Losing battles

by Eudora Welty

Hardcover, 1970




New York, Random House [1970]


Three generations of Granny Vaughn's descendants gather at her Mississippi home to celebrate her 90th birthday. Possessed of the true storyteller's gift, the members of this clan cannot resist the temptation to swap tales.

User reviews

LibraryThing member janeajones
LOSING BATTLES, a raucous novel set in Boone County, MS during the 1930s, chronicles a family reunion at the 90th birthday of Granny Vaughan. All her grandchildren and great -grandchildren gather to feast, to rehearse their family history, and to await the return of Jack Jordan Renfro, the beloved
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young scion of the family who's spent the last two years in Parchman prison. The novel is by turns hilarious and compassionate with a touch of pathos in the recounting of the life and death of Miss Julia Mortimer, the crusading schoolteacher, who failed to convince any of the family members of the value of education. At the center of the novel are Jack and Gloria, determined to restart their lives and look to the future with their infant daughter, Lady May. As with all of Welty's novels, there are glorious descriptions of nature, wonderful dialogue, memorable characters and a thoroughly humane core.
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LibraryThing member hrissliss
I'm not particularly fond of Welty, but her prose in this book almost made me reevaluate her completely. She's got a wonderful hand with descriptions, metaphor and allusion -- but not such a great one, in my opinion, with characterization. At least, these particular skills weren't exhibited fully
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in this book, about a family in the Depression-era South at their family reunion. The family runs together -- maybe three of the fifty have distinct personalities, and about 10 others have individualized names, so there's constantly just a mass of 'family' streaming about the action. The entire book takes place in a single day, and it's a somewhat *long* book, so it is a very long day. While watching Welty run these people in futile circles while giving grandiose speeches about their own place in life is amusing for the first 100 pages, after a second hundred pages it starts to pall. There are only so many fantastic events (which go nowhere) and grandiose speeches (which go nowhere) and jumbled xenophobic conversations (which go nowhere) one can take before becoming a little bit tired of everything going nowhere. But that's the point, right? It's meta! 6/10
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LibraryThing member marient
On the hot, dry first Sunday of August, three generations of Granny Vaughn's descendants gather at her home in the little town of Banner, Mississippi, to celebrate her ninetieth birthday. The celebrations take only two days, but many members of the family are great storytellers, and when they get
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together, the temptation is irresistible-a device that enables Eudora Welty to take the reader back into the lost battles of the past, capturing different tones of voice and ways of thinking..
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LibraryThing member AliceAnna
Truly my favorite of all of her novels. I had trouble putting the book down as it almost had a soap-opera quality to it. Can Gloria escape the clutches of this bizarre Southern family (and take Jack with her)? Who is Gloria's father? What will happen to the judge's car (or rather Mrs. Judge's
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The battle being waged is against ignorance and poverty and all of life's tribulations that try to suck you into their depths. Somehow this cast of colorful characters manages to prevail over it all.
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LibraryThing member brokensnowpea
I had a hard time reading this. Perhaps I wasn't in the right space. I'll try it again in a year or two.



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