Wednesday digest The Christian Century (blog) C. E. Morgan on Flannery O'Connor: "O'Connor's artistic signature involved a severity of image, dark-as-night humor, and a relentless preoccupation with sacramental violence." (subscription required).
Flannery O'Connor was a Southern writer who, as Joyce Carol Oates once said, had less in common with Faulkner than with Kafka and Kierkegaard.
Robin Hemley played this recording in his 1997 workshop at Centrum's Port Townsend Writers Conference. I've heard Flannery's voice in my mind —whenever I see the title of the story— since that time. A Good Man is Hard to Find is Priceless!
This is one of my favorite short stories. I read it my freshman year of college, and I was so mad at my professor for making me read it. It was the first time I'd read a story with this kind of an ending. I cried a lot and it took my a while to forgive my professor.
After Black Rock New Yorker True Crimes. After Black Rock. by Joyce Carol Oates June 10, 2013. Print; More. Share. Close. Reddit · Linked In · Email. Subscribers can read the full version of this story by logging into our digital archive.
The controversy here seems to lie in whether Messud was asked that question because she’s a woman, which all throughout the interview is what Messud is insinuating. You could see it like that, sure, that women are the ancestral purveyors of chick lit, deemed to write the characters of sweetness and light. But what a false premise. Is Emma likeable, really? Did Shirley Jackson and Patricia Highsmith care if you wanted their anti-heroines to make you dinner? I’m more fascinated by the idea that any author, male, female, or in between, has an obligation to make their characters, male or female or in between, likeable. As Messud rightly points out, unlikeable characters make for some fantastic literature. And I’m going to start using her slam, “If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble.”
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