|Everything That Rises Must Converge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For many years my home library primarily consisted of Hardy Boys mysteries and the Tom Swift science fiction series. In adolescence I joined the Doubleday Book Club and began acquiring a broad selection of novels, short story collections, and non-fiction. An eclectic reading interest flourished in me as I avidly consumed book after book.
In my college years at the University of Tennessee I majored in English. A new world of Southern Literature was introduced to me. I began reading William Faulkner, James Dickey, Eudora Welty, Cormac McCarthy and a host of others. It was unlike most of what I had read in the past.
The author I'm here to proselytize about is Flannery O'Connor. Her body of work is relatively small in comparison to many authors, but her stature and influence has been pervasive. She only published two novels and three short story collections. The short story is where she excels. Her stories are strange, mystical, and sometimes rather frightful.
The collection I would most recommend to readers is Everything That Rises Must Converge. This book is filled with some of the strangest characters you will ever meet in some of the most outlandish stories you may ever read. Keep in mind that this is literature from the 1950's with characters who reflect some of the racist attitudes of that time. O'Connor's intent was not to offend, but to accurately portray what the people she writes about were like.
Everything That Rises Must Converge is at times creepy, scary, and oftentimes funny. O'Connor writes in a simple straight-forward style that makes her work highly readable. Yet the profound nature of her themes will make you think and give you stories that may stick in your craw and haunt you long after you've read them.
If you're interested in unique American literature with depth that is fluid and readable, I highly recommend starting with Everything That Rises Must Converge. No matter where you start in Flannery's work, you will be rewarded with a memorable reading experience. She is one of the greatest American female authors and a giant of Southern Literature.
One of my favorites for sure!
This post originally was a guest post that I did over at the Unconventional Librarian blog.
Currently at Tossing It Out I am doing a data gathering and informational series concerning the topic of preferences and why we like what we like. If you haven't read my post on literature yet I hope you will visit the post The Greatest Short Story Ever Written? and answer the questions to help me with my research. Upcoming on Tossing It Out will be a Battle of the Bands post on music on Sunday June 1st and a special #IWSG post about movies.