Mystery and Manners: Essays of Flannery O’Connor

It’s been a long time since I have added to my booik journal, but I have been reading!

When a friend started quoting Flannery O’Connor at the bottom of his emails, my interest in this novelist from the South (1925-1964) was rekindled. I had read only one of her short stories years before, but my friend was quoting from Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor’s essays.

Actually, these essays are mostly extractions or compilations of various talks that Flannery gave at universities, though the one that opens the book is a charming and funny essay on her beloved, screaming peacocks.

If you are interested in what a Catholic novelist who considered herself a true artist and her work art, this is a little book you will want to read and then read again. There are several chapters on what it means to be a Catholic writer/artist.

I was surprised at her dismissive attitude toward the Catholic press of the 1950’s which she thought insipid – probably because the book reviewers did not grasp the nature of her fiction and gave her work poor reviews.

For Flannery O’Connor, the redemption was the center of all her work and she believed that to speak of redemption, one must speak of sin.

This is an inspiring collection. If you are an aspiring writer, or a rusty one, be sure to get a copy and savor it.

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