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A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  23,571 ratings  ·  1,260 reviews
"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is Flannery O'Connor's most famous and most discussed story. O'Connor herself singled it out by making it the title piece of her first collection and the story she most often chose for readings or talks to students. It is an unforgettable tale, both riveting and comic, of the confrontation of a family with violence and sudden death. More than a ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published October 15th 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1953)
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Collections of Short Stories
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This stuff is twisted, sparse, clipped, dark, doomy, funny, dramatic, Southern, angry, sexy, super Catholic, death-haunted, maniacial, bizarre, possibly racist, apparently desperate, fatalistic, existential, dreary, ugly, fetid, frenzied, morbid, lax, stern, prepossessing, unforgiving, unrelenting, anti-everything, aged, "retro", haunting, parabolic, anecdotal, moral, redemptive, sublime, reasoned, feverish, dreamlike, unsparing, sparse, I said that one already, seductive, craftsmanlike, worried ...more
Riku Sayuj

Exiled From Eden

I don’t always have the aptitude and the patience (paradoxically) for short fiction, but O’Connor has a way of connecting all her stories by setting them in a landscape that refuses to leave you. The stories and the unease stay with you as you finish each grotesque piece, building up layer upon layer of despair until you thirst for an almost religious release from it all.

Peopled with the religious, the good and the moral -- trying to come to terms with a god-less world, grappli
Dan Schwent
A Good Man is Hard to Find: A family strikes out on a road trip to Florida, knowing that an escaped convict is on the loose...

What a kick ass tale to open the collection. Flannery O'Connor had to be an influence of sorts on Jim Thompson, as this reads a lot like a condensed version of one of his stories. "She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

The River: An odd little boy is taken to a river to be Baptised by a fire and brimstone pre
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I have been stewing on this book all was 1)terrific in every and 2)completely rotten in every way and 3)scary, scary, terrifying scary without trying too hard to be. O'Connor has said that she searches in the darkest, most hopeless little worlds for "god's grace" (or more specifically, "god's presence", be it dark or light). Seeing as I have no fear of the wrath of an angry god, why did this book affect me so deeply, leaving me with a stunned expression staring at a blank wall for sev ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Horrible horrible horrible, particularly the first two. Trust me, I'm not saying this just for effect. They take 'dark' to a whole new level - like staring down into a bottomless pit. Yet absolutely brilliant, more of a review later (maybe) once I've recuperated.

I am developing quite an addiction for the Southern flavor of American literature, and reading my first short story collection by Flannery O'Connor is more than just adding fuel to the flame of my interest. She is surpassing all my expectations and constantly going beyond the surface of things to touch on personal trauma that is often as unavoidable, tragic and soul reaving as a Greek tragedy. I am not sure if I should use the term 'gothic' for her stories. Yes, her subjects are usually deformed
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 31, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Modern Fiction)
So far, the best short story collection that I've read. Flannery O'Connor's prose can make you sing. However, the songs are predominantly dark, tragic and sad. The most appropriate image that I can think of is that scene in The Wizard of Oz when the tornado is ravaging the Kansas farm of Dorothy's parents and then picture her singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while the bicycle-riding wicked witch is smiling at her.

Quite an appropriate picture because Flannery O'Connor was born in Georgia and
Jul 25, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jason and naysayers like Jason
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: Flannery told me in a dream

A review in song form (thank you Sufjan):


The short story is quickly becoming my favorite fiction genre (unlike Jason here who “just [doesn’t] have time for [them] anymore"). Well, I hope everyone makes the time to read this collection, because every bit of it is outstanding. While her first shot at writing a novel was a bit sloppy, you’ll find that with short stories she is a master of her craft.

The title story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” is not a
Anthony Vacca
In his novel Feast Day of Fools, James Lee Burke taught me about a wonderful medieval festival called, you guessed it, the Feast of Fools. The idea is simple: during whichever day local churches decide to hold this holiday, all social roles and obligations are inverted. The peasant is essentially given carte blanche to openly mock his superiors, to blaspheme the church, to shamelessly imbibe spirits without restraint, to monger among the whores, to covet whatever thy neighbor’s got, and to other ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Catie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery's parents, indirectly.
I enjoy all kinds of writing. I like the simple, breezy writing that’s entertaining and takes very little effort to understand. I like the dense, loaded writing that takes weeks of thought and discussion to fully unpack. The remarkable thing about the writing of Flannery O’Connor is that it somehow seems to encompass that entire spectrum.

Her writing is without a doubt easy to digest, but I would never in a million years call it simple. Reading her prose feels less like reading and more like hav
First things first, O’Connor did exactly what she intended to do here. It’s not a failure by any stretch (if, at times, close-cropped and uneven). Whatever she’s doing, cruel and unusual, she’s good at it. But dear God, it just happens to be the exact kind of thing that revolts something deep down in my gut. I’m usually all on board with the creepy, crazy, what-have-you, but the difference here is that nobody is even alive before they’re dead.

“Bleak,” “oppressive,” “macabre,” all of that applie
Rochelle Torke
Oh good lord. Someone said she made the south seem even creepier than it already was and i agree with a shudder. And my experience is that you can never really shake off these stories. She can create a character in five words that you will recognize instantly way, way down in your cerebellum--or maybe somewhere in your gut--and it will live there inside you forever. I think she is the unmatched master of the short story form. And don't get me wrong, you will laugh at times while reading. But the ...more
Vacillated between three and four stars -- almost rounded up for a few reasons but decided to go with my gut and rate it as I'd read it. It's clearly a canonical foundational model for the conventional, centrist, conservative short-story form. But still I heard echoes of Saunders and DFW, not to mention so much solid BASS-grade short fiction, but that's also the issue I think I had with it: for the most part I was over-aware these were stories, always aware of their form, their steadiness, sugge ...more
This is an extremely well-written cache of disturbing short stories. Although I’m not quite sure I read them the same way O’Connor intended. I say that because I come from a different time and a different place. I’m not the devout Catholic that O’Connor obviously was. Consequently, I’m not sure I completely grasped the full light of God’s grace. I tended to read these stories with a skeptical eye. They unsettled me, the religious aspect never giving me peace.

O’Connor likes to zero in on people’
To all the reviewers saying that this is twisted, dark, fatalistic, cruel, heartbreaking etc... Look at this Flannery O'Connor picture:

Do you really think such cute little smile can possibly write such thing? :)

This was the first book I've read from her and I'll definitely be reading more in the future. I actually found her writing very inspiring and loved how she's telling you a very different story within a story. My favourite one is "Good Country People", that's the story that made want to fi
One would say, Flannery is a nice Southern lady who wrote this little book with this cute name: 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find'. She was probably a lonely spinster, spent her life reading romances, swinging on her porch, drinking lemonade and making up lovely stories. A-a.

Big mistake from the beginning: I still have not read a book where USA South hasn't been portrayed as the devil's pit in a human form. She is sensational. I’ve never read a book like this. Her stories are completely dark and cree
Tânia F
Quando comecei a ler o livro apercebi-me de que se tratava de um livro de contos. Dez no total. O primeiro conto é o que dá título ao livro – um bom homem é difícil de encontrar – e que à medida que ia dizendo a algumas pessoas o que estava a ler, inevitavelmente as pessoas achavam o título muito sugestivo, talvez antevendo a história de um desgosto amoroso ou de encontros amorosos com trastes de 3ª categoria e o conto não é sobre nada disso, é muito mais original, à semelhança dos outros nove c ...more
This book haunts me. Her images and characters are so vivid, that I can recall them six years later as if I read this book yesterday says something of the power of masterfully crafted language.

Flannery O'Connor was devout Catholic, which made her a bit of an ousider in the Evangelical Protestant South. If I had to summarize her worldview is that she believes in God, but not so much in people.

Feb 15, 2011 Joseph rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of the written word
The last book I read was also a collection of short stories, but that is where the comparison stops. Each and every one of the stories in A Good Man is Hard to Find is a gem, masterfully polished and displayed by Ms. O'Connor.

This is, I think, the third or fourth time I've read through this book, and I still can't decide what she thinks of the human experiment. On the one hand, she paints her characters with such exquisite detail, putting forth their quirks and foibles in such a way that you can
Oct 04, 2012 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Mike by: O.B. Emerson, Professor Emeritus, English Department, University of Alabama
My literary group, On the Southern Literary Trail, is discussing this story by story. My review will follow our completed group discussion.

In brief, Flannery O'Connor still amazes me after having read many of these stories multiple times.
Strange stories...Who is a victim and who is guilty, it's hard to make judgments in every story. Victims are guilty in some way and vice versa. In this book, a good man is hard to find, really.
There is something magical and impossible about O'Conner's short stories. They pulse, plunge and roll like one giant allegorical ocean. At one level her writing is beautiful and charged with a cold and lonely realism, but she pounds again and again with the brutality of her words until she absolutly devours and transforms whole continents of readers. One cannot read these stories and not be pulled away by the current of her imagination transfixed, transformed and thinkin' kinda funny.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I don't aspire to write fiction. Knowing one's limitations is a gift. But oh, if I could only write short stories like Flannery. She shows you scenes so real it feels like voyeurism, and some so unsettling that you'll be glad it's fiction. These characters do not work and play well with others!

The longest story, "The Displaced Person," is a masterpiece about hypocrisy and prejudice. The imagery is perfect. In fact, the imagery in all of her stories is amazing.
Justin Evans
What to say? I doubt anyone's going to knock this one off its "modern classic" perch, so there isn't much point defending it. O'Connor's the master of the ambiguous, laugh out loud statement in the midst of the utterly bleak; and the master of good people thinking that bad people are good and bad people thinking that good people are bad. And everyone cops it in the end. That said, reading it cover to cover doesn't do much to improve my opinion of her prose. Not that it's 'bad,' but I'm concerned ...more
There is no writer like Flannery O'Connor. Her stories meander through mundane situations usually with characters who are not necessarily on the safe side of normal. It is only after you finish that you feel that discomforting feeling that you just read something that is overpowering your senses. In other words, Flannery O'Connor sneaks up on you. "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is easily the most known , and most powerful , of her stories. Yet all nine of these short stories are little saboteurs i ...more
Karolyn Sherwood
Book reviews are nebulous. Some reviewers base their assessment solely on literary merit; others, like myself, lean toward a more personal account. The way I see it, if you're looking for an objective opinion about Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard To Find you can find that on Amazon or Wikipedia. If you're reading my review, you must want MY opinion about this book. If I were being objective about this short story collection, I would give it Five Stars. The writings is superb, the stories ...more
How do I explain my awe in the face of O'Connor's fiction when my literary worldview is so of a mind with Jamie's, as highlighted in her conflicted review? I would hate for it to be something as reductive as how bizarre O'Connor's writing is on a surface level (in tone, primarily), but that's certainly part of it. Another is my secular upbringing by an avowed atheist pa and a non-practicing Christian ma continuing to inform my intense fascination with how religion shapes and scars the pre-adoles ...more
A Good Man is Hard to Find was nothing that I expected. I somehow skipped over the words “apocalyptic,” “Grotesque” and “Misfit” in the cover blurb and expected a collection of clever, well-written love stories. Instead, O’Connor served up story after story of lowlifes, neglected children, psychopaths and losers. I loved it!
Flannery O’Connor is further proof that America in the 1950s was not all bright colors, mothers in pearls, and sunshine. This intelligent writer was casting her eye on the pe
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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 Wise Blood 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

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“She would've been a good woman," said The Misfit, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” 251 likes
“All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal.” 81 likes
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