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Three by Flannery O'Connor (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – August 21, 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful. -Flannery O'Connor
Wise Blood is Flannery O'Connor's grotesque picaresque tale of Hazel Motes of Eastrod, Tennessee; a young man who has come to the city of Taulkinham bringing with him an enormous resentment of Christianity and the clergy. He is in an open state of rebellion against the rigidity of his itinerant preacher grandfather and his strict mother. So when one of the first people he encounters is the blind street preacher Asa Hawks and Motes finds himself both attracted and repelled by Hawks' bewitching fifteen year old daughter Lily Sabbath, he reacts by establishing his own street ministry. He founds the "Church without Christ":
Listen you people, I'm going to take the truth with me wherever I go. I'm going to preach it to whoever'll listen at whatever place. I'm going to preach there was no Fall because there was nothing to fall from and no Redemption because there was no Fall and no Judgment because there wasn't the first two. Nothing matters but that Jesus was a liar.
As you can guess the church is singularly unsuccessful, although he does attract a couple of other crackpots: Enoch Emery a young man who works at the zoo and longs for a kind word from anybody; and Onnie Jay Holy, yet another rival preacher who believes Motes when he says he's found a "new jesus."
While at first this cast of bizarre characters, ranging from merely repugnant to truly evil, and the scenes of physical, moral and spiritual degradation through which they pass all seem to be just a little too much, the reader is carried along by O'Connor's sure hand for dark comedy. The book is very funny.Read more ›
Granted, some stories do not leave the reader with the idea of grace that Hazel Motes attains at the end of Wise Blood. O'Connor, herself, said that the old man in "A View of the Woods" is pretty as close to damned as any of her characters. But most of characters, we know, are saved, no matter how pretentious (the woman in "Revelation" for example), or misguided in thought.
The stories, despite their ugliness, are almost transcendent in where they leave the reader. In short, they are beautiful, and a testament to her faith.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wise Blood was a very strange and often perverted tale, I don't think I will reat the other two Flannery books.Published 11 months ago by Thomas H. West
This book is a good Flannery "starter kit," containing three of her most well-known (and well-loved!) stories. It makes a great addition to any personal library!Published 24 months ago by syd
If you've never read any of Flannery O'Connor's works, "Three By Flannery O'Connor" is the best place to start. Read morePublished on December 21, 2010 by Fr. Charles Erlandson
Flannery O'Connor's characters suffer and suffer, but it's comedic because they die in the end. Her characters uniformly rage against God and organized religion, or else commit... Read morePublished on March 22, 2008 by Bill Slocum