Sunday, February 04, 2007

revisiting Flannery O'Connor country

In Search of Flannery O’Connor - New York Times--One of my favorite writers gets play in the TIMES today. I found Mary Flannery O'Connor fascinating in the middle '60s, first reading her right after she died and before I ever lived in Georgia, and then even more trenchant after my "tours of duty" in Columbus/Phenix City and Atlanta. This is a long article, but worth it. Here's a sample:

Somewhere outside Toomsboro is where, in O’Connor’s best-known short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” a family has a car accident and a tiresome old grandmother has an epiphany. The fog of petty selfishness that has shrouded her life clears when she feels a sudden spasm of kindness for a stranger, a brooding prison escapee who calls himself the Misfit.

Of course, that’s also the moment that he shoots her in the chest, but in O’Connor’s world, where good and evil are as real as a spreading puddle of blood, it amounts to a happy ending. The grandmother is touched by grace at the last possible moment, and she dies smiling.

“She would of been a good woman,” the Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

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