Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. She is considered one of the greatest Catholic Fiction writers of the 20th Century. She is known as a short story writer, but wrote two novels and many essays on being a Catholic Writer and the craft of writing. During the 1950s and early 1960s she wrote more than a hundred book reviews for two Catholic diocesan newspapers in Georgia. The full collection can be found in The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews. Flannery O'Connor died in 1964, from Lupus, at the height of her powers as a writer. Novels: Wise Blood and The Violent Bear it Away; Short Stories: A Good Man is Hard to Find, Revelation, etc.; On Writing: Mystery and Manners; Book Reviews: The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews.

Book Reviews by Flannery O'Connor

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The Devil's Advocate

Reviewed by Flannery O'Connor, December 12, 1959

The Devil's Advocate is a swiftly moving novel concerned with a priest's return to spiritual reality in the last few months of his life.  Msgr. Meridith, dying of cancer, is sent to a small Italian mountain village to investigate for beatification a man murdered fourteen years before by Communist partisans. In the course of his investigation, he learns to care for souls, to become a pastor in the real sense, and to meet death in the act of trying to save another.  Parallel to this interest is the investigation itself and the q...

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Morte d'Urban

Reviewed by Flannery O'Connor, November 27, 1963

Mr. Powers' novel, long awaited, has arrived and it is a fine novel, altogether better than the chapters published separately in the New Yorker, the Critic, and Esquire had led to expect. These chapters were marked by a certain sameness that brooded no good for the future book, but the whole proves to be greater than the sum of its parts and moves forward without tedium to a profound conclusion.

The hero, Father Urban, is a go-getting priest in a non-go-getting order.  His mission is to be the "bet...

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The Transgressor

Reviewed by Flannery O'Connor, May 3, 1958

Spokesman for the deliver-us-from-gloom school of Catholicism criticism have found that this novel commits the unpardonable sin: it is depressing.  It presents the situation of a young girl, innocent and lacking all spiritual resources, who conceives a passion for a man who not only cannot love her but gradual realization of evil until the point when, penetrated by what remains a purely mental knowledge of it, she kills herself.  She is surrounded throughout by a cast of characters of whom the best lack power to help her and the worst contrive to fo...

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The Malefactors

Reviewed by Flannery O'Connor, March 31, 1956

 

In a critical essay called "Nature and Grace in Caroline Gordon," Louise Cowan has written that "though the surface of her novels... moves toward destruction and despair, the current in their depths moves in a strangely different direction." In her latest novel, "The Malefactors," this current comes openly to the surface and is seen as the sudden emergence of the underground rivers of the mind into the clear spring of grace.  The novel's protagonist, a poet who is not producing, is provoked by a ...

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