Ms. Porter explains it all – “The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter”
Ms. Katherine Anne Porter has a Pulitzer Prize – yet, until a chance encounter with a quote of hers on a quote website (don’t ask) I had never heard of her. So, when I was browing in Half-Price Books this past weekend and encountered a $1.00 collection of her short stories, I picked it up. After all, Pulitzer Prize for a novel aside, Ms. Porter is known best and renowned most for her stories, so it seemed like a win.
And it was. Mostly.
Admittedly, I skimmed a couple of the stories – there are twenty-five in all – but mostly I was captivated. Porter writes deceptively simple stories about the dark side of humanity. Not the Stephen King dark side, with killer clowns and cars, but a kind of darkness that comes from reality. In the opening story, ‘Maria Concepcion,’ a woman who’s been cheated on goes about her life until the man who wronged her returns to town with the other woman, then gets her revenge. In ‘Rope,’ a new country wife thinks about her unhappiness and dwells on a rope that her husband carries around.
“The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter” contains “Pale Horse, Pale Rider,” which is a 1939 book Porter published – actually a collection of three novellas dealing with similar themes, namely death.
Compared often to another Southern short fiction writer, Flannery O’Connor, Porter is definitely a writer worth checking out. There are even moments where her writing reminded me of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” (especially in “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”) albeit an American gothic version.
Surely this book can be found in many a library and used bookstore – that’s where I got mine. Even if you pay full price, it’s worth the investment.
I don’t see this volume leaving my bookcase anytime soon.