One of America's Greatest Fiction Writers
This week I'm paying tribute to Flannery O'Connor. It's not her birthday or any special anniversary, but recently I finished a biography of this author. The book was part of my Holiday reading list during my Christmas vacation this past December. I started reading this book last September (2010) and finally finished it in May. It was not a book I read straight through, but one that I kept going back to between other books I've been reading.
If you're not familiar with Flannery O'Connor's work, I highly recommend that you check out her short stories. Some call her America's greatest Catholic author, while others rank her among the top figures of Southern Literature. Though her work most often deals with religious themes and typically takes place in the South, the stories are often bizarre, horrific, and even ludicrous. This literature goes beyond any restriction of denomination or region and is truly universal in theme. She is a must-read for any student of American Literature or anyone who appreciates writing of the highest caliber.
My Commentary on Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch
A Life of Flannery O'Connor
We follow Flannery through her college days during which she aspires to become a cartoonist, but through encouragement from those who recognize her writing talent she is accepted into the Iowa Writer's Workshop where she develops associations with literary notables who assist her on her road to publication. As her reputation flourishes in the writing community, she lives a life of modest literary fame and high acclaim from many. Her struggle with the disease of lupus brings her life to an early end in 1964 when she is only 39 years of age.
Brad Gooch has done a commendably thorough job of researching O'Connor's life through letters, newspaper and magazine articles, and interviews with those who knew her. The detail at times is nearly overwhelming, but all the better to bring us close to the author. Of particular interest to those who are authors or who have aspirations of one day being published is O'Connor's writing journey and what influenced her stories.
Flannery O'Connor may not be a household name, but her work has exerted a wide influence on modern literature. One can find great similarities to O'Connor in the work of authors such as Cormac McCarthy. The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction is given yearly by the University of Georgia Press. Over the past fifty years hundreds of articles and dissertations have appeared discussing her work. Since her death her stature as a literary giant has continued to grow. Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor provides an in depth look at who this author is and where she came from.
Here's a video tribute to Flannery O'Connor made by a young lady by the name of Lauren Cater:
On Wednesday I will be giving some of my thoughts on Flannery O'Connor's short story collection Everything That Rises Must Converge. I hope you will return for that. You can find some of Flannery O'Connor's stories online. Or better yet, purchase one or all of her books--they are well worth having in your library collection.
Have you read any of Flannery O'Connor's works? What's your opinion?
If anyone is having withdrawals from the A to Z Challenge and is looking for another Challenge that will be a bit lighter than the April Challenge, my niece Stephanie from What's So Random is inviting everyone to join her in a short Challenge that will begin this Wednesday. You can read about it here and let Stephanie know you heard it at Tossing It Out.