Carson McCullers--novelist, dramatist, poet--was at the peak of her powers as a writer of short fiction. Here are nineteen stories that explore her signature themes: wounded adolescence, loneliness in marriage, and the tragicomedy of life in the South. Here too are The Member of the Wedding and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, novellas that Tennessee Williams judged to be "assuredly among the masterpieces of our language."
This work collects for the first time all 19 of McCullers's stories from a 1951 edition and from The Mortgaged Heart (1971). Her most critically acclaimed novels round out the reader, while the author's biographer Virginia Carr provides a lucid, thoughtful introduction. McCullers patented the Southern gothic genre that embraces grotesque, morbid characters with such pervading themes as unrequited love and wounded adolescence. Largely set in the South and richly autobiographical, her writings have endured because of their great power and originality. Sure to appeal to the general reader, the volume will also satisfy scholars with its broad look at McCullers's oeuvre. Edward C. Lynskey, Documentation, Atlantic Research Corp., Alexandria, Va.