January 16, 2011

Wise Blood :: Flannery O'Connor

Title: Wise Blood
Author: Flannery O'Connor
Read: NYC
Format: Trade paperback

The word is dour.

I was trying to explain Wise Blood to TG and all I could say was that the writing reminded me, in some ways, of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. But not soul-crushingly bleak like The Road. And not quite as depressing as The Road. Just a similar tone: dour. It's a testament to O'Connor's writing, then, that such a stark and gloomy tone doesn't overwhelm this very rich work.

In Wise Blood, the troubled Hazel Motes struggles with faith and religion and all that stuff. He returns from the war to no family and sets out to establish and preach his new 'Church without Christ.' He meets a blind preacher, his homely daughter, and an irritating kook named Enoch. They all play their roles in Hazel's crisis of faith and his eventual triumph/degradation to enlightenment/insanity. Find out which it is yourself.

I continue to be wowed by O'Connor's writing. Even as she explores the darker side of people and spirituality and life, as she does so well in Wise Blood, she never sacrifices or over-stylizes her characters or plot. She measures out style and substance with awesome balance.

More O'Connor please.
4 out of 5 stars

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