Excellent piece by novelist Charles Baxter on Katherine Anne Porter in The New York Review of Books (unfortunately, subscription required). Porter is the first Texas writer to be collected by the Library of America. She is Texas’ finest short-story writer — one of America’s finest short-story writers — and Baxter is superb on how and why her stories work:
Betrayal is Katherine Anne Porter’s great subject — it gives off a very particular hum in her work — and seemingly constitutes the basis of most encounters between her characters. She seems to have known everything about how betrayal works and how it succeeds. As a theme, it provides the author with a handy epistemological acid, since under the sign of betrayal a person can trust no one and finally can know almost nothing for certain.