Noon Wine by Katherine Anne Porter

This is the third novella in the edition I have, entitled ‘Pale Horse Pale Rider’. Like the eponymous story and its sequel, ‘Old Mortality’ it is a heavily psychological work, written in spare, pellucid prose. The story concerns a family living in South Texas whose farm is struggling, but which is revitalised by the arrival of a hand who rarely speaks but works extremely hard and turns the place round. One senses this cannot last and when the outside world interferes in this happy arrangement, the farmer kills a man and is unable to deal with the consequences.

It is a bit like Hemingway – short sentences, simple structures, but meanings inferred and implied. A story which invites the application of the reader’s imagination.

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