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Everything That Rises Must Converge | [Flannery O’Connor]

Everything That Rises Must Converge

This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O'Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment.
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Publisher's Summary

This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O'Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment.

The title story is a tragicomedy about social pride, racial bigotry, generational conflict, false liberalism, and filial dependence. The protagonist, Julian Chestny, is hypocritically disdainful of his mother's prejudices, but his smug selfishness is replaced with childish fear when she suffers a fatal stroke after being struck by a black woman she has insulted out of oblivious ignorance rather than malice.

Similarly, “The Comforts of Home” is about an intellectual son with an Oedipus complex. Driven by the voice of his dead father, the son accidentally kills his sentimental mother in an attempt to murder a harlot.

The other stories are “A View of the Woods”, “Parker's Back”, “The Enduring Chill”, “Greenleaf”, “The Lame Shall Enter First”, “Revelation”, and “Judgment Day”.

Flannery O'Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinizes territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.

©1956 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965; renewed 1993 by the Estate of Mary Flannery O’Connor (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“The current volume of posthumous stories is the work of a master, a writer's writer—but a reader's too—an incomparable craftsman who wrote, let it be said, some of the finest stories in our language." (Newsweek)

“All in all they comprise the best collection of shorter fiction to have been published in America during the past twenty years.” (Book Week)

“When I read Flannery O'Connor, I do not think of Hemingway, or Katherine Anne Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles. What more can you say for a writer? I write her name with honor, for all the truth and all the craft with which she shows man's fall and his dishonor.” (Thomas Merton)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (244 )
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  •  
    menary kitchen 09-27-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "mixed review"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    yes. i enjoyed most of the listens


    Would you recommend Everything That Rises Must Converge to your friends? Why or why not?

    maybe. if in converstion


    What aspect of the narrators’s performance would you have changed?

    two narrators kept the interest and two did not


    Was Everything That Rises Must Converge worth the listening time?

    yes. the stories were entertaining lessons. i felt bored by some


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    West Coast Reader San Francisco, CA United States 06-10-13
    West Coast Reader San Francisco, CA United States 06-10-13
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    "Stories Amazing; Readers Worthy of the Material"
    Any additional comments?

    This was possibly the best audiobook experience I've ever had with fiction. Each of the readers did a wonderful job with voices and with the "voice" of these stories, which are among the greatest (and funniest) in the American canon. As soon as I finished, I started over at the beginning and started listening to the first stories again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Santucci Lebanon, OR United States 04-19-13
    Peter Santucci Lebanon, OR United States 04-19-13 Member Since 2011
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    "wow"
    Would you listen to Everything That Rises Must Converge again? Why?

    Absolutely. This is some of the most brilliantly cutting fiction that's ever been written.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What I liked about Flannery's stories is exactly what I don't like about them. They're painful. She exposes the arrogance of progressive/liberal thinking and the shallowness of conservative niceness. Wherever you find yourself landing, she's got a scathing revelation awaiting you. But that's exactly why I keep coming back to her stories. She exposes both my arrogance and my shallowness.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    These very well chosen narrators bring local color and life to the characters that I simply wouldn't have provided if I were reading the stories silently in my head. The biting tone of some and the simpering of others. So well done.


    If you could take any character from Everything That Rises Must Converge out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Absolutely none of them. They are all dreadful!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Pensacola, FL, United States 03-04-13
    John Pensacola, FL, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2011

    razorjohn

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    "One ripping good yarn after another"

    I enjoyed Ms O'Connor's short stories as much or more than I've ever enjoyed any short stories. This is a challenging read because there is so much symbolism and depth to her writing. I advise using online resources such as cliffs and sparknotes so the reader doesn't miss anything. Be aware that Ms O'Connor's pen is cruel and prose is very biting. Her stories have quite a bit of "kick" to them. I'll definitely be reading more from her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carmen OFallon, MO, United States 02-25-13
    carmen OFallon, MO, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2011

    Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy

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    "spoiler alert"
    Would you listen to Everything That Rises Must Converge again? Why?

    yes I would, although these stories were very relevent at the time There is also underlying truths that are relevant today. this is why Flannery O connor is one of the greatest authors of all time.


    What other book might you compare Everything That Rises Must Converge to and why?

    It is a collection of Flannery O connor stories there is no comparison


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    To be honest I did not like any of the characters. That is what is so great about the story telling. If we're honest though we di not like these people we all can relate some how.


    If you could take any character from Everything That Rises Must Converge out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Like I said I did't like any of these characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Is it just me or do they all die in the end.Which I guess is also timeless and universal, no one makes it out alive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. D. Portnoy Sarasota, FL USA 12-19-12
    J. D. Portnoy Sarasota, FL USA 12-19-12 Member Since 2012

    Bookman Old Style

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    "Brilliant Writing"

    Flannnery O'Connor is probably the best writer the South has ever produced. In this collection she draws unforgettable characters, with her masterful use of language and an ingenious ear for dialogue. The performances are wonderful, some of the best I've heard. This is not just entertainment, although it certainly entertains, but literature. Very much worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R.J. BALTIMORE, MD, United States 12-18-12
    R.J. BALTIMORE, MD, United States 12-18-12
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    "Must Have!"
    What made the experience of listening to Everything That Rises Must Converge the most enjoyable?

    Listening to a Flannery O'Connor story is as enjoyable as reading one.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Mother. She was strong-willed in her determination, even if her view of society was wrong and outdated.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the mother had her stroke, totally unpredictable and shocking.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Brooklyn, NY, USA 12-18-12
    Edward Brooklyn, NY, USA 12-18-12 Member Since 2009

    I write on economics, history and politics. I read/listen to feed my pen. I enjoy great narration more than music,, movies or tv.

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    "Are these all the same story?"
    What did you love best about Everything That Rises Must Converge?

    Everyone's right. Oconnor is a great writer. She peers into the details of her characters with such detail and plausiblity you can't stay uninvolved. And her use of language is great.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It's an anthology and I don't remember the titles. There was a story that takes place in a doctor's office and it was an amazing contrast of characters.


    Any additional comments?

    She falls back on killing those characters with traditional values, be they flawed values or not. You know who's getting snuffed by the end of the first paragraph.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily WICHITA FALLS, TX, United States 12-08-12
    Emily WICHITA FALLS, TX, United States 12-08-12 Member Since 2006
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    "So very dark...."
    Would you listen to Everything That Rises Must Converge again? Why?

    Yes, the stories are strong, and the performances are excellent.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Everything That Rises Must Converge?

    A couple of the stories have eerie, disconcerting climaxes, but to describe them would be telling.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite story was "The Enduring Chill," which features a few very funny scenes in which the tortured writer struggles with the fact that he is likely uncreative.


    Who was the most memorable character of Everything That Rises Must Converge and why?

    Mrs. Turpin of "Revelation." Here's a woman who thinks she knows herself body and soul. but she's terrifyingly wrong.


    Any additional comments?

    This story collection is very dark. People hope greatly, and fail terribly. There aren't any winners, only tension, and confrontations where everyone loses. There is a theme of bone-deep misunderstanding, of people across generation and color not being able to see each other clearly. I would recommend perhaps breaking it up if you're of a more optimistic persuasion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Winnipeg 12-19-12
    Roger Winnipeg 12-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Country Karma"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Something upbeat


    Would you recommend Everything That Rises Must Converge to your friends? Why or why not?

    I might recommend it to friends with strong emotional filters.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Narrators were all good. Portrayals of disparate characters was handled adroitly.


    What character would you cut from Everything That Rises Must Converge?

    Cannot say, as this was a series of stories, not a novel.


    Any additional comments?

    All stories dealt with failure, typically caused by personal or social flaws of the central characters. All were dark, some extremely dark. It takes a bit of adaptation for the listener to pick up the nuances of southern US culture from early in the last century, but the author does not rely on the simple stereotypes current readers might accept more easily.

    That being said, the stories were all thoroughly developed, characters well fleshed-out, action appropriate. The stories are well written, and beautiful in a technical sense, but not a source of pleasure.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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