any library it graces. Highly recommended.

JANA
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Merridith on August 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a short story writer, as a Southern writer, Eudora Welty is simply the best. Her writing is beautiful, but also complex--as are her characters. In a story of just a few pages, she can create a whole world and make a character come so alive that that character remains with you for days or even a lifetime. You feel as if you have known and lived with these people forever, and yet the short story form leaves you feeling that there is so much more to know. I love the stories about the South, but one of my favorites is the offbeat "Circe" based on the Greek legend about the sorceress who could turn men into swine. The harassed Circe notes that this is not a very great feat since men are pigs anyway and the legend develops an entirely different perspective. These stories are humorous, touching, and inspire awe for the talent that created them.
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