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A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (A Harvest/Hbj Book) by [O'Connor, Flannery]
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A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (A Harvest/Hbj Book) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Review

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: 597 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (Oct. 15 1992)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003PDMN18
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #120,351 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By A Customer on Jan. 11 1998
Format: Paperback
I have always thought that the best reviews were those that give the reader enough information to make his or her own conclusions about the book separate from those of the reviewer. Since my reaction to these stories is distance rather than dislike, hopefully I can provide that information. Ms. O'Connor is a true daughter of the South and her characters, all well-drawn, will be familiar to those who have read much literature of that region. I have found though the best of such literature amuses with tales of these bigger than life characters who seem to populate the South or draws the reader to empathize with and cheer for the struggling outsider or rebel or both. Ms. O'Connor's characters seem to fall into three categories: those trying to hold on to the Old South including some of its less endearing practices and views, those who are part of a newer but crass South and depressed loners. I found it hard to get emotionally involved with these characters in any way. Difficult to love and no struggle in which to root for the underdog. A little like Sylvia Plath goes South. Maybe you had to grow up with this to appreciate it. For my own part, I decided to move on to other authors who engage me more, both emotionally and intellectually.
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Format: Hardcover
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 collection of short stories provided some very striking social commentaries. Flannery O'Connor included stories dealing with the subjects of relgion, race, and women. Every story indcluded in the work has one, if not all, of these ideas incorporated. Through her stories she tries to get people to think about the way things are. She tries to bring to light the darker sides of the issues she addresses. For example, The River tells about a little boy who ends up being baptized in a river. The rest of the story is focused on the boy's reaction to the experience and his actions as a result of the baptism.
This collection of stories, or commentaries, is also interesting because one isn't able to figure out the significance of the story until the very end. The ending of many of the stories is unexpected and even shocking. These are not "happily-ever-after" endings. The endings are very blunt and startling, yet they still leave the reader with a sense of closure. After I read the first couple of stories I realized how much my view of the story could change after reading the final paragraph or two. It made me very excited to get to the ending of each of the subsequent stories. The surprising endings usually helped to further eluminate O'Connor's view on the subject she was addressing. They were her final thoughts on the subject. They weren't words merely put down to effectively end a paragraph or story. They were words meant to cement an idea and leave a lasting impact in the reader's mind.
Additionally, the stories are very interesting when viewed in the context of the author's own life.
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Format: Paperback
If I were banished to a deserted isle and could take only one book of short stories with me, O'Connor's A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND would be it.This is as perfect as a work of American fiction gets, with the author hitting almost no false notes.
Some may be put off with O'Connor's themes - man's inability to save himself from damnation with intellect or pride (the proselytizing got worse in her last collection, EVERYTHING THAT RISES MUST CONVERGE) - but she crafts her stories with such humor and insight, the Catholicism is easy medicine to take. The best story in the collection? What a choice! My initial pick would have been "The Artificial Nigger," a Dantesque tale in which an old man learns the true meaning of grace and humility from his young grandson. Now I lean somewhat toward the book's longest story, "The Displaced Person." I've rarely come across a work in which theme and technique were integrated with such inevitability and power. In it a woman eschews anything that's not practical, including spirituality, and makes the great mistake of placing her faith in technology and her fellow man. And of course there's the title story, one of the funniest and scariest things you'll likely ever encounter.
Mix all this up with O'Connor's matchless ear for dialogue, and you have an American - no, a world - classic.
Once when one of O'Connor's mother's friends read one of Flannery's stories and was asked her opinion, the good woman replied tersely, "It just goes to show what some people will do." Indeed. And thank goodness she did it.
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Format: Paperback
Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a well-written series of stories all set in the Southern States. Her writing is very descriptive and she uses many rhetorical devices in her stories. She uses numerous simile phrases; "clinging like a catipillar", "eyes like nails", are just a few. Occasionally alliteration arises in her writing; "colored customers", "lost the lunch." These techniques make her writing much more enjoyable to read. Her overall writing is very clean and very descriptive. Nothing goes unnoticed. The dialogue in the stories is very realistic. It might be hard to read or understand sometimes but after reading over the difficult line several times, one can get the general idea or purpose of it.
This compilation of short stories has many recurring themes. Some of them include the family, marraige, loyalty, religion, and grace. Marraige is portrayed very interestingly. In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own", Mr. Shiftlet simply marries the poor, deaf girl and then leaves her. Flannery O'Connor seems to have some sort of bitterness towards the male gender. Almost all of the men that she has in her stories have underlying and even misleading motives. The young man in "Good Country People" is a Bible salesman but uses his persona to dupe unsuspecting females and then take trophies of his conquests. The father in "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" is shown to be an impatient, grumpy father with little intimate interaction with anyone. The only males in the stories that do not have some major character flaw are the grandfather and grandson in "The Artificial Nigger."
I did enjoy some parts of these stories. All too often, they were depressing and morose. The murder of the D.P. is so evily undertaken. I do see her overall purpose for these stories. The religious themes always have something to do with the story. It was an interesting book to read.
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