Monday, July 16, 2012

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor (1955)

The second book in my 3 by Flannery O'Connor volume is her 1955 short story collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find. I enjoyed Wise Blood, but where O'Connor is really at for me is in the short stories, and this collection did not disappoint.

The titular story is probably the most assigned work by O'Connor, and I think I've read it at least a dozen times in the course of my academic career. And yet, it does not for one second stop being totally and wonderfully perfect. I love that damn story. Who couldn't love "She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."?

Also included in this collection is the frequently read "Good Country People," which also helped seal my love for O'Connor back in college. Fake leg! Bible Salesman! Hulga!

Most of the other stories in this collection were new to me, and while some were stronger than others, they are all pretty great. Two of my new favorites are "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" and "A Circle in the Fire." I know that some of O'Connor's Catholic themes and theological implications are lost on me, but the parts I get I like, and her characters and dialogue are so perfect that I'd be happy reading every one of her stories at least a dozen times.