A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
New York : Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955. Hardcover. 251 pages ; 21 cm. $3.50 dust jacket with minor edges wear. Shelfwear to cover boards. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and other stories by Flannery O'Connor
Flannery O'Connor is a young Southern writer whose genius for the humorous and the grotesque, as well as the pathetic and the terrible, astonished the critics who reviewed her first novel, Wise Blood, in 1952. "The only doubt Miss O'Connor leaves in the mind," said one reviewer at that time, "is where, after an opening performance like this one, she has left herself to go." A Good Man Is Hard to Find is an answer to that in itself, for it contains ten of the most memorable stories to come from an American writer in recent years.
The stories all have their settings in the South; some of them take place on farms, and most of them among poor people. They range widely in manner and in content, from a kind of ferocious comedy to stark and bitter tragedy. No situation is without its wryly humorous overtone, however, even that of Hulga, the poor girl in "Good Country People," who is bereft of her artificial leg by a Bible salesman. (Allen Tate has called this "the most powerful story of maimed souls by a contemporary writer.") And every character—from General Sash, who was a hundred and four years old and lived with his granddaughter Sally Poker Sash, who was sixty-two "and prayed every night on her knees that he would live until her graduation from college," to four-year-old "Bevel" Ashfield, who found that his inadvertent baptism made such a jflJiange in his miserable, neglected lire that he only wanted to go forever under the river that had blessed him—e=Very character, old and young, is treated with an insight that is always shrewd, never sentimental, and again and again utterly convincing. Each o£-these stories, from "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," a horror story as ironic as its title, to "The Displaced Person," a long, grave story about the problem of salvation, is a world within itself, entirely consistent and real and yet differing profoundly from the world of each of the other stories. The book as a whole establishes Flannery O'Connor as one of themost original talents among young Americans writing today.
FLANNERY O'CONNOR was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925/ She graduated from Georgia State Collegk for Women, and spent two years in Paul Engle's class in creative writing at the State University of Iowa. She now lives in Mil-j ledgeville, Georgia, where she is at work on a second novel.
Miss O'Connor was the winner in 1953 and 1954 of a Kenyon Review Fellowship in' Creative Writing. One of the stories in the present volume, "A Circle in the Fire," won second prize in 1955 in the annual O. Henry ^ awards.
The stories in A Good Man Is Hard to Find originally appeared in the Kenyon Review, Sewanee Review, Harper's Bazaar, Shenandoah, and the anthology Modem Writing. Other work of hers has been published in Accent, Mademoiselle, and Partisan Review.
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