Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wise Blood: A Novel” as Want to Read:
Wise Blood: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wise Blood: A Novel

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  15,995 ratings  ·  1,277 reviews
Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor’s astonishing and haunting first novel, is a classic of twentieth-century literature. Focused on the story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his innate, desperate fate, this tale of redemption, retribution, false prophets, blindness, blindings, and wisdoms gives us one of the most riveting characters ...more
ebook, 248 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1952)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wise Blood, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Alex Stone Blood is a recurring theme. Not blood, like actual blood, but rather the concept of blood representing both ties to one's family and blood as…moreBlood is a recurring theme. Not blood, like actual blood, but rather the concept of blood representing both ties to one's family and blood as intuition. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Hey, kids! It's time for a game of Choose Your Own Adventure: Southern Gothic Literary Analysis Edition. Please select from the following options:

1. You are a Christian bordering on Calvinist who wants metaphorical reassurance that you are a part of the spiritual elect, and you want a real martyr of a sinner to guide you through the steps to grace: Hazel Motes returns from the war to find that he has no one, nothing, and nowhere to turn. In defiance, he rejects the lord (human nature, a necessar
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 02, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Southern Literary Trail
Shelves: southern

After reading just a few pages of this book I kept thinking to myself Hazel Motes is doomed.


First of all he is the lead character in a Flannery O'Connor novel. The only thing that could be worst is if he were the lead character in a Jim Thompson novel. The poor bastard hasn't got a chance. For one thing he's got the wrong look to him. "His black hat sat on his head with a careful, placed expression on his face had a fragile look as if it might have been broken and stuck together again, or lik
Jul 02, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: heathens
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: The Man Himself
I have to say, there’s nothing more attractive than a man in a sharp suit.

Hello lovely:


However, Hazel Motes, I think you should fire your tailor. (Maybe you should take some of that money you keep throwing in the trash and buy a new suit. Just sayin’).


All joking aside, I’d like to take a moment to thank Ms. O’Connor for restoring my faith in female authors. Such a shame she died so young; one can only wonder what stories she left untold.

Wise Blood tells the tale of young Hazel Motes, who returns
mark monday
UPDATED REVIEW... of the film!

John Huston's 1979 adaptation of O'Connor's cult novel was one of my favorite films growing up, which is probably more evidence of why I should not be wandering around in public. I just re-watched it this afternoon and am happy to report that the magic is mainly still there.

so demented Hazel Motes returns from the army, still haunted by memories of his demented preacher father. he moves to Taulkinham, where a demented young man named Enoch begins following him aroun
A story of dark and strange staggering beauty.

Joy and pain, suffering and redemption.
It's has dark cynical humour with characters of outrageous quality.
There is plenty of work behind the structure of the story.
She has included many issues around her during her time and locality, they are of beauty, child neglect and abuse, racism and police brutality.
Watch out for these things as you read this along as you might not pick up what she trying to convey.
His large hat and clothing seem to give everyo
Eddie Watkins
I suppose Flannery O'Connor must be considered a Christian writer, as she was a Catholic and Christian themes permeate her books, but her imagination was on fire and she knew how to get those flames into her words and that's really all that matters.

Wise Blood is like an upside-down inside-out book about salvation, where professed atheism is faith, blindness is seeing, and rottenness is goodness, and it's all spiced up with tersely vivid bizarre characterizations and situations in an enveloping
Lookeere, thisere story iz bout some right weirdazz folks, I declare. Thing of it is, I don't rightly know whether Ms. O'Connor weren't off her nut when she wrote hit down. I don't see how yon Enoch's gadabouts had anything ter do with anything, in the grand scheme er things. He was a right comical bastard, I declare that. He wuz also few bricks shy of a load, if any you friends been in the contracting or house-building bidness, you might catch my drift. Lookeere, too: that feller that come long ...more
Wise Blood: Flannery O'Connor's tale of the rejection of grace

"God's free initiative demands man's free response"--Catechism of the Catholic Church 2002

If Hazel Motes ever read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he read no more of it than the Bible he carried like a rock in the bottom of his duffel bag. Flannery O'Connor never tells us what turned Hazel into such a stubborn son of a buck. It didn't appear he would turn out that way. The grandson of a Presbyterian minister, Hazel had determine
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The characters here are those which at any time--past, present or future--could easily be considered as those at the outmost fringes of humanity. The grotesque, broken and irremediably flawed outcasts of society yet, like you and I, have their own, unique struggles with their faith.

But this is no Bible story. And the thing to marvel at here is that this was published when Flannery O'Connor was only 27 years old and after having labored with it for about five years. A fruit of stunning insights,
Molly Moran
Huh. I don't know what to say about this book at all. I tried reading some of the reviews to see if they helped clarify anything for me, but nobody said much of anything. Lots of people gave it 4 or 5 stars but then just said that it was weird and anti-religion. That doesn't inherently make something good. I'm still unsure what the point of this book was: what's the critique, what's driving it, what, if anything, am I to take away from it?

I've not read O'Connor before, and I don't think I'll be
This is the first time I've read Flannery O'Connor and I enjoyed the book and plan to read an anthology of her short stories soon. The best description for this book is that it's Southern Gothic with a decidely dark streak of humor running through it. The characters are misfits and losers and, more often than not, are described in a way that makes them appear freakish and grotesque. Take, for example, the description of the prostitute that the main character, Hazel Motes, visits:

"She was a big w
Could we have a separate rating system please? One that is not concerned with whether we like a book or not? I was going to give this one five stars 'It was amazing' but amazing is not quite the word. Appalling. Perturbing. Perplexing, yes, but not amazing in the positive sense. And now I decide to give it only one star, to say no, I did not like this reading experience. I recognize that O'Connor is not writing to please, she makes no concessions to tired readers who want an uplifting story at t ...more

Trágico. Cómico. Negro. Flannery nunca desilude.
Dusty Myers
I like Flannery O'Connor, but I don't love her. This is a problem, I know, because if one reads half as obsessively as I do the words of other writers about how goes about writing fiction, one comes across Flannery's name and maxims at just about every turn. She is, without question, a genius, goes the belief. And maybe she is. She knows her way around a simile: "The little boys' faces were like pans set on either side to catch the grins that overflowed from her." She's also great at understated ...more
I'm glad I picked up Wise Blood relatively soon after perusing A Good Man is Hard to Find , because this novel clarified some things in my mind about Flannery O'Connor's theology. I'm now certain that I disagree with just about every aspect of her worldview, to the point where I am actually repulsed by her assumptions and arguments. But I also find her thought processes fascinating, and her writing tight and, often, darkly funny. Moreover, it's probably a good exercise, every so often, to stret ...more
Joe Valdez
Why couldn't Flannery O'Connor's 1949 debut novel Wise Blood been required reading in high school? I might not have read it, preferring Stephen King or Robert R. McCammon, tales of ghosts or monsters. O'Connor's Southern Gothic is populated by characters haunted by a universal truth inside them, an answer to it all, that for lack of experience, or maybe intelligence, they can't articulate. Haunted is what I was by the end of the novel.

Hazel Motes, native of Eastrod, Tennessee, is introduced aboa
My first feature-lengthed O'Connor, Wise Blood brought to mind an old friend, Sherwood Anderson, and his Book of Groteques as seen in Winesburg, Ohio. Trouble is, I kind of felt sorry for a lot of the grotesques in the Anderson. I can't say the same for O'Connor's motley crew, and trust me when I say this lot puts the "motley" in crew.

Hazel Motes is a guy, for starters, who is 22 and about as likable as a serpent that weighs heavily on its scales. He founds some Church of Christ Without Christ
Luís Miguel
Flannery O'Connor é lida, maioritariamente, por homens. Não sei até que ponto esta informação interessa, mas tem sido uma leitura recorrente este ano. Vivendo no bible-belt dos EUA, a religião e os princípios cristãos são sempre tema essencial na sua escrita, aqui concretamente sobre a liberdade de escolha no culto. Há um dogma para cada um, sem que os princípios sejam muito diferentes, mudando o nome ou os objectos de culto.

Lembro-me de Robert Mitchum em "The Night Of The Hunter" quando lhe pe
"This shiffer-robe belongs to Hazel Motes. Do not steal it or you will be hunted down and killed."
"I preach the Church without Christ"..."where the lame don't walk, the blind don't see and what's dead stays that way."

So proclaims Hazel Motes, one of the most unforthcoming, perplexing characters in fiction: obsessed, driven, inscrutable; never to be deviated from his path, whatever it is. He's the last of his family line, a line going nowhere, and neither is he. He's the uncompromising protagonist of this great Flannery O'Connor dark comic novel, populated by eccentrics just as obsessed and s
In my humble and arguably cynical opinion, The two best novels about the American religious experience are Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis and Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood. Lewis' book is a satiric look at the merging of fundamental Christianity and Capitalism. It's meaning is pretty straight forward. Wise Blood is quite a bit more devious and is a deeper, more individualistic look at the complex working of its character's spiritual conflicts. Its main protagonist Hazel Motes looks like a preac ...more
For a novel written by a devout Catholic, that is basically a straight-forward allegory about faith, the overall message is somewhat ambiguous. Of course, any novel that is written by someone of a particular religious persuasion is bound to suffer from a subsequent hermeneutical conflict. Is Hazel Moates a religious martyr, one who's initial anti-religious, nihilism eventually transforms into painful redemption? Or is he just a foolish zealot; someone who passes on every worldly opportunity for ...more
Alan Chen
This is my first O'Connor. I've heard so many good things about her which made this novel even more disappoiting. I'm not sure if it's a satire/commentary on atheism or about the irony of life but whatever it is, instead of being comic, it's mocking and mean spirited. Hazel Motes comes out of the army and finds that his home is gone and heads to the nearest city in Tennessee. He's had a crummy life up til then, both of his brothers are died early in life, his dad died in his youth and the strict ...more
Mini spoilers would include; ape suit weirdo, mummified child that some take for a baby while others see it as Jesus, two self inflicted "blindings" that involve a bucket of lime (one pseudo one that takes), running from the Lord despite being seen as His man, copycat anti preachers in it for the money, rejected love, a cop that instead of telling the riff raft to leave town won't let said character escape.

The point is it's a satirical wild ride through O'Conner's idea of how to expose her thou
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2015 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christians, atheists, psychic rubber-neckers
Bleak. Disturbing. Grotesque. Heavy-handed. And a really good read in a demented but worthwhile way. O'Connor is certainly positing a point of view about false prophets and the weakness of the flesh, but somehow she does it without making me further resent the pope.

Post-war Tennessee is the backdrop for this passion play of a boy grown to manhood, having spent his whole life fleeing Jesus by fleeing sin. And now, returned from WWII, damaged physically, mentally, and especially spiritually, he is
Aric Cushing
Everything in this book is about the subtext. The characters are mostly unlikeable, some of them annoying (on purpose), and the end is a bleak depiction of the forces guiding our lives. If you're prone to depression, don't read this book. But if you want to probe the erratic human will, coupled with its actions, (and the book offers no answers to this question), at least you will go away wondering about your own.
Paul Bryant
Oct 19, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my fellow weirdos
Shelves: novels
This is a very bonkers companion piece to Harry Crews' The Gospel Singer. (Boy, those folks who live in those states like Alabama and Georgia and Mississippi must get a little tired of everyone thinking they're freaks.) Anyways, this is one of the few times the movie is as good as the book - John Huston, that surprising man, directed it, and it was Brad Dourif's finest hour.
João Carlos
A escritora Flannery OConnor (1925 – 1964) é unanimemente reconhecida como um dos expoentes máximos da literatura norte-americana do século XX, particularmente aclamada pela genialidade dos seus trinta e dois contos, coligidos em dois volumes: “Um Bom Homem É Difícil de Encontrar” e “ Tudo o Que Sobe Deve Convergir”, que combinam o cómico, o violento, o trágico e o brutal.
“Sangue Sábio” e o “Céu É dos Violentos” são os seus dois únicos romances publicados e que se inserem na tradição Gótica Suli
Like some of Faulkner and Capote, Flannery O'Connor writes in a literary style that's called Southern Gothic. You can read Wise Blood several ways for different things. It's a bleak, irreverent, bizarre, violent, funny, and dark sort of book that also considers the big themes in life, religion, and philosophy. Much of it, I believe, was written with O'Connor's tongue firmly planted in her cheek. Hazel Motes is a 22-year-old war vet who returns to Tenneessee to resolve some "issues", and he's cer ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2015 Reading Chal...: Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor 1 10 Jul 11, 2015 10:14PM  
Reading Warriors: darkness is all around 1 8 Mar 16, 2014 10:45PM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: December {2012} Discussion -- WISE BLOOD by Flannery O'Connor 16 261 Mar 03, 2013 07:05AM  
Haze's death 16 117 Dec 07, 2012 11:57PM  
On the Southern L...: The Grotesque in "Wise Blood" 9 57 Oct 09, 2012 11:17AM  
On the Southern L...: Wise Blood - First Impressions (mark your spoilers) 47 55 Sep 15, 2012 09:45PM  
  • One Lonely Night
  • The Last Gentleman
  • A Feast of Snakes
  • The Bottle Factory Outing
  • Norwood
  • The Cannibal
  • A Curtain of Green and Other Stories
  • Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South
  • The Black Sheep
  • Reflections in a Golden Eye
  • Provinces of Night
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor
  • Suttree
  • Doting
  • Fear
  • Flags in the Dust
  • Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust
Mary Flannery O’Connor was an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist. O’Connor’s writing often reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.

Her The Complete Stories received the 1972 National Book Award for Fiction. In a 2009 online poll conducted by the National Book Foundation, the collection was named the best work to have won the
More about Flannery O'Connor...
The Complete Stories A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories The Violent Bear it Away Collected Works: Wise Blood / A Good Man is Hard to Find / The Violent Bear it Away / Everything that Rises Must Converge / Essays and Letters

Share This Book

“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it” 281 likes
“In yourself right now is all the place you've got.” 176 likes
More quotes…