Apr 16, 10
Read in April, 2010
I enjoyed these stories but only found a couple of them compelling enough that I thought about them while I was not reading them. They are “The Partridge Festival” and “Parker's Back.” “Good Country People” is also interesting, but like I say, I wasn't dying to get back to the book and read it. In all fairness to Flannery, though, I tried to read each story in one sitting, so there may have been more than the above mentioned if I had not.
A classmate in my Gotham City Writers class called Flannery “dark.” I think that assessment may be right. It wasn't so dark I didn't like it. But as you will recall, I like a little darkness. I will say one thing. Flannery had a never-ending cast in these stories, each of them different from the others. Very creative. She also uses flashbacks frequently, which is interesting in that she uses them in so short a space. I think it works though.
Flannery has this habit of writing what I'll call “as if” statements: She took an apple quickly as if the basket might disappear if she didn't make haste (p 515). Parker lunged into the midst of them and like a whirlwind on a summer's day there began a fight that raged amid overturned tables... (527). He watched it as if he saw an invisible power working on the wood (538). Tanner had continued to look across the filed as if his spirit had been sucked out of him into the woods and nothing was left on the chair but a shell (540). “I don't preach!” the Negro cried and rushed past him as if a swarm of bees had suddenly come down on him out of nowhere (545). I've only cited lines from the end of the text because I realized I wanted to chronicle this characteristic but was already most of the way through the book. As you might imagine, most of her stories are peppered with this particular language.
I should note for you that the book uses the 'n' word, and that the attitude projected by the characters toward black people is less than complimentary.