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Wise blood Unknown Binding – 1968

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Faber (1968)
  • ASIN: B0000CO41U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,530,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A literary talent that has about it the uniqueness of greatness.' -- Sunday Telegraph

'A work of strange beauty, totally original.' -- Observer

'One of the most gifted and startling writers to have come out of the American South.' -- VS Pritchett --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

One of the most gifted and startling writers to have come out of the American South.' V. S. Pritchett --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 6 July 2012
Format: Paperback
I admire Flannery O’Connor because she’s one of only a few writers who use violence in a totally selfless, morally necessary way. Where a nihilist or a satirist might grandstand, the horror in O’Connor’s work is a needed illustration of Christian humanist principles, like love, faith and empathy.

Even the savage murder of a young girl, from a short story I shan’t name, reveals no cruelty or nihilism in the author, but is a means of bringing us to revelation: evil is real, and it destroys the soul. (Whether you think the soul is immortal or not.)

Oddly enough, most of her stories, including those where everyone dies (someone often dies in an O’Connor story), are uplifting and hopeful. They all take place in a universe which recognises good and evil and treats them as objective truths, the road to good being much longer than the path to evil.

Wise Blood, one of two novels she wrote, could be easily dismissed as a painful and bleak book, but for those willing to read it with eyes wide open, it’s about the force of good trying to envelop the lonely and misguided. Or, as O’Connor would have put it, “the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it”.

That unwilling character is Hazel Motes, an ex-soldier returned from World War II, his home town abandoned. The grandson of a travelling preacher, his years away have rendered him a bitter atheist, and he shacks up with a prostitute in a new city, determined to blaspheme. Once an almost pedantically pious man, he’s now a committed heretic.

Motes is a cold and joyless soul. Despite his antireligious beliefs, he chooses a suit and hat which make him look like a preacher. He’s even mistaken for one by a taxi driver, infuriating this new heathen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. A. Spencer on 19 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Flannery O'Connor is an author whose writing I have always wanted to explore. Her writing style has been categorised as `Southern Gothic' being influenced by her home environment of the American deep south of the 1940s and 1950s. Wise Blood offers her interpretation of the religious fervor that existed in the old South. The novels main character is Hazel Motes, a young man who has been raised in an extremely conservative God fearing household. However, after serving in the army and fighting for his country Motes returns home with his faith totally destroyed. Flannery O'Connor uses her main character to explore the theme of loss of faith as Motes creates his own church; the Church without Christ. The sole aim of this church being to save people from Christian salvation. As Motes embarks on his itinerant ministry he encounters an eclectic mix of characters and madcap situations that the author uses to portray the complex picture of life in the deep South of her youth.
The narrative is both beautifully descriptive and humorous without being detrimental to the overall message that O'Connor was wanting to portray. One minor point to make is that as the novel was written in 1952 some of the language and imagery could be perceived as offensive in the present day.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Willis on 28 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story opens with Hazel Motes, a man recently discharged from the Army, on the train to the fictional town of Taulkinham, Tennessee, where he's "...going to do some things I never have done before." Hazel has never been to Taulkinham and once he does get there and has sorted out his lodging, he goes about trying to start `the church without Christ' by street preaching.

Hazel believes that he can be saved from evil by believing in nothing. If he has no soul to save then there is no such thing as sin and therefore he can do whatever the hell he likes. By avoiding sin this way he will get to meet Jesus (or something like that).Of course in doing this, Hazel just proves himself as a believer and other characters are used to argue different aspects of theology.

Other characters in the book include a preacher who may or may not have blinded himself with acid, his daughter who only believes in self-gratification and Hazel's follower Enoch who is trying to find the new physical Jesus. It's a strange strange book which brings in one grotesque character in after another and I'm not entirely sure what to make of it all.

I am glad I read it, the characters were all thought provoking and there was a large amount of black comedy throughout. However I don't think I really connected at all with the story and found the narrative quite strange and out of place in parts.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Archer on 6 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
I have long wanted to read something of Flannery O'Connor's and am glad I now have read her masterpiece. It is a strange and sad story of the far fringes of Christian faith and what degeneracy happens when this goes wrong. Flannery writes in a spare, pure style, capturing the speech and starkness of the deep South and its mentality. Highly recommended.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. R. C. Biseo on 16 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
I wish I'd discovered Flannery O'Connor years ago. Wonderful Southern Gothic writing/plot etc,
Deals with the church, chicanery & non believers.
Some similarities with Faulkner - ie written dialogue in vernacular & literary descriptions of the story.
Some people hate Faulkner, I love his style & narrative skill.
Flannery O'Connor died young of lupus disease, a great loss to all of us.
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