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Everything That Rises Must Converge Library Binding – July 10, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Library Binding, July 10, 2008
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Editorial Reviews


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. --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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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. She is also the author of The Violent Bear It Away and Wise Blood. The first fiction writer born in the twentieth century to have her works collected and published by the Library of America, O'Connor is a member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame and won the Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award for a first novel. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Library Binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439512906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439512906
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,102,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Carpenter on June 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
My copy of _Everything That Rises Must Converge_ has been shouting at me from high up on my bookshelf for several years now. I don't know when I picked up this book; in the dark ages, I suppose, back when I appreciated no book more than the Bible, and most books less than Louis L'Amour's _Sackett's Land_. But my book keeps yelling. "Hey ...!" it says. "I'm getting booklice up here! What are you reading that [book] for ...?"--Don't be too alarmed. All of O'Connor's books shout at readers that way.
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.
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Format: Paperback
What's the difference between a good and bad story? One will cause you to ponder its message long after you read it while the other will do nothing more than fill time. I did my share of pondering after reading each of Flannery's stories in this collection.
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.
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Format: Paperback
For her first collection of stories ("A Good Man Is Hard to Find"), O'Connor gathered an assortment that had been previously published in magazines; the result was a fascinating, but unsystematic, potpourri of experimentation and originality. As she prepared the stories for "Everything That Rise Must Converge," however, she instead developed each selection under a thematic framework. (Only the last two stories, which were literally rushed to completion as she lay on her deathbed, seem to stand a bit apart.) The collection as a whole, even more than her previous fiction, emphasizes the absurdities and monstrosities of everyday life and the tension between the demands of the self and the mystery of the divine presence.

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?
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By A Customer on November 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I nearly fell out of my chair when I began reading this collection. I then read it cover-to-cover in a single sitting. It is difficult to describe O'Connor's style, simply because it is so infinitely unique. "Visceral" is a start, but it falsely suggests an explicit rendering of detail and emotion. Rather, the stories are written with an odd, and even ethereal, detachment. Each story surprises and frightens you; and, as you finish one, you find that you must read the next. It is a strange spell. The characters seem so exaggerated, yet palpable and familiar. I do wonder why Flannery O'Connor isn't read more. Her writing is so taut and finely tuned; her stories disturbing, haunting, and ineffably sad.
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