Excellent articles and reviews of Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald edited by Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan have appeared in papers literally coast to coast— from The Wall Street Journal to the Los Angeles Times.
The most recent international review was published in The Paris Review. Titled “Will They or Won’t They,” the review concludes that “reading the correspondence between Millar and Welty, you almost begin thinking of them as your friends—friends who should get together, already. And if they did, who knows? The letters may be littered with clues. After all, both writers enjoyed a good mystery.”
The Wall Street Journal story by Wes Davis entitled “They Lived at the P. O.” cites the many interests that Welty and Ken Millar (who wrote as Ross Macdonald) found they had in common and wrote to each other about, noting that the real theme of their correspondence is their growing friendship. Davis concludes that “they came to feel that the current of their affection rivered through their lives with or without the letters.”
Susan Straight in the Los Angeles Times calls both Welty and Macdonald “titans of fiction,” he of the mystery genre and she of the novel and short story. Straight says that Marrs and Nolan “spent years collaborating on this project, and their careful, insightful commentary around the letters makes the book read as satisfyingly as a novel of two people whose true loves were always language and description and story as the only sway to reconcile the heart with the world.”
Jim Ewing’s review in The Clarion-Ledger review describes Meanwhile There Are Letters is a “treasure-trove of insights about writers, writing, books, the literati of the time, both national and international.” He also notes that the letters include Welty’s experience during such Mississippi events as the 1979 Easter flood and the election of William Winter as governor and “the beneficial effect it would have upon arts, letters and race relations in Mississippi.”
The Washington Times story by Martin Rubin call the book a “captivating collection of letters. . ., old-fashioned in the best sense of the term.” He adds that it is “not just a meeting of minds but of hearts also, two very lonely and needy ones.”
To read other reviews of Meanwhile There Are Letters click on the titles of the publications below:
The Washington Post: “‘Meanwhile There Are Letters’ Review: The Rich Friendship af Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald”
The New York Times: “Conjoined by a Torrent of Words”
Austin American-Statesman: Writers Welty, Macdonald kept friendship flame alive with extraordinary letters
Mystery Writer: “Pen Pals. A new collection of the correspondence between Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald chronicles the platonic love affair between two gifted, caring, and profoundly decent people.”
The Guardian: “Meanwhile There Are Letters Review—a literary love affair that stayed on the page”
Pasadena Weekly: “Meanwhile There Are Letters. New book collects letters between Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald, chronicles unlikely relationship between the literary giants”
Goodreads: “Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald”
The Clarion-Ledger‘s interview with Marrs by Jana Hoops features Marrs’s career at Millsaps College and tells how she came to know and become a close friend and the official biographer of Welty.
The book has been “Starred” in both Kirkus Review and Booklist Online of the American Library Association. Kirkus calls it “an intimate, luminous portrait of a friendship.” Read the Kirkus review here. Brad Hooper in Booklist says the book is “a letter collection to be savored.” Read Hooper’s review here.
Marrs and Nolan will read from the Welty and Macdonald letters on Thursday, August 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Welty Education and Visitors Center with a reception following. Marrs spoke and signed books in July at History Is Lunch at the William Winter Archives and History Building and at Lemuria Books.
Marrs and Nolan will also be appearing at the Mississippi Book Festival at the Mississippi State Capitol on Saturday, August 22 at 11:30 a.m. They will participate in a panel entitled “Eudora Welty: Letters, Flowers, Loves, and the Latest Scholarship.” Other panelists are Welty scholars Julia Eichelberger, Sally Wolff, Pearl McHaney, and Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, moderator. Visit msbookfestival.com for details about this seminal inaugural event.