Not too long ago I finished reading the collected short stories of Jean Stafford and decided that, since it was a collection of smaller works, I’d write mini-reviews of each smaller work. I was pretty successful with that, I think – it helped me process the stories a bit better, instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of them, like I was by John Cheever’s collection. So I’m applying that same approach to today’s review of The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, who won the Pulitzer Prize for this collection in 1966.
This anthology collects three short story collections that were previously published and includes four additional stories that were previously unpublished; it’s a comprehensive compendium of her short stories and, though she is more well-known for her novel, Ship of Fools, it is her short stories which reveal more about her and showcase her talents more.
After finishing the last collection of stories in this anthology, I can only conclude that Katherine Anne Porter deserves to be in the pantheon of the great American writers. Throughout all of her stories, there’s a quiet morbidity, a grotesqueness, a bit of horror, and a lot of mystery which is indicative of Southern Gothic or Victorian literature. But there’s also an unspeakable beauty in her writing.
Even in her weaker stories, Katherine Anne Porter’s writing is captivating.