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A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (A Harvest/Hbj Book) [Kindle Edition]

Flannery O'Connor
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Description


With an keen eye for the dark side of human nature, an amazing ear for dialogue, and a necessary sense of irony, Flannery O'Conner exposes the underside of life in the rural south of the United States. One of the powers in her writing lies in her ability to make the vulnerability of one into that of many; another is her mastery of shifting "control" from character to character, making the outcome uncertain. Sexual and racial attitudes, poverty and riches, adolescence, old age, and being thirty-four which "wasn't any age at all" are only some of the issues touched on in this collection. When Ruby has to walk up the "steeple steps...[that]...reared up" as she climbed to her fourth floor apartment, we feel her pain as she "gripped the banister rail fiercely and heaved herself up another step..." Flannery O'Conner, a 1972 National Book Award winner, reminds us that none of the roles in our lives is stagnant and that wearing blinders takes away more than just a view. Through her stories we see that what we blind ourselves to is bound to appear again and again. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; (Holly Smith)

Product Description

The collection that established O’Connor’s reputation as one of the American masters of the short story. The volume contains the celebrated title story, a tale of the murderous fugitive The Misfit, as well as “The Displaced Person” and eight other stories.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 572 KB
  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (Oct. 15 1992)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003PDMN18
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #153,228 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
The ten short stories in this 1955 collection by Flannery O'Connor expose a grotesque underbelly of the Southern mystique that go far beyond their seemingly simple surface plots. Ms. O'Connor has a flare for dialog as well as a primal understanding of the darkness in people's souls. All her characters have a relationship with God and she combines Christian imagery, an apocalyptic vision of life and a strong element of cruelty. And yet, there is a deeply human element that gives me the shivers because it exposes truths I'd rather not see.
I could tell from the very beginning of each story that something ominous was going to happen. I didn't know when, I didn't know how, and I didn't know exactly what it would be. Always, I was surprised. And yet, when I thought of it later, each story could have gone no other way. All of them had a sad or tragic ending, although some were more awful than others. What keeps the narrative exciting though is a way she has of suddenly disappearing the storyline and taking it up in another place, leaving just enough information to spark the imagination. Then, when I think I have it all figured out, things change again.
Ms. O'Connor writes in simple startling sentences. And most of the stories are no more than 20 or 30 pages long. I found it hard to read one story right after the other however. Each one was so thought provoking that, even though I felt a great deal of discomfort, I wanted to stay with each just a little bit longer. That's because they move much too fast and are too intriguing to stop. Later, when the initial shock of the story is over, is the time to work it out philosophically. And it is then that I could appreciate the mastery of her craft.
This is a truly fine book and I unquestionably give it a high recommendation. It is certainly not for everyone however. These stories haunt uncomfortably. But those willing to explore the dark side of human nature in this small work of art will love it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Provacative yet, disturbing Oct. 30 2001
By Drew
In A Good Man is Hard, to Find, Flannery O'Connor proves herself as the master of the short story. Through ten provocative, delightful, and at the same time disturbing stories, O'Connor paints a vivid picture of the Deep South while commenting on life and the different values that God plays in people's lives.
Flannery is brilliant writer whose experience in deep Southern Georgia shines through her language and characters. Each of her stories reflects a new detail of life in the south in the 1940's and 50's ranging from black prejudice, to staunch-almost ludicrous-religious fanaticism. Most of her stories concern people who live on family farms in the middle of nowhere and have little contact with the outside world. From this setting, Flannery has a lot of flexibility to develop her characters who are often without contact outside of their immediate family for days or even weeks on end and thus are believable representatives of southern heritage and culture.
Perhaps the most distinguishing part of O'Connor's writing, is her ability to create larger-than-life characters who's personalities are both exciting and disturbing: a woman who denies her own pregnancy; a colorful grandmother who refuses to see the truth of the lethal Misfit; and a one-armed vagabond who robs a innocent woman of her dearest possession. Each character represents and portrays a person whose personality and view of life is so set and unbending that their response to adversity leads to sadness and often death. Each ending leaves the reader deep in thought, and searching within his/her own soul for answers to the character's actions. She seems to have a way with words so that just by describing one of her characters, she almost tells a story of their persona, mentality, and background.
O'Connor's ability to write is sheer genius, and A Good Man is Hard to Find is nothing short of her best work. It deserves every bit of praise that can be heaped upon it.
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O'Conner writes these short stories in a time of her life where she is faced with lupus, and her stories often contain themes of judgments of society and salvation. One of the techniques I enjoyed the most is the real-life setting O'Connor applies to each story. She creates a southern environment from the start of each of her stories with a display of culture and language that that make you feel as if you were "a fly on the wall" as the stories are told. The realistic setting put's O'Connor and her fiction in a position to pass judgments on society with credibility. "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is a great example of this judgment in the dialogue between the Grandmother and the Misfit. One of these aspects is that everything is not as clear as it seems. O'Connor masterfully uses devices such as imagery to convey her themes subconsciously: "'Ain't a cloud in the sky,' he remarked, looking up at it. 'Don't see no sun but don't see no cloud neither...'" In this case, she continues this idea of cloudiness as the Grandmother and the Misfit discuss argue salvation with the Misfit appearing to have a better understanding of it than the Church-going Grandmother. Again, everything is not as clear as it seems.
Another story that follows the indirect theme pattern is "The Life You Save May Be Your Own." Again O'Connor takes us into the lives of a Mother, innocent girl, and a wanderer. The mother and the wanderer are both guilty of a society driven superficiality hiding their true feelings. O'Connor convey's this uniquely for each of them: with the wanderer, it is with imagery such as "Mr. Shiftlet's smile stretched like a weary snake waking up by a fire;" with the mother it is with her speech, and how Mr. Shiftlet reacts to her speech.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read.
Very good group of short stories. Dark, Grotesque, great!!
Published on Nov. 20 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book Is Hard to Find, and This Is One
Flannery O'Connor's classic short-story collection, featuring dark, pessimistic stories about Southern life, often with ironic twists at the end, really needs no introduction. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2001 by S. Turlington
4.0 out of 5 stars For the Active Reader
This collection of short stories by Flannery O'Connor reveal some reality in Southern life. Each of the short stories details an event or portion of a persons life, and how... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by bonnie
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a simple bedtime story
This is not a story to read before trying to sleep, the images that O'Connor creates engage the mind hours after you have finished the last story. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars "A Good Man Is Hard To Find"-Not the Traditional Short Story
When I read the first story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," in Flannery O'Conner's book of short stories, I came away confused, dissatisfied, and alarmed. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by Avery McKinney
4.0 out of 5 stars Social Commentaries
When I first started reading this book I thought that it was quite unusual. However, as I started to look more deeply at the stories and attemped to analyze them I found that the... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by Tisha
3.0 out of 5 stars Flannery O'Connor - Nathan Dunford
Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a well-written series of stories all set in the Southern States. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars The irony just blew me away.
Personally, I thought this book was pretty interesting. I don't see how most of it is comical with people dying and in a constant search for grace. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by Ryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Elements of O'Connor
Never having heard of Flannery O'Connor, let alone having read any of her works, I was in for quite a surpise when I picked up A Good Man is Hard to Find. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by Heather
4.0 out of 5 stars Flannery O'Connor: A Master of the Short Story
Flannery O'Connor is often referred to as a master of the short story. At first glance and speedy reading of her stories in this book I was confused as to why she had earned such... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by M. Flade
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