Melinda's Reviews > The Complete Stories

The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
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's review
Apr 15, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: american-lit, 2010
Read on March 01, 2010

I have just read "The Habit of Being", letters written by Flannery O'Connor (see my review at ), so I thought I would now read some of the short stories she talks about in her letters.

While I did not read all of the short stories in this book, I did read the majority of the ones Flannery talks at length about in her letters. "A Good Man is Hard to Find", "The River", "The Life You Save May Be Your Own", "The Artificial Nigger" (which Flannery thought was her best short story), "Everything that Rises Must Converge", etc.

I found that I disliked reading her short stories MUCH less than reading her novels, so I think getting to know Flannery as a person by reading her letters was a wise move for me. Perhaps I am ready to hit one of the novels again and see if I understand it better.

While the subject matter in the short stories can still be difficult for me to read, I have learned to look now for the "moment of grace" in each story. It is sometimes there where I can find it, and I can now see and appreciate what she is building the stories toward, instead of camping on my personal dislike of the subject.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Julie Davis I wound up stopping The Habit of Being simply due to the pressures of too many reviewing commitments but will definitely be getting back to it as I fell in love with Flannery. Our book club has been reading five of the stories mentioned in The Abbess of Andalusia, which is the spiritual biography of her that made me begin reading about her in the first place. To my surprise, I found that, although I do not always understand the real point of the story, I do see those moments of grace you mention. Even more interesting to me is that I actually like the people she portrays, even when they are unlikable. I think it is because they are so real. I have met people like them.

Melinda I hope you can pick up reading her letters again. I started reading "The Habit of Being" because it was on your goodreads reading list! So I hope you can make the cycle complete and finish them at some point.

Actually, some of the people in Flannery's stories frighten me. I have met people like them too, but she bares "who they are in reality" in very strong ways and it makes me a bit unsettled. And also, what she exposes in her portrayal of these people unsettles me because I see my own sinfulness reflected back as well. Not very comfortable, but certainly very much needed!

I will look now for "The Abbess of Andalusia" to read, it sounds interesting.

Julie Davis Yes, it is hard to hide our own faults when she has them staring us in the face like that. :-)

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