This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O’Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment. The title story is a tragicomedy about social pride, racial bigotry, generational conflict, false liberalism, and filial dependence. The protagonist, Julian Chestny, is hypocritically disdainful of his mother’s prejudices, but his smug selfishness is replaced with childish fear when she suffers a fatal stroke after being struck by a black woman she has insulted out of oblivious ignorance rather than malice. Similarly, “The Comforts of Home” is about an intellectual son with an Oedipus complex. Driven by the voice of his dead father, the son accidentally kills his sentimental mother in an attempt to murder a harlot. The other stories are “A View of the Woods,” “Parker’s Back,” “The Enduring Chill,” “Greenleaf,” “The Lame Shall Enter First,” “Revelation,” and “Judgment Day.”
Flannery O’Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinizes territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.
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"I'd read two of these for classes before, so I decided to finish the collection. They're all incredibly brutal in that classic O'Connor style, and in some ways I find her assumption of characters in narrative a bit presumptuous. But as difficult a pill as they her stories are to swallow, there are also some genuinely good messages that come out of them. Nobody makes an epiphany in a short story as boldly perceptive, bitingly honest, or brilliantly designed as Flannery - and nobody epiphanies that contain such, well, epiphany in the original sense of the word."
Alex (4 out of 5 stars)
About Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. She was awarded the Best of the National Book Awards for Fiction in 2009, and she was the first fiction writer born in the twentieth century to have her works collected and published by the Library of America. When she died at the age of thirty-nine, America lost one of its most gifted writers at the height of her powers.
About the Narrators
Bronson Pinchot, Audible’s Narrator of the Year for 2010, has won Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Awards, AudioFile Earphones Awards, Audible’s Book of the Year Award, and Audie Awards for several audiobooks, including Matterhorn, Wise Blood, Occupied City, and The Learners. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale, he is an Emmy- and People’s Choice-nominated veteran of movies, television, and Broadway and West End shows. His performance of Malvolio in Twelfth Night was named the highlight of the entire two-year Kennedy Center Shakespeare Festival by the Washington Post. He attended the acting programs at Shakespeare & Company and Circle-in-the-Square, logged in well over 200 episodes of television, starred or costarred in a bouquet of films, plays, musicals, and Shakespeare on Broadway and in London, and developed a passion for Greek revival architecture.
Karen White has been narrating audiobooks of all genres since 1999. Honored to be included in AudioFile’s Best Voices, she’s also a four-time Audie Finalist and has earned multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards and Library Journal starred reviews.
Mark Bramhall has won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, more than thirty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has repeatedly been named by AudioFile magazine and Publishers Weekly among their “Best Voices of the Year.” He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.
Lorna Raver, named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Year, has received numerous Audie Award nominations and many AudioFile Earphones Awards. She has appeared on stage in New York, Los Angeles, and regional theaters around the country. Among her many television credits are NYPD Blue, Judging Amy, Boston Legal, ER, and Star Trek. She starred in director Sam Raimi’s film Drag Me to Hell.