by Eudora Welty
Plot SummaryLegendary figures of Mississippi's past - flatboatman Mike Fink and the dreaded Harp brothers - mingle with characters from Eudora Welty's own imagination in an exuberant fantasy set along the Natchez Trace. Berry-stained bandit of the woods Jamie Lockhart steals Rosamond, the beautiful daughter of pioneer planter Clement Musgrove, to set in motion this frontier fairy tale.
"For all her wild, rich fancy, Welty writes prose that is as disciplined as it is beautiful" (New Yorker)
I have to admit - I enjoyed this novel more than I thought I would! It's a slim volume, with very easy to read prose, witty asides and interesting turns of phrases. It reads like a fairy tale, tall tale and parable all rolled up in one. The plot this story follows is very fanciful, full of mis-communications, unlikely coincidences, and meaningful imagery. While the story is inspired by The Robber Bridegroom, I feel there are also influences of the Greek myth Psyche and Eros and Beauty and the Beast. Which adds a lot of dimensions to the original fairy tales. There are many references to stories and characters I did not pick up on - Mike Fink and the Harp brothers are mentioned in the plot summary - but probably more frontier legends and stories that I am not familiar with. In this case, this story seemed rich with lore, and I thought it very interesting how the author wove all these elements together.
The story moves quickly, and in very unconventional ways. The things that happen are sometimes nonsensical, but very in the tradition of fairy tales. I thought it was a lovely, well-written, unusual story with very broad characterizations and an interesting twist on The Robber Bridegroom fairy tale. It takes a fairly dark tale, and makes it brighter and more hopeful.
part of the Project Fairy Tale reading challenge