Plains Song: For Female Voices
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Wright Morris (1910-1998) wrote thirty-three books, including The Home Place, also available in a Bison Books edition, and Field of Vision, which won the National Book Award. Charles Baxter is a professor of English at the University of Michigan and the author of numerous works, including The Feast of Love.
author does not love his characters by gushing over them; instead, he does them the honor of paying close attention to them. His novels are, therefore, acts of lyrical attention rather than high dramas, and a good reader might do well to bring a close attention to what Morris has set down, with such precision and care, on the page. He liked slow readers—he said so many times—and those who took careful notice. In one of his books of photographs, he wrote that it was his aim “to salvage what I
Ned bought the girls balloons they asked Cora to hold. Seated alone, in this throng of people, Cora was seized with a sadness so great her throat pained her. Madge didn’t like the way she looked when she came back to her, and they drove to the lakefront, where it was cooler. Ned parked where they could look at the water. So much of it, endless and calm, soothed Cora, the color deep as a bluing rinse, her gaze fastened on the smoke of a boat beyond the horizon. Madge said that Sharon Rose was
classes, and was an avid specimen collector. She called Blanche to tell her of the strange things she had found. “Might I speak to Miss Kibbee?” she would ask Sharon, usually breathing hard from the climb to her room. Blanche would sit cross-legged on the floor, beside the telephone stand, picking at bits of nap on the hallway rug. Libby’s monologue might go on for as long as forty minutes, with no audible comment from Blanche. Sharon had spoken with Libby’s mother, Gladys Pollitt, who had called
with a team of plow horses, it being the noise of tractors, in Avery’s opinion, that cut down on the cows’ milk. So the two horses would work better as a team, Avery gelded the white stallion. Several days later Cora heard a loud whacking noise near the barn. From the porch she saw Avery tugging at the bridle of the stationary white horse. Emerson stood at the rear, holding a board from the fence, which he whacked across the horse’s broad rump. The horse stood straddle-legged, as if watering,
it didn’t. Ned Kibbee’s always doing as he pleased, which meant building no more houses than he cared to, soon found him employed as a carpenter to a builder of tract houses in Lincoln. This man built nice, up-to-date houses for almost a third less than Ned could build them. He paid Ned a good wage but the work he did gave him little satisfaction. The younger men were gone before he got to know them, or they sat around during the lunch break talking about girls and football. Ned had never played