William2's Reviews > Wise Blood

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
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really liked it
bookshelves: 20-ce, fiction, us

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. Even when he begins the Church Without Christ and begins to "preach" from the hood of his old car. He reminds me of the inarticulate family Naipaul writes about in The Enigma of Arrival, who, because they lack language, can only act out their sufferings in violent ways. To say that Hazel Motes eventually addresses matters through recourse to violence gives nothing away. When reading the closing pages its seems all too, not predictable, but correct, from the standpoint of his character. O'Connor refers to him as Haze, a nickname that captures wonderfully his undirected nature. His last name is Motes, specks of dust in the air, seems an apt metaphor for his lack of direction as well. The book has amazing moments throughout and an adroitly handled suspense grips the reader. Be advised, this book makes liberal use in the early going of the n-word. At first my sense was that O'Connor knew how these people would speak and what words they would use, and these are the words she used. But this seems false when one considers that such persons realistically must have cursed a blue streak, too, yet none of those words made their way into the text. Highly recommended. As important to our southern literature as Faulkner and Welty.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 18, 2011 – Shelved
May 21, 2011 – Shelved as: 20-ce
May 21, 2011 – Shelved as: fiction
May 21, 2011 – Shelved as: us

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Margaret (new)

Margaret I came to this book through the movie John Huston made of it many years ago. At the time, I quite liked the movie, but I remember liking the book so much better.


Konstantin Great book, but The Violent Beak It Away is a bit more tightly wound, connected!


William2 Agree


Morgan I remember kind of liking this story. Had to read it in college. I like the gorilla part the best.


message 5: by Mark (new) - added it

Mark André I think his anger comes from what he saw in Europe fighting the war.


William2 Yes, Mark. I'll bear that in mind when I reread it. Thanks


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