Flannery O'Connor's first short story collection, written in 1955, will knock you off your feet. Ruthless, penetrating, and loaded with subtext, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories was brave for its time and feels just as consequential today. Writing in the Southern Gothic tradition in a style wholly her own, O'Connor creates characters that are misguided, stunted curiosities, but she manages to capture what's human in even the most despicable of people — which makes their doomed trajectories feel all the more tragic. And despite the disturbing events that unfold, the stories are a pleasure to read — they're infused with suspense, dark humor, and some of the most evocative imagery you'll encounter in literature. All this makes for a collection that never ceases to amaze — and begs to be reread. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
ONE OF THE GREATEST AMERICAN SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
In 1955, with this short story collection, Flannery O'Connor firmly laid claim to her place as one of the most original and provocative writers of her generation. Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life — infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation.
With these classic stories — including "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," "Good Country People," "The Displaced Person," and seven other acclaimed tales — O'Connor earned a permanent place in the hearts of American readers.
"O'Connor's works, like Maupassant's, are characterized by precision, density, and an almost alarming circumscription....In these stories the rural South is, for the first time, viewed by a writer whose orthodoxy matches her talent. The results are revolutionary." The New York Times Book Review
"Much savagery, compassion, farce, art, and truth have gone into these stories. O'Connor's characters are wholeheartedly horrible, and almost better than life. I find it hard to think of a funnier or more frightening writer." Robert Lowell, author of Life Studies
The collection that established O'Connor's reputation as one of the american masters of the short story. The volume contains the celebrated title story, a tale of the murderous fugitive "The Misfit," as well as "The Displaced Person" and eight other stories.
About the Author
Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) was born in Savannah, Georgia. She earned her M.F.A. at the University of Iowa, but lived most of her life in the South, where she became an anomaly among post-World War II authors — a Roman Catholic woman whose stated purpose was to reveal the mystery of God's grace in everyday life. Her work — novels, short stories, letters, and criticism — received a number of awards, including the National Book Award.
Table of Contents
A Good Man Is Hard to Find 1
The River 25
The Life You Save May Be Your Own 51
A Stroke of Good Fortune 67
A Temple of the Holy Ghost 85
The Artificial Nigger 103
A Circle in the Fire 133
A Late Encounter with the Enemy 161
Good Country People 177
The Displaced Person 207