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Publisher's Summary

This story of a young woman's confrontation with death and her past is a poetic study of human relations.

Public Domain (P)2011 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Teresa
  • Okemos, MI, United States
  • 07-15-13

Beautiful writing

Like most people I don't like abridged versions of books and avoid them. So I WISH that Eudora Welty had recorded the unabridged version of this book, but to the best of my knowledge she didn't.

That being said, the beauty of the writing and the wonderful narration by the author outweigh any frustration resulting from abridgment. I have owned this recording for 10 - 15 years (first in audio cassettes), and returning to it is always a pleasure. I hear something new each time I listen.

I highly recommend this recording.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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velvety cloak of words... stitched with gold....

A story of an adult daughter's (Laurel) struggle with the death of her father, after already having lost her husband and her mother. She recalls her mom and dad reading parts of books to each other:

“She was sent to sleep under a velvety cloak of words, richly patterned and stitched with gold, straight out of a fairy tale, while they went reading on into her dreams.”

It is a story of the people and things we recall upon the death of a parent, the loss of that part of your life, the rooms, the stories, and the attempt to hold onto what others see as the smaller things. It is also about contemplating the defects of the parents through others you see after the loss.

We have all known folks like the busy-body neighbors and friends here. Perhaps we have all known despicable human beings like the step-mother (a younger self-centered and completely negative nelly married late in life by Laurel's widowed father). She is a dismal, awful spirit that you cannot help but wonder what the father could have seen in her to marry. This part of the novel made my stomach churn and my hair stand on end.

A poetic, semi-autobiographical look at death and life, as peculiarly experienced in the South, sure to strike a chord with anyone who has lost a parent.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I have heard Miss Welty

Where does The Optimist's Daughter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

thoroughly enjoyable

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Optimist's Daughter?

I loved the description of the sewing woman, Miss Berna Longmeyer. Her description tells a deep story about that exact time in the south.

What about Eudora Welty’s performance did you like?

It is always wonderful to hear a story in the author's voice, but this one was exceptional. Her southern soul was on display

If you could take any character from The Optimist's Daughter out to dinner, who would it be and why?

My first choice would be Fay, because she would be entertaining, but I wouldn't want to actually spend any time with her. I'd prefer to spend time dining with Juge McKelva

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ryan
  • Ottawa, IL, United States
  • 12-09-11

Barely Abridged

If you could sum up The Optimist's Daughter in three words, what would they be?

Worthy of praise.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Optimist's Daughter?

Everything after the 117 or after the funeral.

Have you listened to any of Eudora Welty’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, she does a wonderful job reading her own material.

Who was the most memorable character of The Optimist's Daughter and why?

Fay, she was viciously ignorant.

Any additional comments?

Welty reads all but a few sentences in this audiobook herself. Don't be scared off by the

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed it.

While I am sure there could be more entertaining readers, you just can't beat hearing an author's words read by the author herself. I found it wonderfully fascinating, and Mrs. Welty's deep southern drawl surely helps one imagine this novel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Eudora Welty

This was my first Welty book. I've wanted to get to know her my entire life, and I was not disappointed. Her prose was rich with character description and development. And I loved that she was reading it to me. How precious is that? She used to read to the children at the public library, one of them was a friend of mine. How precious is that?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Eudora's voice lacks intonation

Not easy to listen to. You can hear starts and stops in production. Her sentences all run together. She doesn't do a good job of narrating it. She's obviously a gifted writer but I would have much preferred a different narrator.

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My introduction to Welty's Writing

And it could not be better! This is a great story, well crafted and read by Welty herself.

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True Southern

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I'm not sure if this is for everybody but I appreciated it. I'm making my way through the Pulitzer's for fiction and this one is one of the better ones.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The Southern colloquialisms border on poetry. This is one of those stories that deserves to be listened to multiple times. One of the few lyrical books that I've read that doesn't let the prose get away from the story.

What about Eudora Welty’s performance did you like?

Only a southerner could have read this and I'm thankful that the author did. I was unsure when I started listening but by the end I concluded that she was the only one that could have read the story. It reminded me of an old Grandma rocking in her chair and telling a family history.

Did The Optimist's Daughter inspire you to do anything?

To write and see if I'm able capture the same local flavor that I grew up with.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this for a long road trip. It comes in at only four hours.

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Superb reading and writing

What a pleasure and privilege to hear the voice of Eudora Welty read her own work! The slow cadence of her voice matches the story of the daughter and the Greek chorus of women in the small town in "Miss-ippi" who bring the past to life. I grew up in Alabama and Tennessee, so this rings true for me and, I would hope for all who've left home. It is the voice of my grandmother.