The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

The Optimist's Daughter is a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winning 1972 short novel by Eudora Welty. It concerns a woman named Laurel, who travels to New Orleans to take care of her father, Judge McKelva, after he has surgery for a detached retina. He fails to recover from the surgery, though, surrenders to his age, and dies slowly as Laurel reads to him from Dickens. Her father's second wife Fay, who is younger than Laurel, is a shrewish outsider from Texas. Her shrill response to the Judge's illness appears to accelerate his demise. Laurel and Fay are thrown together when they return the Judge to his home town of Mount Salus, Mississippi, where he will be buried. There, Laurel is immersed in the enveloping good neighborliness of the friends and family she knew before marrying and moving away to Chicago. Fay, though, has always been unwelcome and takes off for a long weekend, leaving Laurel in the big house full of memories. Laurel encounters her mother's memory, her father's life after he lost his first wife, and the complex emotions surrounding her loss and the wave of memories in which she swims. She comes to a place of understanding that Fay can never share, and leaves small town Mississippi with the memories she can carry with her.

The 571st greatest fiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 20th on The Best Southern Novels of All Time (Oxford American)
  2. - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (Pulitzer Prize)
  3. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The Optimist's Daughter (Thorndike Press Large Print Paperback Series) Paperback 4077061 $12.49 $3.24
THE GOLDEN APPLES Mass Market Paperback 2529740 $24.95 $0.01
The Optimist's Daughter (Vintage International) Kindle Edition 32123 $7.99 2011
The Optimist's Daughter LP Paperback 3506323 $12.44 $0.69 2000
The Optimist's Daughter Paperback 482805 $5.71 $3.25
The Optimist's Daughter Paperback 1758297 $9.16 $2.15
The Optimist's Daughter Hardcover 2212151 $2.95 $0.01
The Optimist's Daughter Audio Cassette 2424076 $28.83 $4.00 1986
The Optimist's Daughter Paperback 4427674 $18.74 $0.01 1978
The Optimist's Daughter (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) School & Library Binding 9763769 $17.98 1990
The Optimist's Daughter: A Novel Hardcover 2547631 $7.20 $0.01 2002
The Optimist's Daughter (VMC) Paperback 5099430 $9.53 $0.41 1984
The optimist's daughter Hardcover 6677814 $107.42 $0.01
The Optimist's Daughter Audio Cassette 12644937 $4.49 1987
The Optimist's Daughter (Vintage International Series) Paperback 7175176 $18.42
Eudora Welty : Complete Novels: The Robber Bridegroom, Delta Wedding, The Ponder Heart, Losing Battles, The Optimist's Daughter (Library of America) Hardcover 175278 $34.42 $4.06 1998
The Optimist's Daughter Paperback 5236151 $4.50
Optimist's Daughter Hardcover 1826000 $25.95 $157.51 1996
Optimist's Daughter Hardcover 6526664 $109.34 $6.99 1973
The Optimist's Daughter Hardcover 4154646 $147.81 $1.49 1972
The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty - The Franklin Library - John Collier Illustrations Hardcover 1505418 $20.00
The Optimist's Daughter Paperback 129450 $6.00 $1.07 1990