Wise Blood

by Flannery O'Connor

  General / Favorable Reviews
  Critical Reviews
  "No other major American writer of our century has constructed a fictional world so energetically and forthrightly charged by religious investigation."

--Brad Leithauser, The New Yorker Review

First novel by Flannery O'Connor, published in 1952. This darkly comic and disturbing novel about religious beliefs was noted for its witty characterizations, ironic symbolism, and use of Southern dialect. Wise Blood centers on Hazel Motes, a discharged serviceman who abandons his fundamentalist faith to become a preacher of anti-religion in a Tennessee city, establishing the "Church Without Christ." Motes is a ludicrous and tragic hero who meets a collection of equally grotesque characters. One of his young followers, Enoch Emery, worships a museum mummy. Hoover Shoats is a competing evangelist who creates the "Holy Church of Christ Without Christ." Asa Hawks is an itinerant preacher who pretends to have blinded himself to show his faith in redemption.

-- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

There is in Flannery O'Connor a fierceness of literary gesture, an angriness of observation, a facility for catching, as an animal eye in a wilderness, cunningly and at one sharp glance, the shape and detail and animal intention of enemy and foe.

-- William Goyen, The New York Times Book Review




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  The Hound of Heaven *****

"Do you think it is possible to come to Christ through ordinary dislike before discovering the love of Christ? Can dislike be a sign?" - Walker Percy in The Last Gentleman

I've never really grasped what Walker Percy meant by that one until I read Wise Blood, but that's what happens. The opposite of love isn't hate. Rather, it's indifference, and hate is some form of love. In Wise Blood, Hazel does hate Christ, but that hate is emblematic of the belief (and unwanted love) he actually holds for Him. Wise Blood is Hazel's dark journey in a fallen world toward happening onto a bit of grace, painful but merciful at the same time.

Wise Blood isn't a book to read if you want to end up with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Its setting is a grim, fallen world, and the characters aren't exactly likeable. Nevertheless, the truth O'Connor has to present through her dark humor is powerful and insightful. This is a wonderful book for intellectual Christians and for anyone else searching for truth in this mess of a world.

(from amazon.com)





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