0670 | The Violent Bear it Away | Flannery O’Connor


Reads very much like Wharton but with religion as its theme rather than morality. Stark, grim and dark all the way through, a great caution for anyone involved in religion. A perfect portrayal of humanity.

Peopled with characters beset by insecurities and contradictions, many people won’t like this but will have to admit that to how it resonates with reality; life is, after all, mostly grim so…

I liked the fact that the religion gave those who followed it no redemption. That can only come in Christ, not something that humanity might spawn from his teachings. I appreciated the fact that all the characters were somehow handicapped even though only one is so in the way normally ascribed that adjective.

If there’s one flaw in this short and easy-to-read tale, it’s that it holds no hope. At the most, it’s a pointer as to what to avoid if you don’t want to be abandoned by hope, and for that it’s worth a read.

O’Connor died at the age of only 39 and it is testament to the quality of her writing that pretty much everything published in her short life and some posthumously is included on the 1001 books list. I’m looking forward to more of her.

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