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Everything That Rises Must Converge (original 1965; edition 1965)

by Flannery O'Connor

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1,382305,514 (4.23)108
Member:pdworkin
Title:Everything That Rises Must Converge
Authors:Flannery O'Connor
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1965), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Southern Fiction

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Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor (1965)

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
A collection of short stories by Flannery O'Connor, often violent with Southern themes of racism and religion. The flawed characters populate almost every story and most end violently. The author writes well therefore I give it 3.5 stars. I listened to the audible edition read by several narrators. They did a good job of making these stories "Southern".

Everything That Rises Must Converge: The title of the book and first story. This story is of a college graduate who lives with his mother because he can’t make enough to live on his own. Violence.
The title Everything That Rises Must Converge refers to a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled the "Omega Point": "Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.
Greenleaf: a woman owns a farm. Mr Greenleaf works for her but she feels he is worthless but her own sons will not help with the farm. They are lazy and disrespectful. Mr. Greenleaf’s sons bull keeps coming on her property and she wants Mr. Greenleaf to kill the bull. Violent ending.
A View Of The Woods: A grandfather owns land and keeps selling it. His youngest granddaughter is his favorite and he thinks she is just like him until he sells the ‘lawn’. Violent.
The Enduring Chill: a son who has been living in NYC returns to his mother’s home to die of what he is sure is a fatal illness. He really is a son who has failed to be what he had aspired to be. This one is not so violent, somewhat funny conclusion.
The Comforts Of Home: another man living with his mother. She brings home a juvenile delinquent girl. Son is angry, wants her removed from the home. Violent ending.
The Lame Shall Enter First: A widowed man and his young son who has not gotten over the death of his mother. This man spends time on other delinquent boys and neglects the needs of his own son. Sad violent ending.
Revelation: woman gets beat up by another girl in the doctor’s waiting room. This story is about seeing society through our own prejudices. Interesting story.
Parker's Back: A man with an obsession to get tattoos
Judgement Day: Old man goes North to live with his daughter. Tries to treat a Northern black man like he treats blacks in the South. This ends violently. Tanner just wants to get back South alive or dead.

O’Connor states this about her writing; "All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal."—Flannery O'Connor
I look forward to reading more by O’Connor. Short story is not my favorite format but her writing is good, though violent and characters are flawed. Ms O’Connor was a faithful Roman Catholic. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 8, 2014 |
There's a mnemonic for Henry VIII's wives: divorced, beheaded, died; divorced beheaded, survived. You can do something similar for ETRMC, too: died, and died, and died, a fate worse than death, and died. Died, insane, broken and died. Notice a dominant theme there by any chance? As wonderful a writer as O'Connor was, and as good as it is that she was willing to strip the sugar-coating off absolutely everything, she tilled an incredibly narrow field.

No doubt a structuralist would enjoy tracing the slight differences between the moments at the end of her stories (and they *all* have a 'moment'), and the slight differences between her characters (full cast over 9 stories: overbearing older women who deserve what's coming, young intellectual men who deserve what's coming, self-conceived 'liberals' or 'progressives' who deserve what's coming and deranged children or younger women who, maybe, just maybe, don't really deserve what's coming. All of these people either hate or patronize their 'niggers.'). Non-structuralists, though, might get a bit tired of the same bad things happening to the same people in the same way over slightly more than twenty pages. I suspect the American literary magazine culture kind of deformed O'Connor's stories. One at a time, they'd be mighty impressive. Collected in a book, and, well, meh. I'll take J. F. Powers as my regional-Catholic-American-short-story-writer-who-deals-with-issues-of-race-and-class-as-well-as-issues-of-religion every time.

All of which is to say that O'Connor is an incredible, wonderful author, who doesn't at all deserve the adoration she's received, for better and worse, since her death. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
There is no denying this writers skill. Each of these dark southern tales created their own little world and then drew me into it. The endings, violent or not, left me feeling uneasy. Yet I felt compelled to turn the page and continue on to the next story. By the books end, with brow furrowed I could only utter, "Damn." Of the nine stories included in this collection, I found "A View of the Woods" to be her most disturbing piece. It left me breathless.

Just don't get too attached to any of the characters. Anyone is fair game and it's hard to tell who will live to see the end of the story. Even the survivors may end up only a hollow shell of their former selves. ( )
  diovival | Oct 14, 2013 |
Great set of short stories. All the stories had a strong Southern theme, often dealing with issues of race and civil rights. Her characters are seriously flawed and yet so quirky that they are likeable. I will definitely read more of her work. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
Each story is a masterpiece. Savoring one before bedtime every night. ( )
  mjennings26 | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flannery O'Connorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, Flannerymain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374504644, Paperback)

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 scrutinizes 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:02 -0400)

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Nine stories of the fierceness and struggle of life among white people in the new South.

(summary from another edition)

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