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A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  35,600 ratings  ·  1,968 reviews
This now classic book revealed Flannery O'Connor as one of the most original and provocative writers to emerge from the South. Her apocalyptic vision of life is expressed through grotesque, often comic situations in which the principal character faces a problem of salvation: the grandmother, in the title story, confronting the murderous Misfit; a neglected four-year-old bo ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published October 15th 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published August 1949)
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Katelynn 1. A Good Man Is Hard to Find
2. The River
3. The Life You Save May Be Your Own
4. A Stroke of Good Fortune
5. A Temple of the Holy Ghost
6. The Artificial…more
1. A Good Man Is Hard to Find
2. The River
3. The Life You Save May Be Your Own
4. A Stroke of Good Fortune
5. A Temple of the Holy Ghost
6. The Artificial N*****
7. A Circle in the Fire
8. A Late Encounter with the Enemy
9. Good Country People
10. The Displaced Person(less)

Community Reviews

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4.23  · 
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 ·  35,600 ratings  ·  1,968 reviews


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Fabian
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An exemplary short story collection & very likely at the zenith in most "all-time" lists. All 10 vignettes are blissfully cinematographic, spewing out image after retched image, illuminating lives filled with woe, woe, & more woe. In a place of stasis & violence.

The setting is that of the inglorious Southern U.S.--minus its usual sheen of glittery magnificence.

It is without a doubt a strong dose of American Gothic. The elements of which practically overflow in each short story: the
...more
Matt
This stuff is twisted, sparse, clipped, dark, doomy, funny, dramatic, Southern, angry, sexy, super Catholic, death-haunted, maniacial, bizarre, possibly racist, apparently desperate, fatalistic, existential, dreary, ugly, fetid, frenzied, morbid, lax, stern, prepossessing, unforgiving, unrelenting, anti-everything, aged, "retro", haunting, parabolic, anecdotal, moral, redemptive, sublime, reasoned, feverish, dreamlike, unsparing, sparse, I said that one already, seductive, craftsmanlike, worried ...more
Riku Sayuj

Exiled From Eden

I don’t always have the aptitude and the patience (paradoxically) for short fiction, but O’Connor has a way of connecting all her stories by setting them in a landscape that refuses to leave you. The stories and the unease stay with you as you finish each grotesque piece, building up layer upon layer of despair until you thirst for an almost religious release from it all.

Peopled with the religious, the good and the moral -- trying to come to terms with a god-less world, grappli
...more
Zoeytron
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
Flannery O'Connor taps into a different type of dark with this collection of ten short stories.  This is not horror, but it is disturbing.  Nothing uplifting in here, no sirree-bob.  

Hidden deformities, unwelcome visitors who refuse to leave, a woman's aversion to doctors, and a door-to-door Bible salesman who is a collector of some very odd things.  Many of the characters are slightly "off", just as many have a mean streak.  Eyes play a prominent role, a cast in the eye, a cracked eye, the eyes
...more
Michael
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, 2018
My review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, also can be found on my blog.

Coated with cynicism, the stories of A Good Man is Hard to Find question the possibility of redemption in a society nearly rotten. Almost all the stories grotesque and make strange Biblical narratives, from the drowning of demonic pigs to angels in the wilderness. O’Connor’s stark descriptions of the South are breathtaking, and her ability to create sympathetic but unlikable characters is impressive. The most memora
...more
Dan Schwent
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Good Man is Hard to Find: A family strikes out on a road trip to Florida, knowing that an escaped convict is on the loose...

What a kick ass tale to open the collection. Flannery O'Connor had to be an influence of sorts on Jim Thompson, as this reads a lot like a condensed version of one of his stories. "She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

The River: An odd little boy is taken to a river to be Baptised by a fire and brimstone pre
...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I have been stewing on this book all night...it was 1)terrific in every and 2)completely rotten in every way and 3)scary, scary, terrifying scary without trying too hard to be. O'Connor has said that she searches in the darkest, most hopeless little worlds for "god's grace" (or more specifically, "god's presence", be it dark or light). Seeing as I have no fear of the wrath of an angry god, why did this book affect me so deeply, leaving me with a stunned expression staring at a blank wall for sev ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Horrible horrible horrible, particularly the first two. Trust me, I'm not saying this just for effect. They take 'dark' to a whole new level - like staring down into a bottomless pit. Yet absolutely brilliant, more of a review later (maybe) once I've recuperated.
Algernon (Darth Anyan)

I am developing quite an addiction for the Southern flavor of American literature, and reading my first short story collection by Flannery O'Connor is more than just adding fuel to the flame of my interest. She is surpassing all my expectations and constantly going beyond the surface of things to touch on personal trauma that is often as unavoidable, tragic and soul reaving as a Greek tragedy. I am not sure if I should use the term 'gothic' for her stories. Yes, her subjects are usually deformed
...more
Paul Bryant
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Joyce Carol Oates says (in a review in the New York Times)

no postwar and posthumous literary reputation of the twentieth century, with the notable exception of Sylvia Plath, has grown more rapidly and dramatically than that of Flannery O’Connor, whose work has acquired a canonical status since her death in 1964.

And she compares Flannery’s rep with that of Carson McCullers and Truman Capote who, sez Joyce, have gone down.

Which surprised me. I mean, no one could dispute The Heart is a Lonely Hunte
...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such a fantastic way she has in drawing her stories. So vivid, varied characters, in all these stories regardless of the social strata of the people they are all searching for the same thing, grace. Knowing this author's background leads to a better understanding of her stories. Her long illness, she suffered with lupus, her Catholicism in the bible banging South and her people watching are all present in Jr stories. Yes, they are dark, her title story A good man is hard to find, left me reeling ...more
Jamie
First things first, O’Connor did exactly what she intended to do here. It’s not a failure by any stretch (if, at times, close-cropped and uneven). Whatever she’s doing, cruel and unusual, she’s good at it. But dear God, it just happens to be the exact kind of thing that revolts something deep down in my gut. I’m usually all on board with the creepy, crazy, what-have-you, but the difference here is that nobody is even alive before they’re dead.

“Bleak,” “oppressive,” “macabre,” all of that applie
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Modern Fiction)
So far, the best short story collection that I've read. Flannery O'Connor's prose can make you sing. However, the songs are predominantly dark, tragic and sad. The most appropriate image that I can think of is that scene in The Wizard of Oz when the tornado is ravaging the Kansas farm of Dorothy's parents and then picture her singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while the bicycle-riding wicked witch is smiling at her.

Quite an appropriate picture because Flannery O'Connor was born in Georgia and
...more
Anthony Vacca
In his novel Feast Day of Fools, James Lee Burke taught me about a wonderful medieval festival called, you guessed it, the Feast of Fools. The idea is simple: during whichever day local churches decide to hold this holiday, all social roles and obligations are inverted. The peasant is essentially given carte blanche to openly mock his superiors, to blaspheme the church, to shamelessly imbibe spirits without restraint, to monger among the whores, to covet whatever thy neighbor’s got, and to other ...more
Jenn(ifer)
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jason and naysayers like Jason
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: Flannery told me in a dream

A review in song form (thank you Sufjan): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlcrHE...

*****

The short story is quickly becoming my favorite fiction genre (unlike Jason here who “just [doesn’t] have time for [them] anymore"). Well, I hope everyone makes the time to read this collection, because every bit of it is outstanding. While her first shot at writing a novel was a bit sloppy, you’ll find that with short stories she is a master of her craft.

The title story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” is not a
...more
Catie
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery's parents, indirectly.
I enjoy all kinds of writing. I like the simple, breezy writing that’s entertaining and takes very little effort to understand. I like the dense, loaded writing that takes weeks of thought and discussion to fully unpack. The remarkable thing about the writing of Flannery O’Connor is that it somehow seems to encompass that entire spectrum.

Her writing is without a doubt easy to digest, but I would never in a million years call it simple. Reading her prose feels less like reading and more like hav
...more
Mark André
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays-stories-i
What you come to expect from Ms. O'Connor: Quick. Descriptive. Weird. Bizarre. Disturbing. Ambiguous.
Not for everyone. Fun.
Vanessa
Darkly disturbing these short stories often end with a macabre twist that you don’t always see coming. I’m still getting over the first story in the collection! Clever and twisted.
Rochelle Torke
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Oh good lord. Someone said she made the south seem even creepier than it already was and i agree with a shudder. And my experience is that you can never really shake off these stories. She can create a character in five words that you will recognize instantly way, way down in your cerebellum--or maybe somewhere in your gut--and it will live there inside you forever. I think she is the unmatched master of the short story form. And don't get me wrong, you will laugh at times while reading. But the ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I read the first short story in this collection by Flannery O'Connor and sat back, astonished. If you haven't read A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, grab a copy right now and read the title story. You'll know then exactly where you stand with O'Connor's stories after that first one has slammed into you like a hammer to the back of the head.

In A Good Man is Hard to Find, a family prepares for and sets off for a vacation in Florida. Even Grandma, who has much to say about how much bett
...more
Tom Mathews
The New York Times, in a review of O'Connor's stories, referred to her as an American Guy de Maupassant. This is an apt description. O'Connor's stories paint a dark yet spot-on picture of the human condition. She takes the quaint out of southern living and shines a spotlight on the ignorance and prejudice with a razor-sharp and truly wicked sense of humor. Reading her stories left me amazed by her literary ability yet also a bit nauseated. What depresses me the most is that current events seem t ...more
Chrissie
All ten of the stories in this anthology are depressing, macabre and grotesque. Their strength lies in their vivid description of life in the South for the many poor, uneducated and disadvantaged.

Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) writes in the Southern Gothic Style. Disabilities, sanity, race, religion and social inequalities are scrutinized in a cold detached manner. Not a pinch of sentimentality is to be found. Her writing is remarkably vivid. First published in 1953, the collection opens a window
...more
Lee
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vacillated between three and four stars -- almost rounded up for a few reasons but decided to go with my gut and rate it as I'd read it. It's clearly a canonical foundational model for the conventional, centrist, conservative short-story form. But still I heard echoes of Saunders and DFW, not to mention so much solid BASS-grade short fiction, but that's also the issue I think I had with it: for the most part I was over-aware these were stories, always aware of their form, their steadiness, sugge ...more
Clif Hostetler
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Flannery O'Connor died in 1964 at the young age of 39, but she managed in her short life to produce a collection of literature that has been the subject of enduring praise from literary critics. It was because of this reputation I decided it was time to checkout this collection of short stories. This is the first work of hers that I've read (or listened to on audio).

Most of the stories in this book take place in the rural part of the state of Georgia in the first half of the twentieth century (
...more
Willow
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This is an extremely well-written cache of disturbing short stories. Although I’m not quite sure I read them the same way O’Connor intended. I say that because I come from a different time and a different place. I’m not the devout Catholic that O’Connor obviously was. Consequently, I’m not sure I completely grasped the full light of God’s grace. I tended to read these stories with a skeptical eye. They unsettled me, the religious aspect never giving me peace.

O’Connor likes to zero in on people’
...more
Raul Bimenyimana
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This collection was just incredible. I don't think I've encountered a white writer that wrote of quotidian racism and the strange bond it creates between racist individuals with such insight since I read Lessing. This was so good and so well written, one captivating story after the other and now I can't wait to read her novels and the collection of essays.
David Schaafsma
Haven't read for years and deserves a long review, but it was so awesome to read again. So amazing. This combination of the spiritual and crazy. Grotesque, southern gothic, sardonic humor, deftly hilarious observations. Grace occurs in the oddest and most surprising moments.
Connie G
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This collection of ten short stories is very dark and gothic, often including grotesque characters with disabilities. Many of the stories show people looking for salvation and spirituality. Some characters have ideas about making changes in their lives, but fate or God provides a totally different outcome. O'Connor's strong religious background and years of dealing with illness (lupus) have influenced her writing. This talented author exhibits a dark sense of humor, and often ends her stories wi ...more
Jana
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
One would say, Flannery is a nice Southern lady who wrote this little book with this cute name: 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find'. She was probably a lonely spinster, spent her life reading romances, swinging on her porch, drinking lemonade and making up lovely stories. A-a.

Big mistake from the beginning: I still have not read a book where USA South hasn't been portrayed as the devil's pit in a human form. She is sensational. I’ve never read a book like this. Her stories are completely dark and cree
...more
Darwin8u
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
There is something magical and impossible about O'Conner's short stories. They pulse, plunge and roll like one giant allegorical ocean. At one level her writing is beautiful and charged with a cold and lonely realism, but she pounds again and again with the brutality of her words until she absolutly devours and transforms whole continents of readers. One cannot read these stories and not be pulled away by the current of her imagination transfixed, transformed and thinkin' kinda funny.
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3,360 followers
Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. When she died at the age of thirty-nine, America lost one of its most gifted writers at the height of her powers. O’Connor wrote two novels, Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960), and two story collections, A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1964). Her Complete Stories, published posth ...more
“She would've been a good woman," said The Misfit, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” 300 likes
“All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal.” 102 likes
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