To be honest I had never heard of Flannery O'Connor before seeing it advertised in the back of a copy of Jack Finney's `The body snatchers'.
O'Connor's stories are mostly pretty short but she somehow managed to pour more feeling and description into them than many writers manage in a whole novel.
Set in the deep south of an America now long gone. Her protagonists are poor, both white & black,(be aware that her reference to black Americans may have been seen as sympathetic and forward thinking for her day and although still sympathetic in viewpoint she used language that is distinctly racist in the modern world),. Often scrabbling to survive they all share common points. They are lonely, often confused, ground down by life or by the many selfish & harmful predators who they meet or share their lives with and hope is something long since extinguished in their lives.
There are exceptions to those rules here and there but they are few and far between.
O'Connor's ability to place her reader on a sweltering sidewalk in a fading main street in nowheresville or in the kitchen of a broken down shack is startling and is what at first keeps you reading. The detail somehow seems almost too much to take in yet takes up so little of the narrative that it's impossible not to be drawn in. Then the characters grow too so that although you move from story to story quickly the characters stay with you and their plight & that brief moment of their lives you've been shown lingers in the memory long after you've put the book down.
Not every story appeals to everyone but so many do that the overall feeling of `being there' and the emotion you feel remains deep and affecting.
This collection is testament to a talent that has, certainly in this country, been overlooked and really ought to be as feted amongst the classics.
An excellent collection of stories that hold a magnifying glass over the human condition and leaves an indelible impression upon the reader.