Flannery O'Connor, (March 25, 1925 – August
3, 1964) was an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist.
An important voice in American literature, O'Connor wrote two novels and
32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. She was
a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied
heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. O'Connor's writing
also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined
questions of morality and ethics.
Regarding her emphasis of the grotesque, O'Connor said: "anything that
comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern
reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called
realistic." Her texts usually take place in the South and revolve around
morally flawed characters, while the issue of race often appears in the
background. One of her trademarks is blunt foreshadowing, giving a reader
an idea of what will happen far before it happens. Most of her works
feature disturbing elements, though she did not like to be characterized
as cynical. "I am tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man
brutal and sarcastic," she writes. "The stories are hard but they are hard
because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian
realism... when I see these stories described as horror stories I am
always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror."
From 1956 through 1964, O'Connor wrote more than one
hundred book reviews for two Catholic diocesan newspapers in Georgia:
The Bulletin, and The Southern Cross. According to fellow
reviewer Joe Zuber, the wide range of books O'Connor chose to review
demonstrated that she was profoundly intellectual. Her reviews
consistently confront theological and ethical themes in books written by
the most serious and demanding theologians of her time. Professor of
English, Carter Martin, an authority on O'Connor's writings, notes simply
that her "book reviews are at one with her religious life".
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