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Wise Blood

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  20,207 Ratings  ·  1,663 Reviews
Flannery O'Connor's astonishing and haunting first novel is a classic of twentieth-century literature. It is the story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his innate, desperate faith. He falls under the spell of a "blind" street preacher named Asa Hawks and his degenerate fifteen-year-old daughter. In an ironic, malicious gesture of ...more
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Published August 1st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1952)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Oct 07, 2010 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Hey, kids! It's time for a game of Choose Your Own Adventure: Southern Gothic Literary Analysis Edition. Please select from the following options:

1. You are a Christian bordering on Calvinist who wants metaphorical reassurance that you are a part of the spiritual elect, and you want a real martyr of a sinner to guide you through the steps to grace: Hazel Motes returns from the war to find that he has no one, nothing, and nowhere to turn. In defiance, he rejects the lord (human nature, a necessar
Jeffrey Keeten
May 06, 2012 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Southern Literary Trail
Shelves: southern, gothic

After reading just a few pages of this book I kept thinking to myself Hazel Motes is doomed.


First of all he is the lead character in a Flannery O'Connor novel. The only thing that could be worst is if he were the lead character in a Jim Thompson novel. The poor bastard hasn't got a chance. For one thing he's got the wrong look to him. "His black hat sat on his head with a careful, placed expression on his face had a fragile look as if it might have been broken and stuck together again, or lik
Oh Jesus! I feel compelled to cry out, thus involuntarily showing my cultural heritage that comes out in everyday language despite growing up and living among atheists without any relation to the creation myths of Christianity.

This book is horrible, and very, very well written. Describing the ugly reality of a young man, Hazel Motes, who is deeply tainted by the moral preaching of a church he tries to shake off, it offers a panorama of confused, scared, aggressive people. They all try to make th
Michael Finocchiaro
Wise Blood is Flannery O'Connor's first book and it is a beautiful, brutal work of art. We are introduced to Hazel Motes on a train with his army-issued duffel bag being annoying by the woman next to him on the train. He is completely dislocated, as we see in the first sentence:
"Hazel Motes sat at a forward angle on the green plush train seat, looking one minute at the window as if he might want to jump out of it, and the next down the aisle at the end of the car."
He is on the border between thi
Dan Schwent
Fresh from a stint in the army, Hazel Motes starts a religion out of spite and gets entangled with a preacher named Asa Hawks and his teenage daughter, Sabbath.

I recently read the exquisite The Summer that Melted Everything and kept thinking of Flannery O'Connor. I already had this on my Kindle so I gave it a shot.

Wise Blood is the tale of Hazel Motes and his crisis of faith. Something happened during the war that shattered Hazel Motes' childhood dream of being a preacher and now he's taking it
Jan 07, 2017 BlackOxford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
Hapless Irony

Flannery O'Connor was a woman who knew her world. Not just the gentile facade of a world but the nits and grits and dirt under the finger nails world of poor black folk and edgy white trash, of the huckster and the street beggar, the good ole boy and the smug gossip, the person of faith and the person of lost faith, the arch prostitute and her bumbling client. They are misfits, defectives, near-psychotics, needy obsessives, fanatics.

O'Connor knew how these people act in this world,
Feb 13, 2011 Jenn(ifer) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: heathens
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: The Man Himself
I have to say, there’s nothing more attractive than a man in a sharp suit.

Hello lovely:


However, Hazel Motes, I think you should fire your tailor. (Maybe you should take some of that money you keep throwing in the trash and buy a new suit. Just sayin’).


All joking aside, I’d like to take a moment to thank Ms. O’Connor for restoring my faith in female authors. Such a shame she died so young; one can only wonder what stories she left untold.

Wise Blood tells the tale of young Hazel Motes, who returns
Navidad Thelamour
"…that church where the blind don’t see and the lame don’t walk and what’s dead stays that way. Ask me about that church and I’ll tell you it’s the church that the blood of Jesus don’t foul with redemption...there was no Fall because there was nothing to fall from and no Redemption because there was no Fall and no Judgment because there wasn’t the first two. Nothing matters but that Jesus was a liar…”

Wise Blood is the story of Hazel Motes, a recently discharged twenty-something war vet who retur
mark monday
Jun 15, 2007 mark monday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
UPDATED REVIEW... of the film!

John Huston's 1979 adaptation of O'Connor's cult novel was one of my favorite films growing up, which is probably more evidence of why I should not be wandering around in public. I just re-watched it this afternoon and am happy to report that the magic is mainly still there.

so demented Hazel Motes returns from the army, still haunted by memories of his demented preacher father. he moves to Taulkinham, where a demented young man named Enoch begins following him aroun
Sep 18, 2013 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Certainly the "Blue Velvet" in the literary realm, "Wise Blood" has an OVERWHELMING SIMPLICITY that seems truly out of this world. O'Connor expertly places all these annoying wind-up toys near each other--see them bump and grind and sometimes line up in a maniacal precision that repeats and repeats-- and what we get is a very complex nightmare, almost hitting the true nerve of (my personal champion of all literary categories) Southern Goth. It is true brethren to the Faulkner's masterpiece, "As ...more
Eddie Watkins
Jun 21, 2008 Eddie Watkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
I suppose Flannery O'Connor must be considered a Christian writer, as she was a Catholic and Christian themes permeate her books, but her imagination was on fire and she knew how to get those flames into her words and that's really all that matters.

Wise Blood is like an upside-down inside-out book about salvation, where professed atheism is faith, blindness is seeing, and rottenness is goodness, and it's all spiced up with tersely vivid bizarre characterizations and situations in an enveloping
Mar 09, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of dark and strange staggering beauty.

Joy and pain, suffering and redemption.
It's has dark cynical humour with characters of outrageous quality.
There is plenty of work behind the structure of the story.
She has included many issues around her during her time and locality, they are of beauty, child neglect and abuse, racism and police brutality.
Watch out for these things as you read this along as you might not pick up what she trying to convey.
His large hat and clothing seem to give everyo
Jun 12, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lookeere, thisere story iz bout some right weirdazz folks, I declare. Thing of it is, I don't rightly know whether Ms. O'Connor weren't off her nut when she wrote hit down. I don't see how yon Enoch's gadabouts had anything ter do with anything, in the grand scheme er things. He was a right comical bastard, I declare that. He wuz also few bricks shy of a load, if any you friends been in the contracting or house-building bidness, you might catch my drift. Lookeere, too: that feller that come long ...more
May 18, 2011 William1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, us, 20-ce
Hazel Motes gets out of the army and arbitrarily goes to a generic southern city to play out his damage. He has lost his father and mother and grandfather. While traveling on a sleeper to the city he has a dream in which each in turn manage to spring out of their coffins, miraculously alive. Then he wakes up. He is in a fury at Jesus, presumably for failing him, though his specific anger on the matter is never addressed. A rage burns within him which he cannot satisfy, no matter what he does. Ev ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The characters here are those which at any time--past, present or future--could easily be considered as those at the outmost fringes of humanity. The grotesque, broken and irremediably flawed outcasts of society yet, like you and I, have their own, unique struggles with their faith.

But this is no Bible story. And the thing to marvel at here is that this was published when Flannery O'Connor was only 27 years old and after having labored with it for about five years. A fruit of stunning insights,
W Perry
May 06, 2012 W Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"People who haven't grown up in the South, in the Bible Belt particularly, have little understanding of how much a part of the fabric of Southern life religion is." Barry Moser

This novel, I don't mind saying, spooked me a bit. I couldn't finish it for the longest time. I'm sure there are deeper meanings that I can't get to due to the Southern-surreal grotesquery.

I attribute my reaction to either growing up in the South or seeing Hollywood's grotesque depictions of Southerners in general. In any
João Carlos
Apr 28, 2014 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014

Flannery OConnor (1925 – 1964)

A escritora Flannery OConnor (1925 – 1964) é unanimemente reconhecida como um dos expoentes máximos da literatura norte-americana do século XX, particularmente aclamada pela genialidade dos seus trinta e dois contos, coligidos em dois volumes: “Um Bom Homem É Difícil de Encontrar” e “ Tudo o Que Sobe Deve Convergir”, que combinam o cómico, o violento, o trágico e o brutal.
“Sangue Sábio” e o “Céu É dos Violentos” são os seus dois únicos romances publicados e que se i
Wise Blood: Flannery O'Connor's tale of the rejection of grace

"God's free initiative demands man's free response"--Catechism of the Catholic Church 2002

If Hazel Motes ever read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he read no more of it than the Bible he carried like a rock in the bottom of his duffel bag. Flannery O'Connor never tells us what turned Hazel into such a stubborn son of a buck. It didn't appear he would turn out that way. The grandson of a Presbyterian minister, Hazel had determine
Molly Moran
Oct 24, 2007 Molly Moran rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Huh. I don't know what to say about this book at all. I tried reading some of the reviews to see if they helped clarify anything for me, but nobody said much of anything. Lots of people gave it 4 or 5 stars but then just said that it was weird and anti-religion. That doesn't inherently make something good. I'm still unsure what the point of this book was: what's the critique, what's driving it, what, if anything, am I to take away from it?

I've not read O'Connor before, and I don't think I'll be
Aug 09, 2011 ·Karen· rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Could we have a separate rating system please? One that is not concerned with whether we like a book or not? I was going to give this one five stars 'It was amazing' but amazing is not quite the word. Appalling. Perturbing. Perplexing, yes, but not amazing in the positive sense. And now I decide to give it only one star, to say no, I did not like this reading experience. I recognize that O'Connor is not writing to please, she makes no concessions to tired readers who want an uplifting story at t ...more
May 08, 2015 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the first time I've read Flannery O'Connor and I enjoyed the book and plan to read an anthology of her short stories soon. The best description for this book is that it's Southern Gothic with a decidely dark streak of humor running through it. The characters are misfits and losers and, more often than not, are described in a way that makes them appear freakish and grotesque. Take, for example, the description of the prostitute that the main character, Hazel Motes, visits:

"She was a big w
Dusty Myers
I like Flannery O'Connor, but I don't love her. This is a problem, I know, because if one reads half as obsessively as I do the words of other writers about how goes about writing fiction, one comes across Flannery's name and maxims at just about every turn. She is, without question, a genius, goes the belief. And maybe she is. She knows her way around a simile: "The little boys' faces were like pans set on either side to catch the grins that overflowed from her." She's also great at understated ...more
Mark Andre'
Apr 05, 2016 Mark Andre' rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. the first time I read it it scared the hell out of me. but i think that's what great art is suppose to do anyway: grab you by the gonads, drag you out to the edge an dangle you over the abyss.
I don't think the book is about anything - other than the straight ahead plot. though maybe in some ways the three heros represent three facets of O'Connor's life. in the sense that Hazel struggle with a relationship to an unknowable deity represents the author's own relationship to her st
I'm glad I picked up Wise Blood relatively soon after perusing A Good Man is Hard to Find , because this novel clarified some things in my mind about Flannery O'Connor's theology. I'm now certain that I disagree with just about every aspect of her worldview, to the point where I am actually repulsed by her assumptions and arguments. But I also find her thought processes fascinating, and her writing tight and, often, darkly funny. Moreover, it's probably a good exercise, every so often, to stret ...more
Mar 30, 2017 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
A blind prophet, a gorilla and a mummy walk into a bar. The punch line is everything sucks, and Flannery O'Connor is the meanest writer in the history of the world.

But Faulkner, you say! Cormac McCarthy! And it is true that these Southern folks are bummers. Which, I mean, the South sucks. I know, I've read books. But for me, even those two - there's a difference between dark and mean. Flannery - her name was Mary, by the way - she's just fuckin' mean.

In a throwaway moment, that gorilla emerges
Apr 12, 2014 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Trágico. Cómico. Negro. Flannery nunca desilude.
Jan 29, 2016 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read O'Connor's story collection, Everything That Rises Must Converge, I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. I was a bit hesitant and a little scared, but I pressed on anyways. It isn't that O'Connor's writing or subjects are daunting, but her characters are dark and often mean and their actions can be disturbing and you are not going to be able to figure out what's going to happen or how you're going to feel about it. Maybe it is that loss of control on the reader's part t ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Cody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hillbilly-bats
*Disclaimer: I was raised Catholic, so I’m likely predisposed to liking this book.

*Disclaimer 2: I watched the shit out of the Poltergeist movies as a kid, so I'm likely predisposed to liking this book as I have a special place in my black heart for Evil Southern Preachers, Wide-Brimmed Hat Division.

Wise Blood is so fantastically odd, so tit-stuffed with awful human beings, that it’s astounding that it isn’t loved by more members of the Satanic Underground that I hang out and play Yahtzee with.
Feb 17, 2017 Melanti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I've read anything by Flannery O'Connor.
I'd almost forgotten how dark and humorous she can be.
Joe Valdez
Jan 21, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Why couldn't Flannery O'Connor's 1949 debut novel Wise Blood been required reading in high school? I might not have read it, preferring Stephen King or Robert R. McCammon, tales of ghosts or monsters. O'Connor's Southern Gothic is populated by characters haunted by a universal truth inside them, an answer to it all, that for lack of experience, or maybe intelligence, they can't articulate. Haunted is what I was by the end of the novel.

Hazel Motes, native of Eastrod, Tennessee, is introduced aboa
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  • One Lonely Night
  • A Curtain of Green and Other Stories
  • A Feast of Snakes
  • Twilight
  • Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South
  • Love in the Ruins
  • Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • USA: The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money
  • Collected Stories
  • Collected Stories
  • The Black Sheep
  • Suttree
  • Ray
  • Dirty Work
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
More about Flannery O'Connor...

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“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it” 338 likes
“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place... Nothing outside you can give you any place... In yourself right now is all the place you've got.” 244 likes
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