Posts Tagged: Flannery O’Connor

Pulling the Strings of Coincidence

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Coincidence often gives fiction its chance to mean something.

Over at Lit Hub, in an excerpt from her new book The Kite and the String, Alice Mattison walks us through brilliantly executed coincidences in E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End, Flannery O’Connor’s story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” and Andre Dubus’s story “The Winter Father.” She argues for action and resonance, an alignment of a character’s inner life with outside eventfulness.

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Reading Mixtape feature

Anna March’s Reading Mixtape #25: In a Daze, ‘Cause I Found God

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I’m an atheist who often carries crystal rosary beads and a relic of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. My grandparents, Mary and Gus, bought them both at the Vatican where they had traveled to see Pope Paul VI canonize Mother Seton. The rosary beads were a gift to me some months later when I made my first communion and thirty years later my grandmother would give me the relic, which I’ve had an odd fixation on since I first glanced at it as a seven-year-old.

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The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Louise Erdrich

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The esteemed author talks about the themes of justice, atonement, and reparation in her fifteenth novel, LaRose, and about the importance of Planned Parenthood to her success. ...more

Paul Lisicky on Flannery O’Connor

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Writing for the Atlantic, Paul Lisicky recalls two Flannery O’Connor short stories that taught him to love her work. Although critics often highlight O’Connor’s harshness toward her characters, Lisicky says these stories transcend the stereotyped image of her “little punishment machines:”

The aim of these stories is certainly satirical, but that’s only part of the plan.

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Displaced in the Grotesque

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O’Connor is so often remembered as a misanthropic homebody—but she was comforted by the idea of a God that gave preferential treatment to the most vulnerable among us.

For the Paris Review, Dave Griffith writes about reading Flannery O’Connor’s “The Displaced Person,” a story of immigrants in O’Connor’s classic grotesque South, during the global refugee crisis.

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Adventures Are Overrated

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For The Millions, Bill Morris wonders what value adventures and life experiences have on writing good fiction. While at first Morris is convinced that adventure is necessary to write quality work, Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners convinces him that travel and exploring the world are not entirely necessary:

My big mistakes, I now realize, were to equate adventure with experience and to believe that the writer’s job is to be merged in experience.

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The Rumpus Interview with Lincoln Michel

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Lincoln Michel talks about his debut short story collection, Upright Beasts, his interest in monsters, and what sources of culture outside of literature inspire him. ...more

Plot and Prejudice

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At Electric Literature, Matthew Salesses discusses the works of Joseph Conrad and Flannery O’Connor to explore the problem of unconscious prejudice and unintentional racism in writing, and how writers can avoid it:

The writing of fiction cannot treat marginalized characters as vessels, cannot let the plot play out the racism of under-enlightened protagonists.

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The Saturday Rumpus Essay: Growing Up Gaming

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“Is this inclusive or exclusive?” he asked with a creased brow. “I don’t like the idea that we’re being treated as a joke.” ...more

The Gods of Southern Gothic

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At the Guardian, author M.O. Walsh tries to account for the global popularity of southern gothic literature. While he attributes much of southern gothic literature’s success to a tradition of oral storytelling, he also suggests that it is the southern novelist’s ability to treat the “grotesque” with empathy that helps to create memorable characters:

Show me a southern gothic novel written by someone who’s not from the south and the odds are that I’ll show you a bad novel.

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The Rumpus Interview with Christy Crutchfield

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Novelist Christy Crutchfield talks about her debut, How to Catch a Coyote, world building, inspiration, icky fiction, the role of mystery, and the marathon of novel writing ...more

Writing Under the Influence of Catholicism

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William Giraldi talks about writing in spite of Catholicism:

The Catholic O’Connor, in other words, has no Catholic agenda when she sits at the campfire to tell her story—across her singular canon all is chaos in search of grace, all is enigma unveiled but unsolved, and no credo is a clear victor.

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The Rumpus Interview with Paul Griner

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Paul Griner talks about his newest novel, Second Life, his just-released story collection Hurry Please I Want to Know, putting real life into fiction, and whether creative writing can be taught. ...more

The Power of the Common Tongue

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For The Millions, Lauren Alwan provides “a brief history” and analysis of colloquial titles, including works from authors like Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Lorrie Moore, and Raymond Carver. In addition, Alwan offers her insights as to what makes colloquial titles so appealing:

There is a certain power in hearing phrases we know and may have used ourselves.

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The Rumpus Interview with Jamie Kornegay

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Novelist Jamie Kornegay talks about his debut, Soil, life in Mississippi, writing humor effectively, and the geography of isolation. ...more

This Week in Short Fiction

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The gamer story. Regardless of its iteration—D&D, Commodore 64, Nintendo, X Box, LARP—there is the hero, and there is the rest of the gang, subjugated as sidekicks and underlings. The gamer story has a long tradition of tropes and structures, arcs and character elements, at the center of which has always been the hero telling the story and in world more like ours, the person role-playing that hero.

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The Rumpus Interview with Thomas H. McNeely

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Thomas H. McNeely discusses coming of age in the 1970s, Houston's complicated racial history, and his new novel Ghost Horse. ...more

O’Connor Memorialized

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Peacocks, poetry, and one of America’s most enduring authors.

Upon entering the cathedral for the small induction ceremony, attendees were greeted by two gigantic, sparkling sculptures suspended from the ceiling—they are phoenixes, part of an installation by the Chinese artist Xu Bing, but at first glance you might mistake them for peacocks, like the ones that O’Connor raised on her family’s Georgia farm, Andalusia.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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On Tuesday, Aqueous Books released From Here, Jen Michalski’s second short story collection and fourth book. The founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww and a long-time Baltimore resident, Michalski’s fiction has found homes in more than 80 publications.

Looking at the early reviews and the stories from the new collection that have appeared online, one gets a sense of Michalski’s territory: neighborhoods with worn and tattered fences, where yards and lives overlap and spill onto one another, where rules are broken and categories are hard to define.

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