Paquita Maria Sanchez's Reviews > Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor
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's review
Jul 20, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 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 hit comes at you almost like clockwork. All this, and yet you keep on with her. Why?

Reading O'Connors work is like spending too long in an overheated sweatlodge; all the ugliness comes out, perhaps too fast, your past comes to the surface like a strobe of imagery, the emotional and physical equivalent of a flashback or vivid hallucination, and it can make you feel pretty intensely panicked. Over the years, my take on this has become very similar to a phrase a friend used to repeatedly recite to me when I was feeling swallowed up by the knocks of daily life, and by the occasional yet much harder blows that seem to always come in clusters: "the deepest healing comes from the places that scare you." There's a rare and surprisingly invigorating clarity that comes along with that drowning feeling, one that is more worthwhile than protection from what frightens you...and Flannery's world is a frightening place. Do with that what you will, and make your choice whether or not you are willing to get emotionally smacked around a bit with words. Then again, I personally do suggest it.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Beautiful.
I wonder whether she makes you feel grateful for the different world you do have?

message 2: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly Haha! Loving it....personally suggesting an abusive boyfriend. :) great review

Paquita Maria Sanchez Yeah, they're the best! So much passion.

message 4: by mark (new)

mark monday this is such a vivid review. well done!

Paquita Maria Sanchez Thanks! I'm a sucker for that sinister schoolmarm, to be honest.

S Suzanne Love this review! Re-reading this book currently. I agree - there is just something about her that does drag you on back, time and again.

Rayroy I was lead to Flannery O'Connor though Barry Hannah the back of his new book that has airships and new stories in it well a collection of all of them I think in one book linked the two.

Sentimental Surrealist Her works are amazing in terms of characterization and provoking a response, but they're so grim that I have to take them slowly. Still, I have fives to Wise Blood and A Good Man is Hard to Find and am gearing up to do the same for this one, so hey.

Sentimental Surrealist Great review, by the way. The abusive boyfriend analogy is right on the money!

Grant Talabay I'm borrowing the first paragraph of your review. You've said it perfectly... Hope that's ok.

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