Saturday, June 13, 2015

Everything that Rises Must Converge, by Flannery O'Connor

I tried to read Flannery O'Connor about ten years ago (Wise Blood) and failed. I know the literati (English majors and such) love O'Connor, but I couldn't get into it. I did manage to finish Everything that Rises Must Converge--perhaps because it's a short story collection and didn't require the same degree of commitment. But what a collection of dismal and depressing stories populated by grotesque racist ne'er-do-well misanthropes, many of whom meet a violent death, few of whom experience any sort of redemption/growth. O'Connor certainly captures a certain Southern gothic flavor and is occasionally quite funny. But after the violent endings of the first two stories, I found it difficult to enjoy the humor.  Perhaps if I had majored in English . . . 

Favorite passages: 
. . . the more education they got, the less they could do. 

Thomas had inherited his father's reason without his ruthlessness and his mother's love of good without her tendency to pursue it. His plan for all practical action was to wait and see what developed.

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