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.
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104 internautes sur 108 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Uncovers the gross underbelly of the Southern mystique28 septembre 2002
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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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Ten weird, surprising, tense, comical, and often unforgettable stories8 octobre 2005
D. Cloyce Smith
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A family on vacation encounters a cold-blooded gang, a gullible and naive housewife is struck by a mysterious (but hilariously common) "illness," a 104-year-old Civil War veteran is a featured guest at his 62-year-old daughter's high school graduation--each of O'Connor's stories portray characters in improbable, bizarre, and ultimately harrowing situations. These tales are weird, surprising, tense, comical, and often unforgettable--but what exactly do they all mean?
O'Connor was often frustrated by the sense that readers and reviewers misunderstood both the intents and the themes of her stories. In her first letter to a fan from Atlanta who became a frequent correspondent, she complained that "she was mighty tired of reading reviews that call 'A Good Man' brutal and sarcastic" and that "when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer has hold of the wrong horror."
I think she sells herself short with this assessment, however. Her stories are brutal, they certainly can be sarcastic--and the fact that readers confuse the horror is confirmation of the ambiguous and harrowing (and, yes, Gothic) underworld her characters inhabit. The reason her stories are classics of the form--and the ten stories in this collection are among the best I've ever read--is not only because they are creepy and grotesque, or because she is the master of the ominous set-up and the unexpected ending, but also because after you've found out what happened you'll probably lie awake wondering why it happened.
"Christian realism" was how O'Connor described her spiritual stance; "I write the way I do because (not though) I am a Catholic. . . . I am a Catholic peculiarly possessed of the modern consciousness." Decades of critics have argued over the theological underpinnings of her fiction, but an assessment by a fellow author named George Clay helped me make sense of her themes--and the author herself approvingly summarized his remarks in her own correspondence: "[Clay's] interesting comment was that the best of my work sounded like the Old Testament would sound if it were being written today--in as much (partly) as the character's relation is directly with God rather than with other people's." It's not hard to find the ghosts of Job, Ruth, Samson, Esther, Isaac, Daniel, and others in all of her stories.
Whether these echoes make for good theology will depend on the reader's own spiritual inclinations--but they certainly make good reading. My favorite piece in this collection is "Good Country People," probably O'Connor's most famous (excepting the title story). Describing a lonely woman with an artificial leg who is seduced by a traveling Bible salesman, the story veers into an inexplicable climax that is both devastating and melancholy. And those two words pretty much sum up any of the stories you'll find here.
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Classic American Fiction Straight from the Bible Belt17 mai 2006
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The ten short stories in this collection are definitely masterpieces. Neither too long or too short, the stories suggest whole worlds, entire lives (and deaths) with just the right number of verbal brushstrokes. Never preachy or self-righteous, they are yet infused with a deep, complex spirituality that seems to consist of an eccentric and compelling hybrid of Roman Catholicism's quiet mysticism and Southern Protestantism's revivalism and rigor. That said, this is not "chicken soup for the soul"...pretty much every story has a dark edge, and in most of them the author gets you with this impending sense of dread that things are going to go to heck in a hand basket, the only question is how (this makes the book awfully hard to put down, by the way). And she has an incredible talent of capturing the rhythms and characteristic expressions of Southern English without too much Mark Twain twang. In short, this is hands down a classic of American literature.
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Best southern author that ever lived!4 juin 2005
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If you are a fan of the grotesque and morbidly humorous, Flannery O'Connor is your girl! I cannot seem to get enough of this woman, and knowing that she was a devout Roman Catholic woman writing around the time of the 50's is even more rewarding considering she was far from the "June Cleaver" type. As a matter of fact, her short stories are still shocking today, which is really saying something. It is not hard to believe that she was influenced both by the Bible AND the Greek tragedies. Furthermore, the fact that she was sick with lupus and confined to crutches (therefore having to live with her mother) explains much of her sarcasm in stories like "Good Country People" and "The Life You Save May Be Your Own." It is sad to think of what serious readers missed out on because of her early death (died at age 39 of lupus) but let me tell you something, if you have a thing for black comedy, O'Connor cannot be topped. You will literally find yourself laughing one minute and covering your mouth with a gasp in the next. She is FANTASTIC!! This is the type of collection you can truly enjoy all the way through. "A Good Man is Hard to Find," "The Life You Save Might Be Your Own," and "Good Country People" are three of the best short stories ever written by man or woman. Buy this book!!
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Provacative yet, disturbing31 octobre 2001
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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.