Perrin Pring's Reviews > The Complete Stories

The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
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it was amazing
bookshelves: woman-authors, short-stories, classics, favorites, the-south

Sent to my by a friend, I received The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor in the mail with a note that said:

Read from start to finish - They are more powerful as a whole.

Not only did I heed my friend's advice, but I saved the book until I was visiting my family in Alabama. I read the book, cover to cover, while sweating in the August heat of the deep south. Talk about a powerful experience, there is a reason I've given The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor 5 stars.

I recommend reading the intro, as it gives some insight into O'Connor's short life. The stories are then arranged in chronological order. The first 7 stories or so are alright. Written when she was in her early 20's, those first stories make it clear that O'Connor was a gifted young writer, but for me, the stories really became powerful once I hit A Good Man is Hard to Find. Powerful, creepy, and down right scary, A Good Man is Hard to Find made me shut the book and stand only to sit back down again. Her prose is concise and, dare I say it, perfect. She communicates everything the reader needs without over explaining anything. I would say that A Good Man is Hard to Find is my favorite story of the book, but I can't recommend it by itself. To read her stories up to that point, and then past it is like riding a wave you can't stop.

The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor is no short work. At over 550 large pages, I finished the book in four days, reading more and more as the days progressed. O'Connor captures the attitudes of the south in a pivotal time - leading up to and after the Civil Rights Movement. She shows that racial issues regarding black and white aren't so black and white, at least not when there is family (both kin and adopted) involved (Read Everything that Rises Must Converge).

As I said, I can't recommend this book enough. You don't have to read it in Alabama in August to 'get it', but you should read it cover to cover. This is the 40 something book I've read in 2013, and it is easily the best book I've come across.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 7, 2013 – Finished Reading
August 26, 2013 – Shelved
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: woman-authors
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: short-stories
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: classics
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
November 13, 2014 – Shelved as: the-south

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