Pale Horse, Pale Rider: Three Short Novels

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Modern Library, 1998 - Fiction - 205 pages
3 Reviews
Pale Horse, Pale Rider comprises three of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's short novels or long stories, as Porter--who didn't hold with the term "novella"--called her pieces. In the masterly "Noon Wine," set on a Texas farm circa 1900, she offers an unforgettable study of evil. According to Reynolds Price the tale "can stand shoulder to shoulder with anything in Tolstoy or Chekhov." Both "Old Mortality" and the title story center on Porter's fictional counterpart, Miranda: a resilient Southern heroine who, as Mary Gordon observed, is in "the precarious position of a woman who must earn her way with no one behind her to break her fall."
"Many of Katherine Anne Porter's stories

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User Review  - AliceAnna - LibraryThing

An intense look at war and death and what's left afterwards. The character of Miranda was particularly well-drawn -- always questioning, always doubting -- her angst seemed true without being cloying ... Read full review

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User Review  - JVioland - LibraryThing

Three novellas, but the best was the one that became a name for this book. What happens when you become part of an epidemic? Do you know the effect you may have on those around you? "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" lets you experience these questions. Well done. Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Katherine Anne Porter is known for her subtle and delicate perception; her careful, disciplined technique; and her precision of word and phrase. She wrote slowly and with restraint but achieved an impression of ease and naturalness that is close to perfection. She was born in Texas, schooled in Louisiana convents, and, working as a newspaper reporter and freelance journalist, traveled to such places as Paris, Majorca, Berlin, Vienna, and Mexico. Her Collected Stories (1965), which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966, was written over a long lifetime. It includes works that have been a standard part of high school and college literature courses for a half-century. Among the best are "Noon Wine," "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," and "Flowering Judas." "Pale Horse, Pale Rider," long enough to be considered a novelette, is one of several stories about a character named Miranda who as a girl and young woman undergoes experiences not unlike those of Porter. Other Miranda stories are "Old Mortality" and a group of seven gathered under the title "The Old Order" that deal with her childhood. Her one and only full-length novel, Ship of Fools (1962), 20 years in the writing, "is the story of a voyage... . A novel of character rather than of action, it has as its main purpose a study of the German ethos shortly before Hitler's coming to power in Germany... ."Ship of Fools' is also a human comedy and a moral allegory" (New Yorker). To some critics, the book was a disappointment, but all recognized its importance and it appeared on the bestseller list for 28 weeks in 1962. "In my view," wrote Robert Penn Warren in a tribute published in Saturday Review after Porter's death in 1980, "the final importance of Katherine Anne Porter is not merely that she has written a number of fictions which have enlarged and deepened the nature of the story, both short and long, in our time, but that she has created an oeuvre---a body of work including fiction, essays, letters, and journals---that bears the stamp of a personality, distinctive, delicately perceptive, keenly aware of the depth and darkness of human experience, delighted by the beauty of the world and the triumphs of human kindness and warmth, and thoroughly committed to a quest for meaning in the midst of the ironic complexities of man's lot." Much of the nonfictional part of that body of work was gathered into The Collected Essays and Occasional Writings of Katherine Anne Porter.

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