Maggie over at Maggie Reads has added an additional contest to the Southern Reading Challenge. She asks readers to pick a passage from one of our challenge books that depicts a sense of place, and post a picture along with that passage.
I decided to select a passage from The Optimist's Daughter (linked to my review). Although a large part of the book takes place in the main characters' hometown, Mount Salus, Mississippi, I chose a different location that Eudora Welty captured perfectly. The following passage depicts the train journey that Laurel and her step-mother took after the death of Judge McKelva, returning from New Orleans to Mount Salus.
"Set deep in the swamp, where the black trees were welling with buds like red drops, was one low beech that had kept its last year's leaves, and it appeared to Laurel to travel along with their train, gliding at a magic speed through the cypresses they left behind. It was her own reflection in the windowpane--the beech tree was her head. Now it was gone. As the train left the black swamp and pulled out into the space of Pontchartrain, the window filled with a featureless sky over pale smooth water, where a seagull was hanging with wings fixed, like a stopped clock on the wall." (p. 45)