Donald Ray Pollock has been steadily serving up plates of mild horror since his first book of short stories, Knockemstiff, appeared in 2008. Pollock followed the explosion of Knockemstiff with The Devil All the Time, in 2011, his first novel, which also bordered on the genre of mystery, again with generous servings of darkness....more
Posts Tagged: Flannery O’Connor
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....more
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....more
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Please help me dear God to be a good writer and to get something else accepted.
Juan Vidal examines how T.S. Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, and Madeleine L’Engle approach prayer, and how prayer helps one derive meaning in a creative life....more
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.
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.
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....more
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.
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....more