Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald

Edited by Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan. Skyhorse/Arcade (Perseus, dist.), $35 (560p) ISBN 978-1-62872-527-8
Between 1970 and 1980, Eudora Welty and Kenneth Millar (aka Ross Macdonald) carried on the correspondence of two devoted soulmates, as this scintillating collection attests. The exchanges were inaugurated by Millar upon discovering Welty was a fan; the admiration was mutual. Their letters, rarely separated by more than a few days, are an engrossing catalogue of shared passions: favorite writers (Ford Madox Ford, F. Scott Fitzgerald), birding, the arts, and more. Each was a perceptive reader of the other: Millar assessed Welty’s essays as “cut from the same piece of imaginative cloth as your stories”; Welty praised Millar’s Lew Archer detective novels for their human dimension. And their responses to one another glow with warmth and even love. Jealous that she can’t attend a literary conference where Millar is appearing, Welty writes, “It gives me a pang to think others can see you and I can’t.” Millar maintains a married man’s careful reserve but nevertheless acknowledges “the quiet security of love and friendship” that Welty provides. Editors Marrs and Nolan, Welty and Millar’s respective biographers, explain that Millar’s losing battle with Alzheimer’s cut short his letters after 1980, but Welty continued hers. “Henry,” her unfinished story about an Alzheimer’s sufferer, supplies a moving postscript to this poignant exchange of letters and love. 16 b&w photos. Agent: Kent D. Wolf, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/11/2015
Release date: 07/01/2015
Open Ebook - 568 pages - 978-1-62872-548-3
Paperback - 568 pages - 978-1-62872-753-1
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