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Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories (FSG Classics) Paperback – January 1, 1965
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“The current volume of posthumous stories is the work of a master, a writer's writer-- but a reader's too-- an incomparable craftsman who wrote, let it be said, some of the finest stories in our language.” ―Newsweek
“All in all they comprise the best collection of shorter fiction to have been published in America during the past twenty years.” ―Theodore Solotaroff, Book Week
“When I read Flannery O'Connor, I do not think of Hemingway, or Katherine Anne Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles. What more can you say for a writer? I write her name with honor, for all the truth and all the craft with which she shows man's fall and his dishonor.” ―Thomas Merton
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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Top Customer Reviews
Do you want to know something, though? The book has a pretty good reason to shout. Although it's been months since I finally read the collection, it hasn't quieted down. Moreover, I've grown appreciative of its company.
_Everything that Rises..._ was released after O'Connor's death. The hallmark story leads a parade of nine others, a veritable Mardi-Gras of intellectuals, petulants, vindictives, intolerants, and misconceivers, all down a path toward redemption, and thankfully, all with their shirts _on_ (except for that one guy with the tattoo, of course).
"Theology--ugh. Stop saying 'redemption'," some readers holler. Fortunately, O'Connor's theology is well-masked. In fact, I had to read her biography, look at her essays, and dig with a backhoe before I located any theology. But I found it. It was hiding there in plain sight, and once I saw it, I wondered that I had ever missed it. I had trouble locating her theology because O'Connor has a habit of flaying peoples' minds to reveal their darker side. And when you flay somebody's mind, well, to quote Lady Macbeth, "Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?" Wait now--before you shout "Violence--ugh. Stop saying 'flay'," I need to tell you about her work.
O'Connor uses no words of mystery.Read more ›
The stories, for the most part, take place in the rural South, where we hear the bleating of sheep, the snorting of pigs, and the mooing of cows. There is a narrow, but effective, variety of characters portrayed, from landowner to squatter, from black to white. The stories simmer with a religious flavor, and those who are religious seem to be either haughty and self-righteous or hopelessly naive. The religious bigots think their medicine is best and should be taken by everyone, while they themselves are really the ones "in need of a physician." The intellectuals weave throughout a story or two, and like some of the religious ones, they treat those around them with disdain and downright viciousness. The characters seldom remain unscathed, however. Divine justice usually swoops down and executes revenge upon them, either directly or indirectly. This revenge often tends toward the grotesque, and I often finished a story with my jaw hanging open. Now I can't wait to digest her complete collection.
One of O'Connor's primary mentors for her approach to fiction was, surprisingly, James Joyce (and, specifically, "Dubliners"), and his influence is nowhere more obvious than in this book. In one story ("The Enduring Chill"), she pokes fun at Joyce's worldview in an exchange between an artist and a priest. She was surely alienated by Joyce's un-Catholic sentiments, but she acknowledged his influence in her essay "The Nature and Aim of Fiction": "The major difference between the novel as written in the eighteenth century and the novel as we usually find it today is the disappearance from it of the author. . . . By the time we get to James Joyce, the author is nowhere to be found in the book. The reader is on his own, floundering around in the thoughts of various unsavory characters."
"Unsavory characters" are, without doubt, O'Connor's specialty. Yet, is O'Connor effectively able to remove herself from her narratives? Do the stories in this collection succeed, as she intended, as a thematically linked sequence?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's hard to write a review since the sample does not inspire one to purchase. The sample extends through the introduction and does not allow one to preview any aspects of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rob_B
Her writing is excellent. I only regret that all of her stories end on a sour note. There are no happy endings in this collection. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J. Cloud
Nobody does Southern Gothic like her. Not her best collection, but still miles ahead of the competition. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Litfan
I always think that after an author dies, and the work doesn't die with them, my opinion of the work is irrelevant. Read morePublished 7 months ago by P. J. Keating