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Something about the tone of this story reminds me of Virginia Woolf.   Certainly Welty would have been familiar with Woolf, yet the connection is not so easy to pinpoint.  It has to do with the subtle, and not entirely subtle, ironies.  It also has to do with the fact that through much of “A Piece of News” we are following the thoughts of a woman alone in a room.  There you go.  Woolf did that.  There’s my connection.


In this story we meet Ruby Fisher who reads in a newspaper that Ruby Fisher has been shot by her husband.  Though this Ruby has not been shot by her husband or otherwise, she’s fascinated with the idea that he might shoot her.  Honestly, through this part of the story I was hoping for a Twilight Zone twist in which her fantasy of being shot makes it so, but that would not have been Welty.  In her version, there is no shooting at all, only the report thereof from a newspaper that turns out not to even be a local paper.


However, there’s much more to it than that.  Ruby doesn’t have the most ideal marriage, and while she has not been shot—something she sees as dramatic enough that her husband would have to be sorry—she has in fact been hit.  Such subtle irony.  Such a beautifully powerful piece of fiction.