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The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O'Connor
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The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O'Connor

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  181 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Flannery O'Connor's fiction is a reminder that the rural South is as good a place as any for transcendence to break through and reveal itself to the human gaze.

The story of Flannery O'Connor's life is the story of her inner life more than her outer life. In a letter to a friend she wrote, "My audience are the people who think God is dead. At least these are the people I am
ebook, 208 pages
Published September 17th 2012 by Thomas Nelson (first published June 12th 2012)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
I do not know why this is called a "spiritual biography." A biography I imagine to be a story of one's life, from beginning to end, from infancy to maturity, old age and death. Flannery O'Connor, however, seemed to be as Catholic as she was born when she died not yet 40. There had been no ups and downs in it, or the swaying from belief to unbelief and back. No dark nights of the soul. Maybe calling this a "spiritual" biography was just an excuse for its brevity? So no one can criticize it as a h ...more
S Suzanne
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted a refresher about FOC after reading All the Rises Must converge after at least a decade, and reading The Violent Bear It Away for the first time.

She is an inspiring person for keeping her spirits and humor as sharp as she did through the ordeal of her last decade of life, ending before she hit 40. The book makes a point that the last thing she ever wanted was to self-dramatize over her illness(es). She always downplayed her fragile state/ or brushed the subject away with humor, and pray
I loved this and will read it again, but it took me a while to get into it. The first seven chapters read like a standard biography, not particularly insightful if you're already familiar with O'Connor's childhood and adolescence. The second half of the book is pure gold though, as Rogers delves into the spiritual nature of O'Connor's life as an author and the development of her prophetic voice through her work. He relies heavily on letters that were exchanged between O'Connor and several close ...more
Sally Ewan
Since the "Close Reads" podcast discussion was on O'Connor's book "Everything That Rises Must Converge", I read the stories aloud each week to my husband. After finishing the book, my second time through it, I wanted to better understand her intention, the way her work was viewed at the time it was written, and how she saw God. This short book was a great way to learn more. Rogers covers her entire life but focuses on her spirituality more than the practical facts of her life. Instead, he gives ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"And if Southern writers have a tendency to write about freaks, O'Connor remarked, 'it is because we are still able to recognize one'." - p. 21

This is a beautifully crafted book. It was the most perfect orientation to the heart and mind of Flannery O'Connor and it gave me the confidence to meet her writing with the right openness of mind. I have long cringed at the name Flannery O'Connor presuming her work to be macabre and something unholy. As a Catholic and lover of classics I always puzzled o
Becky Pliego
Now I really want to read The Habit of Being.

Two quotes:

"For O'Connor, the real horror was never violence or deformity, but damnation. Horror that awakens a soul to its own danger and prepares it to receive grace is no horror, but a mercy." (J. Rogers)

"I distrust pious phrases, particularly when they issue from my mouth." (Flannery O'Connor)
Adam Shields
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: This is a good short introductory biography of O'Connor. I have previously read an edited edition of her grad school journal (A Prayer Journal) and one of her collections of short stories (A Good Man is Hard to Find). But I knew little about her and after reading the short stories thought I needed to know more before reading more by her.

My plan is to read A Subversive Gospel: Flannery O’Connor and the Reimagining of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth and then the Image Journal edition of
Diana Nelson
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very thorough biography (including much of O'Connor's own epistolary writing) of Flannery O'Connor's life as an author. For those who struggle to understand the faith that his hidden in her works, this biography will help you uncover it in a general sense.

I think I'm fond of O'Connor because (in addition to her writing skill) she is a black sheep. She shuns popularity and is never afraid to be herself. She's also super sarcastic and witty. I wish we could have been friends.
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though I thought I was familiar with Flannery O'Connor (having read almost all of her short stories & novels), this biography opened in me a new appreciation for her faithfulness and her wit. Rogers is a superb storyteller and his prose shines here, intermingling with deft quotes from O'Connor's letters and writings to give us an honest portrait of one of the South's most misunderstood writers. Highly recommended, even if you aren't familiar with her works. After reading this, you will certa ...more
Interesting to read about Flannery O'Connor's life, I just didn't think this biography was particularly well-written. But now I need to read some of O'Connor's actual stories- I read a collection of her short stories in high school or college but I think I'd get a lot more out of them now.
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Jonathan Rogers grew up in Georgia, where he spent many happy hours in the swamps and riverbottoms on which the wild places of The Wilderking are based. He received his undergraduate degree from Furman University in South Carolina and holds a Ph.D. in seventeenth-century English literature from Vanderbilt University. The Bark of the Bog Owl has already found a receptive audience among Jonathan’s o ...more
More about Jonathan Rogers...