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Flannery O’Connor

07/14/2010

Slowly working my way through A Good Man Is Hard to Find. I’d probably be branded with literary heresy at my small liberal arts school in GA since hitherto this summer, I’ve never read ANY of Ms. O’Connor’s stuff. Georgia folks take great pride in their own and only recently have I joined a sort of pseudo-GA clan by being at Covenant. Also everyone mentions her in class so I figured I should fill in this gap while I have all this reading time.

I’ll admit that I was a little shaken by the title story (but that’s the point, isn’t it?). I just finished “An Artificial Nigger” and so far, that has had the most imagery with which I could match up my own memories. Reflections of faces in train windows, the moon turning everything silver, the moment when mercy burns up your pride.  The piece made me ache for a train ride and reminded me of how Luke and I looked wistfully into the cars at the Chattanooga Choo Choo (especially the dining car part of the story).

As much as I like zooming through books during summer so that I can write down the title on my “Books Read” list, I have to savor these by necessity. They exhaust me. Reading more than one at a time (when  you’re not somewhere like a doctor/dentist office and you have nothing else to read except parenting magazines) is like gobbling down pieces of cheesecake–it tastes good but you know you’re going to have the worst stomachache and with each extra bite you feel your stomach throbbing. Except in your brain, where words get skipped over and the story gets taken for granted so that it gets finished.

When there’s so much to read it can be so difficult to give writers a careful, respectful read, but O’Connor demands it–and thankfully, delivers.

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