THIS POST was supposed to be a gushing paean to Flannery O’Connor’s astoundingly good debut novel, Wise Blood, whose audio version I concluded listening to on my way to work yesterday.
O’Connor’s masterful capture of the mid-century South — of its deeply ingrained racism, its dusty sleepiness, its barely hidden corruption — is startling. None of the characters is likable, though in O’Connor’s confident hands they attain a cockeyed dignity. Each has his or her own unique voice, and the author handles multiple points of view deftly.
The religious overtones for which she became known are already fully present here; indeed, the book turns on them. Despite her relative youth, O’Connor offers them to the reader forthrightly and without apology.
I hadn’t read her since a short story or two in college, and Wise Blood made me wonder what took me so long.
But what grabbed the most was one of the final sentences I heard: Continue reading