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.
“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)
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Nice Catholic ladies aren't supposed to demolish you like this. O'Connor was born to be a literary knife fighter. Page after page, with zero sentimentality, O'Connor rips the grotesque out of her characters and with a bareknuckle, Christian realism absolutely dares you to turn the page. Hers is a painful grace, a search for the holy in the swamps of the Southern absurd. The brilliant thing about O'Connor is by telling her stories of divine grace among the heretics and the horrors, the reader might easily miss the divine spark in the grotesque and absurd darkness.
I love Flannery O' Connor and I can't state this enough for all my reviews for the O' Connor audible collection. This was the first book (a collection of stories) that I read by her years ago - and I enjoyed revisiting these stories immensely. Some of the stories, upon hearing them, came flooding back to me. Some of them I did not remember as well. Stories that did not leave much of an impression on me before, left a huge impression on me this time around (esp. The Enduring Chill).
These stories are not for the faint of heart. These stories also have many levels of meaning - and I know that these are stories that I will get something different from each time I read or listen to them.
The narration of these stories, for the most part, is excellent. I fell in love with Bronson Pinchot's and Lorna Raver's voices. Listening to Karen White was like visiting an old friend as she is the narrator of The Little Friend, another book I enjoyed.
Question yourself no longer. This book is worth a credit.
Typical of O'Conner, these short stories are down to earth and not cheerful little things. As a matter of fact most of them are downright downers! But they hold your attention. I kept wanting to "rescue" the characters and fix things for them but O'Conner lets them walk unwaveringly to their dooms. These stories take place in the old south and there is plenty of bigotry and poverty. There are many social stratuses and these characters tend to be toward the bottom of the social ladder but always looking down on those below them and being so grateful they are better. It would be funny except that it is so true to life and so heartbreaking. I grew up in the deep South in the 40s and 50s and know that these characters ring true.
I liked some of the readers better than others but didn't find any were great.
From Austen to zombies!
Flannery O'Connor was what one of her own characters might call "an intellectual," yet due to her health (she suffered from lupus), she lived on a farm in the country with her mother. This collection is in my opinion her best, because the stories draw directly from that struggle while taking on dozens of other issues such as racial and social equality, gender equality, faith, and mother/child dynamics.
My favorite story here is "The Lame Shall Enter First," a sly, dry, and ultimately revealing view of what O'Connor believed Jesus had in mind for all His followers. The rest show the world from the perspective of the postwar American South: the old ways still fighting the new. As one character says early on, "...the bottom rail is on the top," and few seem happy about it.
The resulting gloom could have made these stories depressing, but they're much too funny for that. O'Connor's particular gift was dialogue, a lot of which is still laugh-out-loud hilarious, even when you've read every story multiple times before.
The narrators here do a fabulous job. Nobody overdoes it on the Southern accents, and the audio quality is great. Flannery O'Connor's work is a national treasure--every American book-lover should experience these stories, and this edition is the perfect way to go.
Each short story is memorable. I have read nothing like them before.
I did not like any of the characters but I was made to feel for them just the same. I suppose old Tanner in Judgement Day will be most memorable, or Mary Fortune in A View from the Woods.
I have tried to read O'Connor but just did not get it. These narrators brought the stories to life. Their interpretations are brilliant.
This is great writing but magnificent performances. I was never bored.
I enjoyed the characterizations. I have attempted to read Flannery O'Conner and I have to say it can be tough. However, when it is dramatized, I get a better understanding. I don't hear everything in my voice, but a multitude of characters. The stories are very dark and foreboding but will keep you listening until the end.
As stated earlier, the characterization make these stories so interesting. Each narrator placed their own spin on the characters and made them come to life. Without their characterization, reading independently would have been tough and I probably would not have finished it. As a matter of fact, I purchased the audio version of Wise Blood because I could not get through the novel.
My only word of caution is the
Business Physicist and Astronomer
This is another one that somehow escaped my reading drag net. Only slightly dated, the raw racism will both turn your stomach and illuminate your mind on the twisted of people you probably know.
The Lame Shall Enter First is as perfect today as it was when written --- 50 years ago.
Yes if the friend liked unhappy southern tales with a tragic twist.
Characterizations in each of the short stories.
Very well done.
The historian son who is full of himself but unable to deal with sexual issues.
The various narrators really enhanced the stories.
yes. i enjoyed most of the listens
maybe. if in converstion
two narrators kept the interest and two did not
yes. the stories were entertaining lessons. i felt bored by some
Absolutely. This is some of the most brilliantly cutting fiction that's ever been written.
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.
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.
Absolutely none of them. They are all dreadful!
Report Inappropriate Content