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on May 8, 2016
Either you adore her work or you hate it. For me, she is the favorite of all favorites. Dark and bizarre but at the same time hilariously funny. There is no author I have re-read as much. As weird as the characters are, I can see myself in most of them.
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on May 31, 2013
Ever since I came upon "The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor" (while serving in the military overseas) this collection has been an integral part of my life. All of the stories have something of value in them, even the weaker ones; but an attentive reading of the best ones will leave an indelible impression: for example, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find", "Good Country People", "A View of the Woods", "The Enduring Chill", "Revelation". Some readers find O'Connor's fiction depressing but I do not. I never have. I enjoy these stories, savor them and return to them again and again. An important point to consider is that O'Connor's characters are usually damnable but are rarely, if ever, actually damned. A theology of hope-for-all permeates her fiction.

Of all these stories, I think it's "The Displaced Person" that pleases me most. Its length is less than a novel but it has about it the moral, historical and spiritual proportions of a great epic. Its ironic rendering of human folly and ignorance comes across with patient objectivity and humor, and so free of contempt as to seem miraculous. It's a rare writer who can portray such rustic or insufferable characters so believably on the one hand; but on the other, free of the taint of hatred or even condescension.
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This is an excellent, wide ranging collection of short stories. There are so many really excellent and entertaining short stories in this work, I hardly know where to begin. It amazes me that Flannery O'Connor is not placed among the very top of American authors. But in truth, i almost never hear anyone mention her name.

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I was unfamiliar with Flannery O'Connor until the last few years. I attribute this to the fact that she is not discussed contemporaneously with other American iconic authors. I first heard of her when I was studying a book on literature by Harold Bloom and he discussed her work. I had begun reading work by William Faulkner and at first was unsettled by his style. Slowly I have begun to gain an appreciation the genre of "Southern Gothic". Flannery O'Connor has her own style which includes, but is not limited to Southern Gothic.

Flannery O'Connor has a wry sense of ironic humor which manifests itself throughout her work and can suddenly emerge out of nowhere and surprise the reader. An example of this is the short story "The Crop". At the same time some of her short stories stun me with their violence. Sometimes the two combine as at the end of "A Good Man is Hard to Find". I am not learned enough to know where to place Flannery O'Connor compared to other Southern Gothic authors, but she may be my favorite, with Harper Lee and Carson McCullers close behind.
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on July 13, 2015
My admiration for Flannery O'Connor knows no bounds. I bought this book despite already having the collections 'A Good Man is Hard to Find' and 'Everything That Rises Must Converge' on my Kindle. Together they make up most of this book. The blurb says there are 12 stories not in the famous collections. But there it was on a daily deal for $2.99. Sometimes I buy these things just to encourage the company to offer more. But O'Connor has a special place in my heart. She saw the South like nobody else. Her language is so precise as she lays out the messy lives of her characters! I can easily believe that lesser writers read her 'for inspiration'. If you haven't read Flannery O'Conor buy this book, even at full price. If you think you're 'creative', it may change your life.
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on October 12, 2012
So . . . how am I going to summarize over 30 short stories in one volume that run the gamut (what is a gamut anyway) of highly disturbing to deeply inspiring to truly annoying? Since Flannery O'Connor is in that "classic" category and I am not a literary critic, here is my advice to fellow "regular guy (or girl)" readers:

You can't make it through this volume without taking breaks away from this book. I plowed through half of it and that was too much. I had to go to Colorado and drive back home to New Jersey with my family to get it out of my head. So I would suggest alternating these stories with lighter fare, or trips to Colorado if you can.

The second half was easier for me . . . I think maybe because Flannery doesn't seem to kill off all of her characters in the second half . . .

The single story "Revelation" was worth all of the time I spent on this book. My second favorite was . . . oops . . . Amazon won't let me print the title . . .

I got this book out of my interest in Southern history and culture. What I got from it was incredibly deep, affecting, surreal yet crudely realistic portrayals of people in all of their hypocritical, self deceptive, self destructive, self righteous, vulgar, and funny ways. I didn't know people could write like this . . . or this well.
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on March 3, 2015
The greatest accomplishment of O'Connor's writing is that she makes you think. She begs you to look inside yourself as you read her stories and ask yourself hard questions IF you dare or are brave enough. Am I like that? Have I done that or said that or thought like that??? Then she asks you to destroy that wrong thinking. A great author with a deeply intellectual and spiritual mind that shows so clearly in these Simple Stories about life.
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on December 15, 2017
Gorgeous book. Came exactly as expected (there's a lot in here, so be aware the paper is thin). Flannery O'Connor is really a classic author and her stories will stay with you for ages. I never want to post whether I 'like' or 'dislike' certain aspects on the book on Amazon because everyone has their own taste, but O'Connor is an incredible author and would serve any adult reader well. Great quality.
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Close to six hundred pages of Flannery O'Connor stories, which might feel overwhelming in a print book but not on the Kindle, where it doesn't matter how long it is and everything is immediately accessible at the touch of a finger. This collection is a great example of why I've come to treasure my Kindle!

This Kindle version is also very well produced, with a superb introductory essay written in 1971 by Robert Giroux, the late editor and publisher (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The introduction can actually be read here on Amazon by using the 'Look inside' feature, worth the time for someone considering purchasing the book.

One minor quibble - this volume does not, strictly speaking, include all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, omitting the posthumously published (1988) An Afternoon in the Woods (which for some reason is not included in either of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux short story collections of her works, this otherwise complete collection, or the less comprehensive Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories).

In fact, the only thing more complete is probably the Library of America volume, which does contain An Afternoon in the Woods, along with all of her other short stories, both novels, and a selection of her essays and letters, altogether 1300 pages and no doubt a terrific volume for the bookshelf, but not available for the Kindle, as far as I know: Flannery O'Connor : Collected Works : Wise Blood / A Good Man Is Hard to Find / The Violent Bear It Away / Everything that Rises Must Converge / Essays & Letters (Library of America).

With respect to the writing itself, I am exploring it now but know that it will be superb. The lead review, by Mark Eremite, was particularly helpful, not that I required much convincing with respect to the value of her writing and this collection.

Flannery O'Connor's two novels are also available in similar Kindle editions:

Wise Blood

The Violent Bear It Away
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on May 10, 2014
Flannery O'Connor writes telling vignettes with conviction and religious fervor. She tells tales of the consequences of small minds—minds who would institutionalize their prejudice to insulate their world in a limited reality. This collection of her best short stories will stick with you. Her characters are uncanny and their world described with excruciating detail. My fear that her works might be avoided or censored in our politically correct society due to her language, was affirmed when amazon censored my previous review. Words shock. Racism shocked and angered Flannery, and her words pass along that distaste of prejudice to the reader. The title of my favorite piece—sanitized through a P.C. filter— would be called "The Artificial African-American", and not have the same impact that Miss O'Connor intended.
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on June 30, 2015
If anyone ever repeats the fiction that Americans don't get irony, please direct them to this collection. A Good Man is Hard to Find, featuring bumping into a serial killer, and The Life you Save May Be Your Own, in which a conman makes off with a widow's afflicted daughter, before dumping her for her Momma's car, are just two examples of a master short-story writer at work. The stories are heavy going though because the Southern grotesques she deals in are so real, as real as a white supremacist almost refraining from killing nine black parishioners because they were so nice to him.
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