Greg Bascom's Reviews > Wise Blood

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
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's review
May 19, 2012

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Read in May, 2007

The story opens with Hazel Motes, recently discharged from the Army, on the train to the fictional town of Taulkinham, Tennessee, where he's "...going to do some things I never have done before." Haze is not from Taulkinham, apparently has never been there. "But you might as well go one place as another," he says to a talkative passenger, and then adds without provocation, "I reckon you think you been redeemed."

Haze has a problem with redemption. He is haunted by the "ragged figure" of Christ "who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind." On the street corners of Taulkinham, he preaches the Church of Christ without Christ, but attracts no followers other than Enoch Emery, an unlikely apostle and Onnie Jay Holy, a con man who usurps Haze's idea. Haze can't even convert himself. Instead, he relents to his compulsive interest in Asa Hawks, a competitive preacher who claims to have blinded himself, and Asa's fifteen year old daughter.

The author considers her work a comic novel about a person whose belief in Christ is a matter of life and death. I found it a dark story about confused characters from someone else's nightmare

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