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Three by Flannery O'Connor

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  1,461 ratings  ·  74 reviews
The quintessential Southern writer, O'Connor wrote fiercely comic, powerful fiction. This anthology includes the masterpieces Wise Blood, The Violent Bear it Away, and Everything that Rises Must Converge.
Paperback, 460 pages
Published September 1st 1964 by Signet Classics (first published 1962)
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Betsy Robinson
I've had this Signet paperback (pub. 1964) on my bookshelf for decades. I'd read parts of it many years ago, and, in a minute, I'll get to why I recently decided to read the whole book.

The anthology is in three parts: a novel (Wise Blood), a collection of short stories and a novella ("A Good Man Is Hard to Find"), and another novel (The Violent Bear It Away). Since I couldn't remember what I'd previously read, I went from back to front in the hope of sampling the new material first.

Part 3. I wa
I really enjoyed these short stories by O'Connor. She really knew how to tell a story, to develop character, and to prove a point in a short amount of time. Her writing draws me in and is oddly suspenseful. I loved reading this part of the book. The novels are good, but I gave the book 4 stars for the third part of the collection. As much as I love O'Connor, reading her in short story form is all I can handle. Her novels are so intense and heady in a way that the stories avoid being since they'r ...more
Flannery O'Connor is a diminutive, sprite-like woman who writes some of the most powerful fiction (of its type) that I have ever read.

If you like Faulkner, you will most likely enjoy O'Connor's work as well. It is a kind of theater of the macabre, southern, holy, and surreal all at once. The characters arrive in the story as if in a fever dream, emerging from some faint mist that she has shrouded them in so that they may pop out at just the right moment; they take on their lives fully-formed, po
Seriously -- wow! O'Connor is fabulous. I've read her short stories before, you know since high school and through college and all of that, and they were good then, too. This time, though, reading for pleasure for the third or fourth time, I was amazed. Such well-written stories and short novels, beautiful, funny, sinister, always with some surprising twist. Even when I know what'll happen it's surprising. An author I love more and will have to return to again and again.
Chris Gager
Started last night a bit. I haven't read that much by FOC but what I did read was cherce! I assume this will be awesome...

I'm still reading the none-too-interesting introduction which goes in and on. Plus... I've been shoveling like a machine the past few days. Getting worn out by evening time and having a hard time focusing on the writing! More snow due tonight and tomorrow!

Well... I skipped through that pesky, boring intro and got right to the story(Wise Blood) reminds me of "The Artificial Ni
Feb 19, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Southern lit fans (duh)
Three stars for Flannery O'Connor? I wouldn't usually do that, but the stories in this book were inconsistent. All of the short stories in "All That Rises Must Converge" were pretty good. "Wise Blood" was awesome. This was actually the second time I've read "Wise Blood" and I love it. "The Violent Bear it Away," however, left me disappointed. I was really, really into the story up until the last couple of chapters, and then, suddenly, the entire thing turned completely predictable, I knew exactl ...more
As much as I appreciate Flannery O'Connor's stories for their literary merit, I cannot like them. She creates the most depressing worlds with the most unlikeable, frustrating characters. Her obvious dislike of pride or smugness leads to their inevitable demise, in the best of grotesque ways (that's right, I'm talkig about you "Greenleaf"). I think my professor said it best when she asked us, "Why is it worse to wear a gorilla suit than to run over a man in your car?" ("Wise Blood" not so wise :) ...more
Richard Epstein
I suppose it's no longer possible to quote the most famous line from "Wise Blood" here in public. Certain forms of reticence are easy to understand and sympathize with, but not altogether positive in their effects. "Jesus is a trick on n-words" doesn't quite cut it. I suppose we could propose replacing "kyke" with "the k-word" in Gatsby, but that sounds like a tired dodge to avoid dealing with the issue. You can't take the word out of Hazel Mott's mouth any more than you can out of Huck Finn's. ...more
Why Do The Heathen Rage? By Flannery O’Connor

“Tilman had had his stroke in the state capital…”
Wow! Action and tragedy from the very start.
To laugh at it…it is a very short story…only some 20 (?) pages long, so we need to get going to finish early.
Like the other Flannery O’Connor stories, this one is an example of superb writing, creative descriptions of people, nature, the weather and situations. It has a powerful message, shocking statements and moral conclusions
Come to think of it, this is Per
Flannery O'Conner is a well-recognized name in American literature and I really don't like her work.

She is not alone in that- there are several authors whose work is regarded as literature but I have no idea why. (Others are great and I totally see why- To Kill a Mockingbird springs to mind.)

Supposedly Flannery captures the humor and drama of the South, but if so, I should stay out of the South. I found here characters either grotesque, hypocritical, cruel, selfish or violent- to say nothing of
I read two of the novels in this compilation; The Violent Bear it Away and Wise Blood. Confusing, sinister and riveting, O'Connor's writing is surreal, with complex story lines where you have to re-read certain passages to determine whether the action is a dream or is actual. Characters are genuine and strange; her writing is superb.
Larry Bassett
Jun 03, 2012 Larry Bassett marked it as temporarily-set-aside  ·  review of another edition
I am sorry but the infusion of religion into all of Flannery O'Connor's writing is more than I can manage at this point in my secular humanist life. Her humor does reach me at times but not enough to keep me going.
A style of writing--no, of literature all her own. This set of three of her stories is a good introduction to her world.
I had read all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories and found them insightful and entertaining. Now, in addition to some short stories, I was also able to read her novels The Violent Bear it Away and Wise Blood. Certainly, these stories are not for the faint of heart or the overly sensitive. The language is harsh, the moral evil blatant, and the story-line gruesome at times. But the moral and theological lessons are equally clear and penetrate the reader's soul. And there's a wry humor that perv ...more
I haven't actually read all of her short stories here but in my Modern Literature class, we had her works as our basis of our study. As our discussion progresses, the more I appreciate her works for she have a different style from others. It is not just an ordinary literary piece but she put details as something just to say something but it is so rich that there are many reasons behind the details she presented such as colors, characters, nature and others. There is always something new to disco ...more
Mar 26, 2009 Collin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Collin by: Jude, indirectly
Wise Blood: you don't get any sense of what happened to the main character during the war to turn him so strongly against religion, but that's my only real complaint. His Church Without Christ is intriguing, especially considering that he isn't willing himself to push it to the logical conclusion. It's interesting/funny, the way he interacts with the other dude and the preacher and the preacher's daughter (although I wish you had a better sense from the beginning of how old she is because when t ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Julia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of literature
Recommended to Julia by: college professor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan Cook
Wise Blood: One of only two entries that I am aware of in the genre of darkly comic, grotesque Christian novels, and the superior one, as far as I'm concerned (the other being the still-interesting Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West).

O'Connor doesn't really tip her hat as to which side she comes down on in the actual text (though she was outspoken in defense of faith elsewhere) and the book can easily be read as vindicating either Hazel's skepticism or his faith, though it takes a cynical read
Favorite quotes:
“His grandfather had been a circuit preacher, a waspish old man who had ridden over three counties with Jeasus hidden in his head like a stinger” WB9

“…the old man’s words had been dropping one by one into him and now, silent, hidden in his bloodstream, were moving secretly toward some goal of their own” VBA 159

“He proceeded about the Lord’s business like an experiences crook” VBA 160

“The schoolteacher spoke slowly, picking his words as if he were looking for the steadiest stones
Faulkner and other Southern Gothic writers--yes. Brutal, sharp, sinister, even depressing writing--yes. Unlikeable characters--not a problem. O'Connor? Fraid not. I'm from well above the Mason-Dixon (and now far west of it) where it isn't so rare to find versions of her characters in poor, rural, conservative areas, so I can't buy that her heavy-handedness is simply some Southern thing that she's getting across.

While her writing technically is good and she's had a great influence on the America
Bill FromPA
O’Connor says that Hazel Motes is a Christian malgre lui, but he seems to me more of an instinctual Existentialist who has no set of references for philosophical concepts beyond those of the fundamentalist Christianity in which he was raised and which surrounds him in the South of the mid 20th century.
Finished A Good Man is Hard to Find December 19, 2014
The alias of the escaped convict in the title story, The Misfit, could be applied to one or more of the characters in each story in this collect
U. Teresa
Southern Gothic at its best. You would be hard pressed to find someone who can write the southern pathology as well as O'Connor.
I know, I know...Flannery O'Connor is supposed to be the undisputed (or seldom disputed) queen of the short story, but until I picked this up at the library I don't think I had ever read anything of hers. So how was I to know her stories would be so...brutal? I made it through one (featuring the murders of an entire family, including the grandmother, who was narrating the story), started another, then brought it back to the library and picked up something cheerier. Maybe I wouldn't mind reading ...more
MY EYES ARE BURNED CLEAN. Also, the South is creepy.
Oct 04, 2011 Roxanne marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
10/4/11: I carted this book around for years and just never gotten around to reading it. So far I've read the introduction, The Violent Bear It Away, and a few of the short stories, but it's just so damn depressing that I don't feel up to spending what reading time I have right now on stories that make me want to kill myself, no matter how brilliantly they're written (and they are written brilliantly, of course, it's O'Connor). I'm not saying that I'm definitely giving up on reading this, but I' ...more
I only read Wise Blood at this time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. A darkly comic book, there's enough repetitiveness of theme in this novel to take and run wild with: religion, sac-religion, bestiality and use of color. This whole book is a vivid, disturbing portrait of many, many things, enough to keep one busy for quite some time. Before Wise Blood the only other work by O'Connor I had read was "A Good Man is Hard to Find," which anyone who has ever taken a 20th century American Literature cla ...more
Just read Wise Blood for the first time. I've always loved Flannery's short stories and novellas, and despite Eric Peter's song I never have gotten around to reading this novel until now. Oh, my. Gruesome, bare-faced sin and a picture of Grace with a capital G. Characters that simultaneously repulse and delight with their turns of phrase, brought to life by O'Connor's vivid metaphors and allusions, and her Christ-haunted narrative. I need Wise Blood in hardback. Don't be like me -- read this soo ...more
Love her or hate her, O'Connor's stories stay with you. I personally thought The Violent Bear It Away was a better story than Wise Blood.
Rebecca Saxon
So after seeing a character on Lost reading this book, I declared that I wanted to read this. And then a month of so later I was searching for something and discovered that I own this book and then remembered I’d read it for my American Lit class!! But since I remembered nothing about it, I reread it. Definitely a bleak view on life and people. I’m not sure I share it and I definitely couldn’t read something like this all the time but still well done literature.
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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 A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories Wise Blood Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories The Violent Bear it Away

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Wise Blood has reached the age of ten and is still alive. My critical powers are just sufficient to determine this, and I am gratified to be able to say it. The book was written with zest and, if possible, it should be read that way. It is a comic novel about a Christian malgré lui, and as such, very serious, for all comic novels that are any good must be about matters of life and death. Wise Blood was written by an author congenitally innocent of theory, but one with certain preoccupations. That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for some readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence. For them, Hazel Motes's integrity lies in his trying with such vigor to get rid of the ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind. For the author, Hazel's integrity lies in his not being able to do so. Does one's integrity ever lie in what he is not able to do? I think that usually it does, for free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man. Freedom cannot be conceived simply. It is a mystery and one which a novel, even a comic novel, can only be asked to deepen.

(Preface to second edition, 1962)”
“He saw that there was something alive in it, and went near enough to read a sign that said, TWO DEADLY ENEMIES. HAVE A LOOK FREE. There was a black bear about four feet long and very thin, resting on the floor of the cage; his back was spotted with bird lime that had been shot down on him by a small chicken hawk sitting on a perch in the upper part of the same apartment. Mose of the hawk's tail was gone; the bear only had one eye.” 3 likes
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