Monday, September 14, 2009

An Exile in the East – Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor – March 25 1925 – August 3 1964

What a writer. Of everything she accomplished and of all the prais she earned during her life and after her death, the one accomplishment, and merit that stands out to me is this.

In 1946 she was accepted into the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop.

I enjoyed reading the brief bio of Flannery I found on the net. I could find longer and more revealing reports on her but I really don’t think it’s necessary for my purposes. It comes as no surprise that O’Connor occupies the second slot in this edition. JCO was a huge fan of hers and you can find countless articles/reviews that will mention both authors together.

I enjoyed the blunt raw language O’Connor uses in this short story. It’s just this language and subject matter that made her who she was. The idea of being an exile is something that I think most of us have dealt with in some form sometime in our lives. It could be in a relationship, a place, a language, even a philosophy. Flannery does a wonderful job of allowing the reader to feel a parallel with the lead character of this story through the rich use of language as well as the jolting use of the “N” word.

Yes, it’s just a word...but I feel the strangest feelings when I hear it or read it.

One is forced to wonder what she could have produced if she lived longer.

I cannot recall if I’ve ever read O’Connor before this. This brief story though will cause me to pause a bit longer when I run past her work on a bookshelf the next time I see it.

Score – 8 out of 10

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