1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book is hard to find
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...
Published on Jun 2 2004
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE!!! This is NOT the "Complete" stories!
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...
Published on April 20 2011 by Duck
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book is hard to find,
By A Customer
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars The book you save may be your own,
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story is the Meaning,
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughing at Iqhope,
By A Customer
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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?
5.0 out of 5 stars you owe it to yourself.,
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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. But the last thing that they are (hear me now, if hearing nothing else), these are NOT happily-ever-after stories.
They are most often direct flights into the realm of the reprehensible and least optimistic aspects (propensities) of human nature.
For those who care, my own favorite story was probably The Lame Shall Enter First.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Genius,
By A Customer
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)There's a famous saw (that some attribute to the English evangelist David Watson) to the effect that, "The Holy Spirit is a gentleman." One will not get that impression from Flannery O'Connor. Thomas Merton allegedly said she didn't belong in the same class as Faulkner and other great American writers, but that she was up there with Sophocles. I think he probably had it right. I am convinced that anyone who classifies her as merely Twentieth Century, or Southern, or American, or Catholic, or woman, does not fully appreciate her, though it no doubt helps to be (or try to understand) all of these as well as what Jesus might have thought when He heard, "all the people," say, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!"
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the truth,
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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 culture, racism and classism. When I read newer stories by our best young writers (people like Sherman Alexie), I am reminded of her. She writes the truth. It is often funny, sad and ugly at the same time-but it is the truth, and it is beautiful to witness. She is a true master of the short story.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Collection!,
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)I was lucky enough during one semester in college to be forced to read several works by Flannery O'Connor. After hearing her stories, I fell in love with her, so I read this collection. 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. My favorite stories include: "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," a shocking story about a criminal and an unusual family; "Revelation," a humorous work about people who view themselves as superior to others; "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," another hilarious and shocking piece describing how a woman decides to seduce a Christian man; and "Good Country People," a story describing how people fulfill their wants and desires at others cost. These stories are easy to read and fairly short! Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons to be learned here--O'Connor was no fool,
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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 work out there. One piece deserving of mention are the classic "A Good Man is Hard to Find", the last line of which reasonates long after the reader closes the book. O'Connor craftily delivers messages about racism, elitism and other problems of the deep South in her stories, and beautifully maintains the Southern Gothic texture in each one. I can't recommend this book any more enthusiastically!
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly funny and scarily true,
This review is from: Complete Stories F O'Connor (Paperback)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 hometown giving out baskets for the poor, dressed up in their white gowns riding in convertibles decorated with Christmas lights-- she then added "I don't make this stuff up."
Having grown up in the south and actually seen folks walking down the highway with a big wooden cross on their backs, I am always amazed by the fact that though O'Connor paints a story that is funny, she isn't laughing AT anyone, rather, she is showing more how we all can be ridiculous, especially without self-awareness. Moments of grace, of dark awareness, of sudden self-knowledge (and sometimes that's not what we think it ought to be). O'Connor is a genius of Southern Gothic, and of American writing. These short stories should be devoured, then re-read over and over again.
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Complete Stories F O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor (Paperback - Jan 1 1984)
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