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The Complete Stories (FSG Classics) Paperback – January 1, 1971
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Winner of the National Book Award
The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction.
There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O'Connor put together in her short lifetime--Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
O'Connor published her first story, "The Geranium," in 1946, while she was working on her master's degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, "Judgement Day"--sent to her publisher shortly before her death―is a brilliantly rewritten and transfigured version of "The Geranium." Taken together, these stories reveal a lively, penetrating talent that has given us some of the most powerful and disturbing fiction of the twentieth century. Also included is an introduction by O'Connor's longtime editor and friend, Robert Giroux.
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About the Author
Robert Giroux is the editor of two collections of Elizabeth Bishop's writing, both published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux: The Collected Prose and One Art: Letters.
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First edition (January 1, 1971)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 576 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0374515360
- ISBN-13 : 978-0374515362
- Lexile measure : 890L
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.45 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I was unfamiliar with Flannery O'Connor until the last few years. I attribute this to the fact that she is not discussed contemporaneously with other American iconic authors. I first heard of her when I was studying a book on literature by Harold Bloom and he discussed her work. I had begun reading work by William Faulkner and at first was unsettled by his style. Slowly I have begun to gain an appreciation the genre of "Southern Gothic". Flannery O'Connor has her own style which includes, but is not limited to Southern Gothic.
Flannery O'Connor has a wry sense of ironic humor which manifests itself throughout her work and can suddenly emerge out of nowhere and surprise the reader. An example of this is the short story "The Crop". At the same time some of her short stories stun me with their violence. Sometimes the two combine as at the end of "A Good Man is Hard to Find". I am not learned enough to know where to place Flannery O'Connor compared to other Southern Gothic authors, but she may be my favorite, with Harper Lee and Carson McCullers close behind.
After reading through this book, I had an epiphany as to why so many writers win the big prizes such as the Pulitzer for fiction--you take average or stupider than average people, throw a common sense question or decision (to be made) in the mix, and watch the characters make the wrong decision and come out at the end either wiser, still stupid, or scratching their heads not knowing what the hell hit them.
In many of Flannery O'Connor's stories, this is essentially the plot. Many, if not all, of the characters are from the South, call African-American's the 'N' word without apology or hesitation, defines the era in which the story was written, and certainly perpetuates the myth folks from the South are illiterate, stupid, and don't have the common sense God gave a gnat.
A critic praised her (quote) 'stories that burn bright, and strike deep.' Flannery O'Connor wrote stories where stupid people make stupid mistakes and I was pretty disappointed in the whole set of stories overall. While her story-telling abilities are a little higher than average, I don't agree that her plots or story lines are as valuable as the kudos give her from other literary critiques.
If you are interesting in 'entertainment' type reading, this book is definitely not for you. If you are interested in The South as it used to be, from a native Southerner's point of view, and some interesting stories (overall) with deep literary and moral undertones that you have to re-read more than once to grasp, then this type of book will definitely appeal to your academic standards.
While her stories may have been 'important' half a century ago by reflecting the sad, uneducated, and prejudiced thinking of the people of the South, I believe that the world has made broad strides in their thinking, education, and literacy and has moved beyond her stories and her way of thinking.