Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Flannery O’Connor is well known for her stories, mainly set in the south (she was born in Savannah, Georgia) and featuring odd characters that would later be described as ‘freaks’. Noonday Press –Farrar, Straus and Giroux has published her ‘Collected Stories’ in a single volume. In her brief career (she died at age 39) ‘Wise Blood’ stands as a unique novel, one I’ve been meaning to read again, because it has that special quality, some uncanny and innovative set of images that linger in the mind long after the book is read. Its main character, Hazel, is a religiously conflicted adolescent who starts competing with a street preacher by creating his own ‘sect’: “The Church of Christ Without Christ”. He is followed by an idiotic character, Enoch, that contrasts with Hazel’s serious and stern personality. But Enoch is crucial in his quest, since he is the one to have ‘Wise blood’...
Along with William Faulkner and Carson McCullers, O’Connor stands as an American classic, a very special, very individualistic, idiosyncratic and Catholic writer. Her portrayal of these ‘freakish’ characters is always done with satire and distanced objectivity.
Worth seeing also is John Huston’s film, a very loyal translation of the novel, based quite literally on O’Connor’s work.