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The Optimist's Daughter, the "best book Eudora Welty has ever written" (The New York Times Book Review), is the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young Southern woman who returns to New Orleans years later because of her dying father. After his death, she and her stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. Alone in the old house, Laurel comes to an understanding of the past, herself, and her parents.