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Complete Stories (1971)

by Flannery O'Connor

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,635661,392 (4.46)160
Winner of the National Book Award The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O'Connor put together in her short lifetime--Everything That Rises Must ConvergeandA Good Man Is Hard to Find. O'Connor published her first story, "The Geranium," in 1946, while she was working on her master's degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, "Judgement Day"--sent to her publisher shortly before her death--is a brilliantly rewritten and transfigured version of "The Geranium." Taken together, these stories reveal a lively, penetrating talent that has given us some of the most powerful and disturbing fiction of the twentieth century.Also included is an introduction by O'Connor's longtime editor and friend, Robert Giroux.… (more)
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» See also 160 mentions

English (61)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
I got hooked with "Good Country People," and it's been downhill ever since.

******

This was a Kindle Daily Deal a couple days ago, so it doesn't hurt to have it in both hardcover and digital format, right? RIGHT. I ought to re-read these very soon. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
capsules of southern culture
  ritaer | Jun 5, 2021 |
I have always found it more difficult to review a short-story collection than a novel. With a novel there are going to be characteristics that you like and don’t like, but ultimately you try to take those into account in developing an overall assessment of the work. A novel is begging to be assessed on its overall impact, not based on its individual pieces and parts. A short-story collection, though, is typically a collection of independent pieces that were likely written in isolation of each other and each piece can be assessed individually. If I loved one short story, another was good and a few were so-so, how do I provide the collection a single assessment or score? I have noticed that the average ratings of short-story collections seem to be rated higher overall than novels. Maybe it is my misperception, but that has been my impression. When I am done with reading a collection of short stories, there is often one or a few of the stories that stick in my mind, that have grabbed my attention and won’t let it go. I think my tendency, and perhaps that of others, is to focus too much on those few great stories in scoring the total collection.

While I try to fight this tendency, I decided to take a more analytic approach this time. There are 31 stories in Flannery O’Connor’s The Complete Stories. I decided to rate each story immediately after reading it and then to average the scores when done with the collection. In doing so, I rated 13 stories 5 stars, 12 stories 4 stars, four stories were 3 stars and two stories only received 2 stars. My average was 4.16 versus the current average rating on Goodreads for the collection of 4.40. I rated the overall collection 5 stars, and I was very comfortable doing this. Regardless of my average score, the predominance of stories rated 4 or 5 stars was clear proof to me of the stellar quality of this collection.

Flannery O’Connor only lived 39 years. She produced 31 short stories and two novels. The Complete Stories, which was published posthumously in 1972, won the National Book Award in 1972. In a 2009 poll, The Complete Stories was voted the best book in the National Book Award’s 60-year history. I had previously read one of the two collections that Ms. O’Connor published during her lifetime, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, which represented 10 of the 31. I thoroughly enjoyed reading those 10 again as part of the 31. It is also interesting, from a reader’s perspective, that the stories are arranged in The Complete Stories in the order they were written, so you can try to assess the development of Flannery O’Connor’s abilities over time. Mostly I was just wowed at how good the early stories were, although the few stories I rated 2 or 3 stars were almost all in the first third of the collection. Two of my favorites are well-known classics, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, and the title story of her other collection, Everything That Rises Must Converge. However, I think what I most enjoyed was finding relevance in her stories to issues of today, despite their setting in a time and place well in the past. One of these was Displaced Person which I thought did an excellent job of describing the motivation to protect one’s own and the fears of the unknown that underlie so much of America’s reaction to immigration.

The one consistency I found through most of these stories, though, was their ability to make me feel uncomfortable. There were times that I was conflicted: I wanted to read quickly on to discover what happened and I wanted to put the story down because I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the outcome. And then there is the language, which is going to offend some. But then the language is, I believe, true to time and place, and in such a case I can only thank the author for using language to make that time and place real for me.

Overall, a remarkable reading experience. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
I'd never read FOC before and her stories (and her entire life) were from before I was even born. Still, she's a writer I'd always wanted a taste of. On a trip to Savannah, I picked up this short story collection in a local bookstore because when in Rome.

I didn't this read cover to cover, but I read many (perhaps most) including a selection of her signature stories and/or some of her (possibly) lesser knowns for which I found the title intriguing.

FOC's writing is largely influenced by her Catholic faith, the time period (mid-40s through 1960s) and geography (Georgia). Her writing is technically excellent and multilayered and evolving in maturity and depth beyond her years (she died of lupus while still relatively young).

The themes of her writing stand up well and her style of writing is complex and dark without being complicated or showy. However, the way in which she expresses her ideas and some of the language/verbiage would not pass muster in today's culture - especially with regard to race. Today it might be easy to dismiss her as racist, but that may be a misjudgment.

Based on my reading, I think FOC saw racism and bigotry as an injustice and wrong because of her faith, despite having grown up with segregation and raised with discrimination and racial inequities part of the social, civic and economic fabric around her.

Seems to me that she wrestled with prejudices in herself and worked through them in her writing. I'm glad I finally read her and I'm glad she's still being read. ( )
  angiestahl | Jun 30, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
O'Connor, Flanneryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Covián, MarceloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giroux, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stahl, Ben F.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Old Dudley folded into the chair he was gradually molding to his own shape and looked out the window fifteen feet away into another window framed by blackened red brick.
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Winner of the National Book Award The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O'Connor put together in her short lifetime--Everything That Rises Must ConvergeandA Good Man Is Hard to Find. O'Connor published her first story, "The Geranium," in 1946, while she was working on her master's degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, "Judgement Day"--sent to her publisher shortly before her death--is a brilliantly rewritten and transfigured version of "The Geranium." Taken together, these stories reveal a lively, penetrating talent that has given us some of the most powerful and disturbing fiction of the twentieth century.Also included is an introduction by O'Connor's longtime editor and friend, Robert Giroux.

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