Pale Horse, Pale Rider, By Katherine Anne Porter


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The Independent Culture

In her introduction to these short stories, Sarah Churchwell quotes Porter by way of explanation for the relatively tiny output over a 50-year writing career: "There is no describing what my life has been because of my one fixed desire: to be a good artist, responsible to the last comma for what I write."

This collection of "the best short stories" is proof of her perfectionism. It is also a wonder to behold in the art of short storytelling. "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," is a stream-of-consciousness of a dying woman in Texas, reflecting on the disappointing shape of her life; the three interlinked stories, "Old Mortality," "Noon Wine," and "Pale Horse, Pale Rider." travel from past to present to future, and from birth to family to death.