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Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  14,771 Ratings  ·  848 Reviews
Librarian's Note: For an alternate hardcover edition of the same ISBN, click here.

This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O'Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment.

The title story is a tragicomedy about social pride, r
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Paperback, 269 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1965)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Jul 20, 2011 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Sometimes Flannery O'Connor feels like a verbally abusive boyfriend that you just keep going back to. You sigh a bit deeper at the end of each tale, feeling a little more defeated by the uglier sides of existence, the weaknesses of human beings, and the general cruelty masked within the humdrum buzzing of life. Her view is grim, you never hope for a Hollywood ending, you sense it building page by page, the inevitable dagger to the gut that will be dealt by the final paragraph, and then that last ...more
Greg
Mar 23, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it
and she observed that the more education they got, the less they could do.

A descriptive title of Flannery O'Connor's short story collection could be, This Aint Gonna End Well.

This collection is like a crescendo of awfulness, brutality and despair. Physically it's sort of akin to getting kicked in the stomach, and then when your down getting stomped on the back, then for the next story getting kicked in the face, and then getting a nice solid shot to the liver when you try to stand up again, and
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Ellen
Nov 09, 2009 Ellen rated it it was amazing
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Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog

There is no doubt. I am a Flannery O’ Connor junkie. I can’t think of anything she’s written I haven’t loved. Even her letters and essays ring true. She is, to some degree, a product of her environment, and her use of certain words can grate on our 21st-century ears, but a toned-down O’Connor would not be O’Connor. Everything That Rises Must Converge may be her best collection of short stories, including, among others, the title s
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Cindy Rollins
Feb 16, 2016 Cindy Rollins rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, 2016
I have tried and tried to read Flannery O'Connor because people I trusted said I should but the darkness always got to me.
"They" said her books were about redemption but I couldn't see it.
Then I read her letters-A Habit of Being-and fell in love with Flannery. I began to trust her. I decided to try her stories again.
They were still painfully dark but I got the 'redemption.'
Flannery understood people and she was unwilling to let any of us off the hook. At first it seems she is only exposing u
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Mala

4.5 stars.

When the mother in the title story asserts to her son Julian: "I know who I am," she is mainly referring to her social & cultural identity, identities that divide us from human beings who happen to be on the other side of race, class, religion, gender, because if you really knew who you are; that self-realization itself would open the doors of perception, kindness, empathy—leading to a state of grace.
Grace that is the linchpin of Flannery O'Connors' writing & it comes in unexpe
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Lou
Well I tell you one thing she can write. This woman was of exceptional cleverness and writes of characters of her era and ones that live around us now. She rights of the human condition and the darkness of the heart. These story have humour thrown in she tries to give us a view of how we behave and how insanely stupid and careless we can be. How love blinds and evil destroys, how good can only prosper.
She writes of parenthood, guilt, obsession, control freaks, the sick, the despondent, vengeance
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Tom Mathews
I read/listened to A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories and Everything That Rises Must Converge back-to-back and have to say that I found the tone of this book a bit softer than A Good Man. While both books share a dearth of characters vying for sainthood, this last volume written before her death at least seems to offer some hope for humanity. Still O'Connor’s prose offers us an insight into the human condition that is unparalleled in American literature. As Thomas Merton said after her ...more
Stephen M
Prose style: 2
Plot: 3
Depth of characters: 3
Overall sense of aesthetic: 2
Originality: 3
Entertaining: 1
Emotional Reaction: 2
Intellectual Stimulation: 4
Social Relevance: 4
Writerly Inspiration: 1

Average = 2.5
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There were some stories that I thought were very strong, the first two especially. On their own, those were hands down five stars. 'The Comforts of Home' and 'The Lame Shall Enter First' I also thought worked very well. But my grippes all come from her writing style. She has a ver
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Tom Tabasco
Nov 27, 2015 Tom Tabasco rated it did not like it
One of the worst books I've ever read in my life.

O'Connor was a good writer, maybe, from a technical perspective. But boy, there is something seriously off about these stories. And I wonder why no one seems to point this out, and everyone keeps on calling this author a "genius".

So, what's wrong with these stories?

Let's start with the fact that they are sermons, parables: O'Connor has no interest in telling you a story for the sake of narration. She is out to PREACH from her typewriter. Her re
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Genia Lukin
Jun 28, 2012 Genia Lukin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other
These stories are amazingly grim. Practically every single one manages to end with the death of someone or another, usually in the grisliest and most horrifying manner possible.

Aside from a tendency to never leave her characters alive, O'Connor also takes a look at hypocrisy, and she does it again, and again, and again. It's actually a quite terrifying look, all the more so because you keep feeling 'I know this person... wait, I've been this person'.

Which one of us hasn't felt the urge to be ch
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Sketchbook
Jun 17, 2015 Sketchbook rated it liked it
The author has been called "a genius" for her woebegone tales of southern white trash, hence many readers humbly accept this hyperbole and are in agreement. It's an understandable aberration. Her stories or parables are too similar for my taste buds and, for best effect, should be read months apart. I read in a compressed "sit" and wanted to gore certain critics, like Alfred Kazin, just as Mrs May is off'd in "Greenleaf." (Foreshadowed early in the story; same with the gun in "The Comforts of Ho ...more
Alex
This lovely collection of sentimental stories is just the thing for a rainy Sunday when you want to curl up on the couch and read your blues away. Just try to read the title story, in which a beloved mother learns she has something surprising in common with a woman of color, without feeling your spirits rise! Or "A View of the Woods," a beautiful pastoral where an old man takes his favorite granddaughter out for ice cream and they both learn about the importance of family. This must have been wh ...more
Alan
Jun 28, 2010 Alan rated it really liked it
(this review kind of takes in 'A Good Man is Hard to Find' as well)

...been wallowing in Flannery O'Connor's world for a few days now, and in some ways that has worked against the effectiveness of these great stories. Because it's a library book that's got to go back I was reading two or three stories a day and I think I will buy the collected stories and read them slowly, probably over a year or more and far apart again to fully savour O'Connordom. Complete mad worlds tilted with subtle heirarch
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Zanna
Jan 14, 2015 Zanna rated it liked it
O'Connor's visual descriptions make me think of paint, of the keen eye of the artist and the bold translation of light into silver and black, fierce depths of shadow into purple, arterial red, pine green. They are also very dynamic, full of verbs, motions, relations. Even a still image glares back at the looker provocatively, demanding some response. The writing also has fine clarity and precision, great intensity and force. She drives her subtle points home with hammers, a full and devastating ...more
Cindy
My interest in this book was doubly piqued; it's on the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die list and (more intriguingly to me) was featured in the season 5 finale of Lost. Why was Jacob so obviously engrossed in this book of mid-20th century short stories?

Each story in the collection is a deceptively simple observation of everyday events, objects and people either set in or relating to the American South. There is a series of events that greatly impacts the characters in the stories - frequently w
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Dominic
Apr 10, 2010 Dominic rated it it was amazing
Gruesome, dark, wickedly funny, yet particularly spiritual, these short stories stand as some of the best of the genre. The characters here are across the board pretty revolting and rarely evoke pity (O'Connor despised pity), yet they are wonderful examinations of the ridiculously painful and the painfully ridiculous facts of human existence. These stories are fascinating case studies, and some of them are just perfectly written down to the last word.

The showpiece here is "Greenleaf" (if you rea
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Ana Lúcia
Sep 10, 2014 Ana Lúcia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Os nove contos que completam este livro, são brutais, violentos, crus e estão escritos de forma sublime.
Linda
It's hard to describe how disturbing, macabre and gothic-seeming these stories are. There are no happy characters, no pleasant endings, only sadness, tragedy, bad behavior and disillusionment. They will be hard to forget, and I'm anxiously awaiting my book club discussion about them. Glad to finally be able to say I've read some of Flannery O'Connor's works; better late than never. I would love hearing where her inspirations for these stories came from.
Darwin8u
Oct 22, 2012 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Nice Catholic ladies aren't supposed to demolish you like this. O'Connor was born to be a literary knife fighter. Page after page, with zero sentimentality, O'Connor rips the grotesque out of her characters and with a bareknuckle, Christian realism absolutely dares you to turn the page. Hers is a painful grace, a search for the holy in the swamps of the Southern absurd. The brilliant thing about O'Connor is by telling her stories of divine grace among the heretics and the horrors, the reader mig ...more
Sarah
May 14, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
This is my first full collection by O'Connor; I'd previously read individual stories, mostly from A Good Man Is Hard to Find. I read it last week while in South Africa, which added a layer of meaning to the early stories in the book, which delve further into race relations than any other stories of hers that I've read.
I found it interesting that most of O'Connor's protagonists are male. A number of them are dependent on others, adults living at home with their parents or grown children, echoing
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Jean
May 14, 2015 Jean rated it it was ok
Although the language was apropos for the times when this was written, the words still sting. Even after all these years, I couldn't finish this book of short stories. I'm usually thick skinned and realistic when it comes to reading but not even these many years later can some words be over looked.

I know that the stories delve into one's psyche and go much deeper than I am willing to go at the moment. I have nothing against O'Connor's writing, it is masterful. This one is just not good for "Me"
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Alvin
Jun 16, 2016 Alvin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's no doubt O'Connor is fun to read. Her violent, sad, and perverse stories about racist, God-fearing Southern hicks seem almost to occur on a mythic plane, like the sort of creepy old folktales that haunt your mind for way too long after you hear them. And yet, much of this collection is shot through with a barely concealed moralism that renders her plots contrived and her characters two-dimensional. Making all the atheist and non-believing characters evil, or at least unsympathetic, struc ...more
Charles Wilson
May 09, 2007 Charles Wilson rated it it was amazing
"Behind the newspaper Julian was withdrawing into the inner compartment of his mind where he spent most of his time. This was a kind of mental bubble in which he established himself when he could not bear to be a part of what was going on around him. From it he could see out and judge but in it he was safe from any kind of penetration from without."

Many of the stories deal with issues of race in a post-Civil War South that was changing, particularly the title story and "Judgement Day."
Amy
Jun 14, 2007 Amy rated it it was amazing
One of the best lines of dialogue in the English language: "I wouldn't milk a cow to save your soul from hell." Her characters are larger-than-life bastards and I love them all.
S Suzanne
Oct 08, 2012 S Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature, classics
I forgot if I had read this - but it came tumbling back, unforgettable. FOC homes in to the central unacceptable shadows and drags everything into the blazing light of God's gaze.

Harsh truths about the denial of our darker nature. I wonder about the repetitive deathly comeuppances in this book, but each story is still remarkable. I am not sure if I agree that they would be better experienced apart from one another, or if the relentlessness of them together is a meaningful thing.

As one reviewer n
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David
Nov 02, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection is fantastic. I love so many of these stories, these tales of generational disconnect, how dim hostility lies underneath, not-quite-hidden below many parent-child interactions, especially after the child enters adulthood. (I don't know if Flannery lived with her parents in her adulthood, or if her children did in theirs. I imagine that if so, it was not a happy time.) And the horrible situations people will blindly stroll into just to prove "I'm right. You're wrong. I will make y ...more
Cait Poytress
Reading this for the second time! March, 2011
So. I'm done - still love it, still one of my favorites. But I noticed this time around that reading these stories actually made me feel cheerful. WTF does that say about my state of mind right now???


*Read Aug. 6, 2009*
I've never been a big fan of short stories. Maybe it's just that I hadn't read Flannery O'Connor. Thanks to Lost, that's no longer the case. I freaking loved this book! Every single story was engrossing and I could not put it down. As I
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Jocelyn
Jun 25, 2007 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing
With her previous collection of short stories, A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor announced herself as a promising and unique literary talent. That collection, while containing some truly powerful moments, was also uneven, as if the writer were still struggling to find her voice. In Everything That Rises Must Converge, O'Connor shows her growth as a writer and delivers a more focused, taut and compelling product. Though she still struggled with consistency -- the stories at the end of ...more
Mag
Feb 15, 2015 Mag rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
My first Flannery O'Connor, and now I know where Olive Kitteridge comes from. There is something in the style and her character portrayal that I can trace right back to these O'Connor characters.
It's a collection of stories Flannery O'Connor was working on when she died. They are all exceptionally good and deal with the South, race and morality. They are occupied by the bygone world of people, stragglers who haven’t noticed that the world had moved forward and left them behind. It's as if they c
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Nate D
Aug 25, 2010 Nate D rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Misanthropes
Recommended to Nate D by: Jessica H.
Here is O'Connor's best: pitch-black, scathingly perceptive, vicious. Many of these deal with the problems of a flacid intellectualism unable or unwilling to accomplish any good and consumed by its own narcissism. The others deal with various sociopaths, zealots, and uncomprehending racists. Nothing can end well for any of them. And then, shortly after filing a last story called "Judgement Day", Flannery O'Connor died.

Read as part of the Complete Stories.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • A Night at the Movies, Or, You Must Remember This: Fictions
  • The Survivors of the Chancellor (Extraordinary Voyages, #13)
  • The Criminal
  • Lancelot
  • Collected Stories
  • Five Great Novels (The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Martian Time-Slip, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ubik, A Scanner Darkly)
  • Caravan of Dreams
  • Go Down, Moses
  • Bad Twin
  • The Collected Stories
  • The Stone Leopard
  • Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories
  • Like Life
  • Night Soul and Other Stories
  • Stories
  • I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts
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Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. When she died at the age of thirty-nine, America lost one of its most gifted writers at the height of her powers. O’Connor wrote two novels, Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960), and two story collections, A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1964). Her Complete Stories, published posth ...more
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“He loved her because it was his nature to do so, but there were times when he could not endure her love for him. There were times when it became nothing but pure idiot mystery...” 185 likes
“She had observed that the more education they got, the less they could do. Their father had gone to a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade and he could do anything.” 54 likes
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