Starry's Reviews > Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor
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's review
Apr 23, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: how-to, non-fiction
Read in July, 2012

This book was recommended by writer friends. It's a posthumously published collection of essays -- very repetitive since culled from lectures O'Connor gave, many on same topics but skewed to different audiences (writers, Southern writers, Christian college, etc).

She's a bit harsh in her lectures to writers, basically saying: you've either got the gift of writing, or you don't. If you don't have it, you won't get it. It's not something you can develop with practice." Ouch. If you can get past that, there's some good advice, but nothing I haven't heard elsewhere.

I was more interested in O'Connor's Christian apologetics. I hadn't realized she was Catholic and that she saw her stories as having a redemptive theme. That's not what comes to mind when I think Flannery O'Connor. I recall Christian symbolism (and violence and a pervading sadness) but not redemption. That warrants re-reading some of her short stories, I suppose.

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