Many people refuse to read short fiction, but what they don’t understand is that the important part is the fiction, not the length. Being able to tell a story with a modicum of words is an absolute talent that not every book-length author possesses, but Porter loosely fictionalized a gut-wrenching account of her own struggle with the Spanish Flu in the eponymous story. I remember reading this collection in college and being shocked that this cataclysmic event that killed millions of people happened and I hadn’t until that moment really learned about the pandemic. Of course, there are echoes to what we are going through today, and when I started writing my own pandemic novel, I went back to Pale Horse, Pale Rider for inspiration. Selected by our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor Karin Slaughter
'She only wished to prove to herself she was once more on a train going somewhere' A passionate, unfulfilled woman considers her life and her marriage in this moving novella by one of America's finest short story writers. Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
Incomparable in their dramatic clarity and emotionalforce, the nine gems in this 1944 collection, now available in an exclusive Library of America e-book edition, affirm Katherine Anne Porter's genius for writing stories, as Eudora Welty observed, ';with a power that stamps them to their very last detail on the memory.'
The Library of America presents an exclusive e-book edition of the astonishing 1930 collection that introduced a major new voice in American literature. ';If Katherine Anne Porter had written nothing but these short narratives,"e; observed the New York Times, "e;she would be among the most distinguished masters of her craft in this country.'
This classic 1939 collection of three shortnovels, now available in an exclusive Library of America e-book edition, elevated Katherine Anne Porter, in the words of one contemporary critic, ';into the illustrious company headed by Hawthorne, Flaubert, and Henry James.'In ';NoonWine?' a family struggling to live on a farm in Texas is saved by the unexpected arrival of a mysterious strangeronly to have their world upended again by the arrival,nine years later, of a second stranger. The three parts of ';Old Mortality' introduce the teenagerMiranda and chronicle her journey of self-discovery, as she gradually realizes her family's romantic nostalgia for her absent uncle and late aunt bears little resemblance to the truth.Miranda returns in the title story, ';Pale Horse, Pale Rider.' She is now working as a drama critic for a newspaper in Denver, where she falls in love with a soldier, Adam, during the influenza epidemic of 1918. When Miranda falls ill, Adam cares for her until she is moved to a hospital. Throughout her ordeal, on everyone's mind is ';the war, thewar, the WAR to end WAR, war for Democracy, for humanity, a safe world forever and ever.'
In the summer of 1931, a cruise ship sails from Mexico on its way to Bremerhaven, Germany. Among its many diverse passengers are a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcee, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests, a number of Germans returning to their homeland from Mexico, and a corrupt, avaricious company of Spanish singers and dancers who scheme to defraud the other passengers of their money. In the mingling and meeting of these varied personalities on board the ship of fools, a drama of good and evil takes place from which no one will emerge unchanged. Rich in incident, passion, and treachery, the novel's themes of nationalism, cultural and ethnic pride, and basic human frailty are as relevant today as they were when the novel first appeared in 1945.
This volume brings together twenty-nine pieces dating from before 1932, none of which appeared in Porter's collected works and many of which are published here for the first time. Both fiction and essays are covered. All these pieces belong to Porter's apprenticeship as a creative writer. Thus, they offer new insights into her artistic development and her relationship with Mexico, a place that, as she later said, influenced everything I did afterward.