I'm an indie author and a scribbler of inane babble. I talk about books I've read/liked. Or at least, that's the plan.
Most of the reviews will be considered "mini-reviews." Usually, it's mostly my reaction to what I've been reading. There are people who are far better at doing full and helpful reviews. But I still have fun doing them, and hope you enjoy them!
Flannery O’Connor never ceases to amaze me, and her last collection of stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge is a masterpiece. I always feel giddy when I run into a good short story collection, especially when I find one where I ended up enjoying every single story. O’Connor has a knack for writing about really horrible people and situations, but she does so in a way where it’s fascinating, and you can’t look away even if you want to.
If you’re familiar with her past works, then you should know what to expect. Most of her stories deal with faith and race, and also a great deal of irony. Take for instance the son in the title story, where his mother’s outright racist views offend him so much that he craves to make connections with black people to enrage her, not realizing that his own motives are in fact racist since he looks at these people as an opportunity to anger his mother, and not as fellow human beings. A father in “The Lame Shall Enter First” is so determined to do good in the eyes of others and even dedicates himself to a troubled youth—failing to show that same amount of care and understanding to his very own son. These are just a few examples, but you get the point. O’Connor’s stories are filled with dark humor, tragedy, and chilling surprises. Very few of these stories end happily.
Many times I laughed. Many times I gasped. I loathed these characters, yet I still needed to find out everything about them through the eyes of O’Connor. Each story was engaging and awesome. This is a very solid and tightly constructed collection. One of the best I’ve read in a while.
I enjoyed every story, but I have my favorites:
Everything That Rises Must Converge
A View of the Woods
The Comforts of Home
The Lame Shall Enter First (my overall favorite)
The audiobook is great, too. It’s read by Bronson Pinchot, Karen White, Mark Bramhall, and Lorna Rayer. I was familiar with Rayer and Bramhall from the audiobook versions of Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood and Stone Mattress: Nine Tales. I was also familiar with Pinchot, as he gave a flawless reading of O’Connor’s Wise Blood (he may be my favorite in the bunch). Every reader does a fantastic job.
Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor is a masterpiece, and has now joined my list of favorite short story collections. It’s way up there, in fact. Be warned, O’Connor won’t please everybody. Her subject matter can be cruel and unapologetic, the language harsh and even at times infuriating. But that’s the power of O’Connor. You’re outraged, shocked, and in awe. All at the same time. Very few authors can do that to me. I will definitely revisit this collection many times over.