Flannery O’Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinises territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.
I had to read this for university this semester, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! I knew I loved the Southern Gothic genre, so had high hopes, and they were definitely met.
Reading Flannery O’Connor’s stories is a bit like being repeatedly punched in the face. They’re brutal and a bit fucked up, but somehow you keep coming back for more. I read them in one big sitting and was enthralled the whole time!
You never know who to trust in her works. Into the Woods was a story that totally sucker punched me… you think you know who the “good guy” is in the story, but it turns out you’re totally wrong.
In Green Leaf, it’s a bit more obvious as to what is really going on, but it’s only once you sit down and really think about it that you start to understand the full scale of what O’Connor was doing with the characters. She totally skews our perception, as you get the side of the story from the protagonist… but she’s so awful and messed up herself, and totally blind to her prejudices.
I’d definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a seriously good short story anthology. I’m not into short stories much at all, but would really recommend this collection. Also, if you’re into Southern Gothic, I recommend this, as it’s the perfect blend of Gothic with a touch of mythology and a bit of horror.