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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Story

Many stories same flavor

Seems a dark view of people, restated several ways. I think I got the idea after the first two or three.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narration is a problem, stories are great

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The stories read by Karen White are unbearable, and I skipped them. The other narrators are wonderful and make the stories come to life.

Any additional comments?

Wonderful book! Stories read by Karen White are difficult to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jami
  • VICTOR, NY, United States
  • 03-13-15

Decent Short Stories

I must be missing what everyone else sees in these stories. They are just ok for me; it's not the dark aspect of human nature that is bothering me, but rather, the characters all seem to me to be spineless whiners. Maybe its because I'm reading the entire collection of stories at once, but it seems redundant and tiresome to me. I liked four stories more than the others: Everything That Rises Must Converge, Greenleaf, The Lame Shall Enter First and Revelation. The narration was very good; I liked having four different narrators, which was a nice change of pace between stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Witness of it's time.

I didn't used to care for short stories, but books like these show me that I am missing out.

The arrogance of the characters can make your blood boil and at times it is uncomfortable to read. But it is supposed that way.

Not having grown up in the US and the separation, books such as these a witnesses of their time an invaluable and always a learning moment for me.

The only story that I didn't care too much about was the "Lame shall enter first".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • WASHINGTON, DC, United States
  • 11-02-14

Entertaining but very Southern

The stories making up this audiobook were addictive and a bit repulsive. Some stories are very generous in the use of the N-word, ans as an African-American it wore on me, even with understanding that it was used to reflect the time and the mindset of the people who inhabited the stories. It probably did not help to listen to the book in several long sittings and I should have listened in small bites to deal with the use (but not over use because it did serve a purpose) of that disgusting word.
But I couldn't help myself. Flannery O'Conner is a brilliant storyteller and the actors who told the stories, very, very good. One made me think it was a story being read by Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Copote. The rich characters just came alive and I just wanted more. The narrators were very good at taking on an accent or providing the tone needed for the story, the situation and the character. Not so much a dramatic reading but more of a one man or one woman show where they take on several characters in one scene.
I would like to hear more like this, minus the N-word.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I don't know what else I was expecting

Any additional comments?

After reading the glowing reviews on this site, I knew that I was going to be in for some harsh stories that didn't pull any punches and might come off as depressing. None of these qualities scare me away from any story--I enjoy dark fiction and cynicism. However, the portrayal of every character one might call "socially progressive" as either naive idealists that are only in it for the ego stroke or only using it to punish their conservative parents for imagined slights gets rather boring the longer the book goes on, and begins to suggest that these are the only archetypes in which "progressives" function. Just about every story deals with the topic of ungrateful, spoiled children, most of them adults, and I am often left wondering what the point of the story was--what lesson was I supposed to take away as the reader? I wonder if the fact that the book was written in the 60's makes the author's lessons, rooted in a mindset of a culture half a century in the past (and in the South, where I have never lived) inscrutable to a younger generation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Roger
  • Winnipeg
  • 12-19-12

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Y.
  • Madison, MS, United States
  • 10-29-14

Depressingly dark

Ok, I read the reviews on this before purchased and thought it would be a good listen. Nine short stories, well to say the least, I was utterly sadden by the bleakness of this book. It probably would have lifted my spirit if there were one story that the word nigger was not maligned excessively. I cannot in good conscience give this book a good rating, it was utterly depressing, insulting and degrading.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Nathan
  • Missoula, Montana, United States
  • 09-03-14

Great book. Bad narration.

Would you consider the audio edition of Everything That Rises Must Converge to be better than the print version?

The print version is better. The narration is really bad, especially when conveying dialogue. The male voice actors are annoying, even offensive when they attempt southern accents.

How could the performance have been better?

I think the voice actors are great when reading most things. Their attempts at conveying the dialect of these characters fell way short. My recommendation for a better performance would be to have someone with more compassion for Southern characters read O'Connor's work.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful