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The very first paper I wrote in college was on the story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I do remember that I attributed the story to Eudora Welty throughout the paper, earning the wrath of my professor! Thankfully, I was able to laugh it off and he forgave me.

This time around, I know that the title story of this collection is most definitely Flannery O’Connor. There is no one who writes quite like her. The combination of her wry, matter-of-fact humor, extremely flawed and mostly unlikeable characters, and Southern darkness make her work uniquely identifiable. Most of what I’ve read about O’Connor says that these stories are about redemption and grace. I don’t know much about  these topics, I guess, because to me everyone gets a strange comeuppance that seems, for the most part, cruel.

There are ten stories here which are all enjoyable (this seems the wrong word to use) but my favorites are ‘A Temple of the Holy Ghost’, ‘Good Country People’, ‘A Stroke of Good Fortune’ and ‘A Circle in the Fire’. Each of these stories features narrow minded, prejudiced, scared people who are humbled by the end of the story with great characterization, fantastic dialogue and unexpected plot turns.

My first effort to read more American women authors has been successful. I have plans to read the rest of Flannery O’ Connor’s stories this summer and am also reading her collected letters. She was a very funny, intelligent and talented woman who, unfortunately, died so young.

Have you read Flannery O’Connor?

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

 

10 Comments

  1. I love Flannery O’Connor! Her novel Wise Blood is especially good.

  2. I think Flannery O’Connor is my all-time favorite short story writer, mostly because of this collection. I read it for the first time in college in a religion class. She does some interesting things with Christian imagery, being a Roman Catholic who lived in a more Protestant culture. She mixes and matches the ideas in interesting ways.

    • I did notice a lot of the imagery, but I think some of it went over my head. I find her faith to be a most fascinating aspect of her writing, the fact that she addresses it and even relies on it to craft her stories.

  3. I love Flannery O’Connor. Her stories are spiky in a way that I absolutely love, even though I am not usually a short stories fan and not usually a fan of hateful protagonists (which a lot of hers are). She just manages to make me laugh even when she’s telling the grimmest of stories.

    • Oh, yes, there is so much humor in her stories and you laugh amidst horror! Her hateful characters intrigue me because they just persist in their meanness when it isn’t doing them any good.

  4. I just love O’Connor. I was introduced to her work when I was in school, and I fell in love immediately. I love her damaged characters and quick twists. I’ve always loved teaching, “Good Country People” for the reaction my students have. Great stuff!

    • ‘Good Country People’ is just perfect. I can imagine it wouldn’t get old teaching it year after year! Poor Hulga!

  5. I haven’t yet read O’Connor. Although I read a lot of American women writers I haven’t read many from the South (apart from Eudora Welty). Thanks for this recommendation.

    • I think she is a splendid writer. Her stories are completely unforgettable and I’m looking forward to reading more – they are truly Southern. I hope you’ll give her a try!

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