Friday, July 11, 2014

Everything that Rises Must Converge

Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor (1965)
Find it in the catalog!
Depressing and beautifully crafted, the first I've read from O'Connor stands out as something like I've never read before. Being on a short story kick for the past couple of months, and trying to read every book from the best of the best, it made sense to throw her in the mix.

I started with Raymond Carver but it took quite some time to get my hands on most of his books. I can't read anthologies and prefer more the specific books in the order they were published (if at all possible). A benefit of which is that sometimes you get your hands on something very rare, a book that was published as a work of art not intended to be anthologized. This rang true of Carver's collection of poems, Winter Insomnia, which I got through interlibrary loan from the Northwestern University rare book archives, illustrations and all. But, that's besides the point...Everything that Rises Must Converge was not O'Connor's first work (so my process is broken) but it is something to write about.

O'Connor weaves religion into death into sanity into insanity into love into the overall crumbling of lives in such a way that makes you wonder whether you're reading a bible verse or a eulogy for a well-respected-narcissist. At times, she reads like a preacher and at others, an undertaker. Long story short, if any of these topics interest you, I highly suggest this book.