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A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  28,148 Ratings  ·  1,511 Reviews
This now classic book revealed Flannery O'Connor as one of the most original and provocative writers to emerge from the South. Her apocalyptic vision of life is expressed through grotesque, often comic situations in which the principal character faces a problem of salvation: the grandmother, in the title story, confronting the murderous Misfit; a neglected four-year-old bo ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published October 15th 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1953)
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Katelynn 1. A Good Man Is Hard to Find
2. The River
3. The Life You Save May Be Your Own
4. A Stroke of Good Fortune
5. A Temple of the Holy Ghost
6. The Artificial…more
1. A Good Man Is Hard to Find
2. The River
3. The Life You Save May Be Your Own
4. A Stroke of Good Fortune
5. A Temple of the Holy Ghost
6. The Artificial N*****
7. A Circle in the Fire
8. A Late Encounter with the Enemy
9. Good Country People
10. The Displaced Person(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Jan 17, 2017 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exemplary short story collection and probably at the zenith in most "all-time" lists. All ten vignettes are blissfully cinematographic, spewing out image after retched image, illuminating lives filled with woe, woe, & more woe. In a place of stasis and violence.

The setting is that of the inglorious Southern U.S.--minus its usual sheen of glittering magnificence.

It is without a doubt a strong dose of American Gothic. The elements of which practically overflow in each short story: the immorta
Dan Schwent
May 11, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
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.
Diane S ☔
Mar 12, 2016 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
Such a fantastic way she has in drawing her stories. So vivid, varied characters, in all these stories regardless of the social strata of the people they are all searching for the same thing, grace. Knowing this author's background leads to a better understanding of her stories. Her long illness, she suffered with lupus, her Catholicism in the bible banging South and her people watching are all present in Jr stories. Yes, they are dark, her title story A good man is hard to find, left me reeling ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2014

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 really liked it  ·  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
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
Aug 29, 2011 Jamie rated it it was ok
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
Jul 25, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 19, 2013 Catie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Rochelle Torke
Oct 02, 2007 Rochelle Torke rated it it was amazing
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
Tom Mathews
The New York Times, in a review of O'Connor's stories, referred to her as an American Guy de Maupassant. This is an apt description. O'Connor's stories paint a dark yet spot-on picture of the human condition. She takes the quaint out of southern living and shines a spotlight on the ignorance and prejudice with a razor-sharp and truly wicked sense of humor. Reading her stories left me amazed by her literary ability yet also a bit nauseated. What depresses me the most is that current events seem t ...more
Aug 27, 2016 Willow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
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’
Apr 05, 2016 Connie rated it really liked it
This collection of ten short stories is very dark and gothic, often including grotesque characters with disabilities. Many of the stories show people looking for salvation and spirituality. Some characters have ideas about making changes in their lives, but fate or God provides a totally different outcome. O'Connor's strong religious background and years of dealing with illness (lupus) have influenced her writing. This talented author exhibits a dark sense of humor, and often ends her stories wi ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 21, 2015 Jana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Feb 27, 2013 Tânia F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2016 Orient rated it really liked it

What a sad, entertaining and gripping book. The title emphasizes the main theme of the book: A Good Man Is Hard To Find. The stories are chilling, they build slowly and clearly show that the easy misstep can turn to a disaster beyond all imagining. The strange thing is that the cruel life lessons are presented with a slight touch of black humor. Humor and tragedy mix to provide a sad but also entertaining (in some way) pack of stories. If you want and look for happy endings - this book is not th
Sep 10, 2007 Joan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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.

Jason M Alexander
Feb 14, 2013 Jason M Alexander rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Darkly beautiful Southern Gothic.

O'Connor writes stories that address humanity and all of it's weaknesses. While her stores can seem grotesquely disappointing and miserable, they really show what is so special about the human condition - the inherent flaws for which we are all prone to and for which we often love one another all the more. She has a way of making you pity the characters, loving them, and hating them all at the same time. I can not rave about her enough.

These short stories largel
Nov 08, 2012 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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.
Oct 06, 2016 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
These are some of the most dark and terrifying (horrifying) stories. I don't love short stories and I'm not drawn to Flannery O'Connor the way a lot of readers seem to be but I do appreciate her talent as a writer and I definitely want to read her two novels. I just didn't really enjoy these stories.
Feb 15, 2011 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Quentin Wallace
Mar 14, 2016 Quentin Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first full book by Flannery O'Connor, even though I'm a Savannah native. Overall I was surprised by the darkness of the stories. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't that. I enjoyed the stories although at points the racism was a little hard to handle. I still don't know if any of the racism was from O'Connor herself or she was just pointing it out in her characters as a sign of the times.

The writing itself was tremendous. O'Connor has a purpose for every word, and most
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.
Oct 04, 2012 Lawyer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Lawyer 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.
Hello, O'Connor.
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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
More about Flannery O'Connor...

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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.” 276 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.” 87 likes
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