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Topic: Flannery O'Connor

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Subject: Flannery O'Connor
Date Posted: 12/12/2008 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 115
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In Sara Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance, she wrote some about what an extraordinary person Flannery O'Connor was and told some about her philosophy of living.  That got me interested in her, and I had heard her name elsewhere as a classic southern writer.  So, as a lover of southern fiction, I was pleased to pick up a book of 3 of her novellas described as humorous,   3 by Flannery O'Connor that has "Wise Blood", "The Violent Bear It Away" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find".  Whoa!  I got through "Wise Blood" and started "The Violent..." and they are so very dark and strange, and have a lot of emphasis on strange religious sects and off-shoots.  Yes, they are amazing well written, but I found them depressing and hard to reading...not hard as in difficult to understand but hard emotionally.  I'm sure she captures a certain time and place well, but it isn't anything I want to read.  I set it aside for now, but I would be interested in discussing her with other people who have read her work.  Also, I wondered if all her work is similar or if there are other works that are more "pleasant" reading. 

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,400
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I really like her short stories.  A small dose of her is enough.  Her novels/novellas were too much for me.  But one short story between other books is tasty.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I love O'Connor.

Though, I can't say any of her stories could really be classified as feel-good reading.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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We studied her writing in a literary studies class in college, and it really made a difference in seeing all the symbolism she uses in her writing.  She's really amazing!

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 115
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I think you are correct, to really appreciate her work, it would be helpful to have an expert walk you through some of the layers of symbolism.  I think I'll take Emily's advice and try some small doses of short stories. 

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,400
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I think of her books a lot like how I think of Jane Austen.  Slowly taste.  Enjoy the images and language.  Not a book for when I am rushed.  And my copy has writing all over the margins.