A chronological collection of the works of this legendary author.
If you like Flannery O'Connor, you've got to have a collection of her short stories. This book has them all.
This collection of stories by Flannery O'Connor provides the reader with a good sense of O'Connor's development as a writer. The anthology is presented in chronological order. Those familiar with the author's novel "Wise Blood" will find the early versions of chapters from this novel, published as short stories.
The book begins with the short story "The Geranium", one of her earliest works, and ends with "The Judgement", a retelling of the story which reflects her fully developed literary style. In "The Geranium" the ending is subtle, reflective. In "The Judgement" it is shocking and violent, as we had by then come to expect from O'Connor.
Whether you love her or hate her, it is certain that Flannery O'Connor will leave you forever changed, viewing life's common events as scenes in a complex moral drama where people are never really what they seem to be on the surface. O'Connor had a genius for making the ordinary turn to extraordinary and shocking in an instant.
After reading The Complete Stories, I am now thoroughly convinced that Flannery O'Connor is indeed one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. I loved every single story I read mostly for the hypocrisy, ridiculousness, and self-delusion of the characters. It gives me a sort of guilty pleasure to hear the characters say something that we know is completely untrue.
O'Connor uses the impressive technique of what I like to call "distant narration": the narrator holds the characters at a distance through syntax, resulting in a schism between what the character knows and what the reader knows, and the reader ends up knowing more about the characters and their situations than the characters do themselves. It's because of this technique that I believe we are able to so easily read about such blatant situations of racial and class prejudice: we know the characters are insipid and thus don't take them and their backwards beliefs too seriously.