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The Complete Stories Paperback – January 1, 1971


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reissue edition (January 1, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374515360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374515362
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"What we lost when she died is bitter. What we have is astonishing: the stories burn brighter than ever, and strike deeper." --Walter Clemons, Newsweek

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.

More About the Author

Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1925, the only child of Catholic parents. In 1945 she enrolled at the Georgia State College for Women. After earning her degree she continued her studies on the University of Iowa's writing program, and her first published story, 'The Geranium', was written while she was still a student. Her writing is best-known for its explorations of religious themes and southern racial issues, and for combining the comic with the tragic. After university, she moved to New York where she continued to write. In 1952 she learned that she was dying of lupus, a disease which had afflicted her father. For the rest of her life, she and her mother lived on the family dairy farm, Andalusia, outside Millidgeville, Georgia. For pleasure she raised peacocks, pheasants, swans, geese, chickens and Muscovy ducks. She was a good amateur painter. She died in the summer of 1964.

Customer Reviews

Deep earthy strong insightful vivid imagery, Ms O'Connor uses words to carefully paint a richly detailed picture in each story.
P Hawks
I found the stories very enjoyable because they are so well written, but they are somewhat depressing, especially when read one right after the other.
Mary Jo Beall
A great many people are familiar with Flannery O'Connor, and she is universally regarded as one of the best American short story writers.
Gord Wilson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on May 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Grace changes us, and change is painful."

O'Connor, a delicate Southern Catholic who lived a third of her life ravaged by lupus, was certainly acquainted with pain. Her stories reveal this much. Many readers and reviewers may wonder if she doesn't take a bit of artistic license with her definition of "grace," though. Considering her religious ideologies (which aren't hard to figure out, even after reading just one of these deliciously dark little tales), her unsubtle brutality isn't so unexpected. Look God directly in the face, the Bible says, and it completely and utterly destroys you.

It's safe to say that even if her characters don't always get an unobstructed view of their Creator, they all at least catch a glimpse. O'Connor is not shy about her beliefs, and in fact, her unswerving social sensibilities are part of what make her writing so delectable. Read closely, because every single detail is important and potent. And just like the Bible she adheres to so fervently, the endings to her stories are forecasted unapologetically by every word that comes before them.

This in no way ruins the power of those conclusions. Read a hundred interviews with a hundred writers, and I guarantee you that many of them will mention, as inspiration, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." Sit down for twenty minutes with the hilarious and heart-breaking "River," and ask yourself if your foreknowledge didn't rob the final lines of their shuddering ferocity. Visit "A Displaced Person," meet "Enoch and the Gorilla," stay for awhile with "Greenleaf," and take a good long look at "A View of the Woods.
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135 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Maclen VINE VOICE on April 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I studied Flannery O'Connor in college and wrote a thesis on her works. Her stories were mesmerizing and riveting, and I have re-read them many times since. She was firmly rooted in the Southern grotesque, but she was able to transcend the stark terrain of the South and present remarkable studies of human foibles and the self searching for meaning and redemption.

O'Connor had the uncanny gift to describe people, surroundings and life with astonishingly spare prose. Her genius was that she could reveal the mystery and manners in us all. Of particular note are "Revelation" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find." You must read this collection, and I promise that her stories will speak to you for years to come.
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93 of 104 people found the following review helpful By SEP on March 25, 2002
Format: 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!
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71 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
The first half of the 20th century. Ask yourself about the short stories. Everybody wrote them. Ask yourself abut the best: Eudora Welty, Fredric Brown, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carson McCullers, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway. And there is one name that is simply the best, against any competitors, against any subject matter, against any sex: Flannery O'Connor. I only hope that she knows that 35 years after her death her "The Complete Stories" is still is a best selling compilation and one of the most recommended books I have ever seen. They try to tie her to the south. They try to label her a woman's writer. They haven't read her. Flannery O'Connor is the best 20th century short story writer. Period. AND, she also wins the prize for best final lines in her stories. Didn't know there was a prize for best final lines? I have invented it.
"Then she recognized the feeling again, a little roll. It was if it were not her stomach. It was if it were out nowhere in nothing, out nowhere, resting and waiting, with plenty of time."
"The sherrif's brain worked instantly like a calculating machine. As he scrutinized the scene, further insights were flashed to him. He was accustomed to enter upon scenes that were not as bad as he had hoped to find them, but this one met his expectations."
"Mr. Paradise's head appeared from time to time on the surface of the water. Finally, far downstream, the old man rose like some ancient water monster and stood empty-handed, staring with his dull eyes as far down the river as he could see."
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Faulknernut on May 19, 2002
Format: 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.
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