March 22, 2015

4/3/15 - A Book of Short Stories

(We're going to pretend that these were also written on time. Thanks.)

For the first Challenge book of the rainy month of March, we're going with a classic - A Good Man Is Hard to Find by the inimitable Flannery O'Connor.

There's really not much to say about O'Connor's writing. If you've read it, you know what it's like; if you haven't, there's no way to describe it. Her stories are sparse, minimalistic, almost inconsequential. A lot of them are almost impossible to pick out meanings for. But they are hugely powerful. Her control of language and characters is frankly astonishing. And the way she draws you in, half by enchantment and half by revulsion, is... honestly, I can't think of anyone who has ever done the like.

Some of O'Connor's best stories are in this edition, such as the title story and "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" and "Good Country People." My personal favorite was "The River," which was not quite as opaque and difficult as some of the others, but still so incredibly punch-to-the-gut. I've loved her work ever since I read "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" about two years ago, though this is the first full collection of stories I've read by her. I'm glad to report that the majority of her work is equally fantastic.

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