A Terrible Blogger is Born!

March 12, 2009

O’Connor’s Back

Filed under: Literature — rmangum @ 11:11 pm
Tags: ,

I’m a huge Flannery O’Connor (see “Flannery, Fetterly, and the Flight from Marriage” under my pages to see my paper on her story “Parker’s Back”) fan, and I’m pleased to see that a new biography of her is out. I saw this at the bookstore recently and wanted to pick it up, but there are too many half-read books stacked next to my bed as it is. Oh, ars longa, vita brevis! What is it about her writing that it can so strongly attract someone with almost diametrically opposed views of the world (referring to my own inveterate skepticism and her orthodoxy)? In part it is simply the high quality of her writing. I agree with Allen Barra when he says, “A line from Flannery O’Connor is as singular and distinctive as anything written by Hemingway and invariably more humorous.” In part it is the uniqueness of her approach to her subject matter. Kafka once wrote, “One should only read books which bite and sting one. If the book we are reading does not wake us up with a blow to the head, what’s the point in reading? A book must be the axe which smashes the frozen sea within us.” No writer that I no of packs more bite and sting per page than Flannery O’Connor.

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