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Complete Stories F O'Connor [Paperback]

Flannery O'Connor
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1984
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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"What we lost when she died is bitter. What we have is astonishing: the stories burn brighter than ever, and strike deeper." --Walter Clemons, Newsweek

About the Author

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 posthumously in 1972, won the National Book Award that year, and in a 2009 online poll it was voted as the best book to have won the award in the contest’s 60-year history. Her essays were published in Mystery and Manners (1969) and her letters in The Habit of Being (1979). In 1988 the Library of America published her Collected Works; she was the first postwar writer to be so honored. O’Connor was educated at the Georgia State College for Women, studied writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and wrote much of Wise Blood at the Yaddo artists’ colony in upstate New York. She lived most of her adult life on her family’s ancestral farm, Andalusia, outside Milledgeville, Georgia.

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OLD DUDLEY folded into the chair he was gradually molding to his own shape and looked out the window fifteen feet away into another window framed by blackened red brick. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story is the Meaning May 18 2004
Flannery O'Connor's The Complete Stories puts the reader in possession of a superb collection of all her short stories, including those published posthumously. Each story looks at humanity in grit and detail. With a passion for the absurd, O'Connor explores the condition of the South, sparing no character's flaw and yet making the reader sympathize and care for the people she creates. Like Faulkner, O'Connor seems to feel a sadness and passion for the South and its often crazy citizens. While many read "Good Country People" or "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" in high school, there are other stories less well-known that reward attention. "The River" and "Revelation" are two personal favorites. In "The River" looks at child neglect, baptism and death simultaneously. "Revelation," which was her last finished published work before she died ends on a hopeful note-the protagonist actually seems to have learned and changed at the end of the story- a rare thing in her work.
O'Connor has been a particularly influential writer among American authors, and her theories about short stories are regularly taught in the classroom. She was a great advocate for allowing the story to be the meaning, and not candy-coating for a moral. However, her concerns are woven into the fabric of each story, and the flaws in ourselves are revealed through her characters. While O'Connor is known the best for her short stories, she also wrote two novels and some literary criticism, which are not included in this volume, but are also well worth reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book is hard to find June 2 2004
By A Customer
You'd think that with the short story really being and "American" form, like Jazz and baseball, that more writers would come by it naturally---not so. And of these, the truly great ones are Southern. Welty comes to mind, as does McCrae and Faulkner. Capote and then, of course, O'Connor. Of all of these though, O'Connor is the reigning queen, for her stories are like no others in the canon. True, they're Gothic to the 'inth degree, and if you know anything about the poor woman's life, you'll understand why. She ended up raising peacocks on her mother's farm due to a long illness and even before that she wasn't the model of "normal." But all of that and more is what makes her a true Southerner---one of those wonderful characters that themselves could be IN their own short story collection. So many owe a debt to this woman--McCuller, McCrae, Capote. And yet so few have come up to her level. I just can't recommend these well-written stories enough.
Would also recommend the short stories of Eudora Welty, McCrae's "Bark of the Dogwood--A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens" and the short stories of William Faulkner.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book you save may be your own Nov. 19 2004
This is probably the most amazing collection of short stories I have ever read. O'Connor presents Southern people at their best and worst. Adding a hint of religion, O'Connor conveys the idea of salvation and how life affects those who do and do not have this. Each tale is crafted for maximum shock and emotional impact, but the effect is not cheap. O'Connor obviously dug deep to get some of this material and it shows. The only other collection of short stories I've read that had this much impact on me was Jackson McCrae's THE CHILDREN'S CORNER, which is not a book for or about children, but rather a group of stories dealing with great insight into the human condition. Excellent and highly recommended.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE!!! This is NOT the "Complete" stories! April 20 2011
By Duck
I bought this edition of Flannery O'Connor's "Complete" Stories because it is large and in decent-size type. But after reading it recently and being inspired to find out more about her, I realized that she wrote 31 stories, and only 10 of them are in this book. I don't know how the people who published this got away with it, but it seems to be almost a pirated edition. The publisher is only identified as Z. Elbey, with no address but a Gmail e-mail address! There are no page numbers (making things impossible to find), no table of contents, and there are so many typos in the book that some words are unintelligible.
Included here are only the following stories:
1. A Good Man Is Hard To Find
2. The River
3. The Life You Save May Be Your Own
4. A Stroke Of Good Fortune
5. A Temple of the Holy Ghost
6. The Artificial Nigger
7. A Circle In the Fire
8. A Late Encounter With the Emeny
9. Good Country People
10. The Displaced Person

Also included are her two short novels, Wise Blood, and The Violent Bear It Away. But BEWARE----this is NOT the "Complete Stories" and in my opinion is a ripoff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Laughing at Iqhope April 22 2004
By A Customer
This has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever read in my life! Iqhope, did you not know that Virginia is a Southern state?
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5.0 out of 5 stars you owe it to yourself. Feb. 2 2004
A dear friend suggested a few Flan stories to me, and I guess I got hooked. With this volume consumed, I can now say I have read all of the published short stories of this fantastic writer.
O' Connor's work is fantastic in the way my dictionary describes the word. "Conceived by unrestrained fancy." These stories are nearly always shocking, actually very shocking. They are powerful character driven things, and rather than describe them as "horror" stories as I see some reviewers do, I would moreso call them "grotesques."
They involve characters that are not so much "horrible" or "horrorful" as much as they are simply ludicrous, or incongruously composed or disposed. Caught up in all manner of inner bigotries, hypocrisy, fanaticism of one sort or another (most often religious). O'Connor characters often turn out to be homicidal, suicidal, brutal, obsessed, the opposite of what they appear to be, and always, if nothing else... shocking!
I am no connoisseur of the short story genre but all I know is that these stories without fail, intrigued me. Opened a door to further contemplation, and went a bit beyond what they said.
For sheer brilliance of sentence structure, visualization, suspense, I think it would be fair to say that there are few writers that have ever written as clearly as Flannery O' Connor.
When I am reading literature, characters better dang well talk good, and talk like people, not like characters. The dialogue in this collection is one of its strongest points. Impeccable down-south vernacular.
As for verisimilitude, well that is another mentionable thing here. If they are anything, these stories are bizarre, and yet they retain that quality of appearing to be true. Appearing to be possible.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Genius
There's a famous saw (that some attribute to the English evangelist David Watson) to the effect that, "The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Why Stories Like This are Considered Literary
Since I couldn't afford to go back to school to get my Masters, I thought it might be wise to obtain the required reading list and read myself through an alternate education. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2003 by iqhope
2.0 out of 5 stars Cruelty
For her narrative talent, the lady gets at least 4 stars. But be forewarned: her stories can be cruel (e.g. the murder of children). Read more
Published on April 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the truth
Genius! These stories remind me how much we can learn from people very different from ourselves. A Southern American white woman, O'Conner offers invaluable gems on American... Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2002 by Aaron
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Collection!
I was lucky enough during one semester in college to be forced to read several works by Flannery O'Connor. Read more
Published on May 19 2002 by Faulknernut
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons to be learned here--O'Connor was no fool
I read this collection during college, in my senior literature seminar. I find O'Connor's stories to be the best, most brutally honest, thought-provoking and attitude-altering... Read more
Published on March 25 2002 by SEP
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly funny and scarily true
O'Connor's work is the South-- through a glass darkly. I remember in a literature class being read a letter where O'Connor wrote of some klansmen who spent the night in her... Read more
Published on March 15 2002 by Kimberly Wells
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