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Gooch (City Poet:The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara) offers a surprisingly bloodless biography of Flannery O'Connor (1925–1964), who, despite the author's diligent scholarship, remains enigmatic. She emerges only in her excerpted letters, speeches and fiction, where she is as sharp-tongued, censorious, piteously observant and mordantly funny as her beloved short stories. There is little genuinely interesting new material, but there are small gems—the full story of O'Connor's friendship with the mysterious A. of her letters, for instance. Perhaps mindful of the writer's dislike of being exposed in print, Gooch errs on the side of delicacy; he does not sufficiently explore her attitudes toward blacks and how the early onset of lupus left her sequestered on her mother's Georgia farm, without the male companionship she craved. Instead, he plumbs O'Connor's fiction for buried fragments of her daily life, and the revelations are hardly astonishing. Readers looking for more startling tidbits will be disappointed by this account that brims with the quiet satisfactions the author took in her industry (I sit all day typing and grinning like the Cheshire cat), her faith, friends and stoic approach to a debilitating disease. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Feb. 25)
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Drawing on recently unsealed letters and an impressive array of interviews, Gooch provides the first major biography of Flannery O�Connor since she died in 1964, at the age of thirty-nine. He presents a writer influenced by the early death of her father and the retreat from city life to country; an Irish Catholic upbringing that evolved into an adult fascination with theology; and a Southern small-town culture whose matrons, including O�Connor�s mother, were happy for her success but put off by the unladylike nature of her work��Everybody here shakes my hand but nobody reads my stories.� Though she spent time in both the Midwest and the Northeast, lupus narrowed the circle of her life to a dairy farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she collected exotic birds. Gooch�s account is meticulous, but O�Connor�s sedate, chaste life is pale in comparison with her fantastic fiction�a contrast that underscores her inscrutable genius.
Gooch's biography of Flannery O'Connor is a beautiful testament to one of the greatest short-story writers of the 20th century. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matthew Dougherty
Book is great so far. Again, I have to say I did not expect the book to be a library discard. It was from DeVry University in Florida. Read morePublished 2 months ago by WJS
Excellent insight into the life and times of a great American woman novelist.Published 2 months ago by Rosemary Chinnici
I enjoyed the book so much. It is well-written and researched. I became even more fond of Flannery O'Connor as I read this book. Read morePublished 7 months ago by medievalReader
I bought and read this book when it came out. I then decided not to write a review. I have now reread it and think I can write a review of sorts. Read morePublished 13 months ago by N. Ravitch
I really enjoyed this birth-to-death biography of Flannery O'Connor. I was introduced to O'Connor in my college writing classes by the matchless Dr. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Andrew Gilmore
Find her books interesting. Grew up in the "south", but not too far south, so some stories are definitely recognized.Published 16 months ago by willie b