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A Prayer Journal Hardcover – 12 Nov 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (12 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374236917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374236915
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"When I read Flannery O'Connor, I do not think of Hemingway, or Katherine Anne Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles. What more can you say for a writer?" --Thomas Merton

"This slender, charming book must be approached with a special tact. To read it feels a little like an intrusion on inwardness itself . . . The brilliance that would make [O'Connor's] fictions literary classics is fully apparent . . . ["A Prayer Journal"] is as eloquent on the subject of creativity as it is on the subject of prayer . . . The prose is absolutely brilliant, sentence by sentence, simile by simile . . . relentlessly inventive . . . [O'Connor's] religious sincerity is beyond question, but the forms of its expression raise many questions. This is no criticism. It is the honorable work of any writer who touches on great matters to provoke . . . This little journal puts its reader a step closer to one touching and remarkable young mind." --Marilynne Robinson, "The New York Times Book Review"

"Miraculous . . . Both a blueprint for her fiction and a prophetic dreaming-out of her life's purpose and pattern . . . Beneath the surface, as recorded on the 47 and a half handwritten pages to which we now have access, [O'Connor] was refining her vocation with the muscularity and spiritual ferocity of a young saint-in-waiting." --James Parker, "The Atlantic"

"A startlingly different view of the religious O'Connor." --Marian Ryan, "Slate"

"If you've already read everything ever written by Flannery O'Connor and crave more, take heart: This recently discovered diary of her long-form letters to God will make you

especially thankful." --Abbe Wright, "O: The Oprah Magazine"

"Perhaps the most intimate writing that has yet surfaced from O'Connor." --Bo Emerson, "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"

"Religious or not, the daily devotionals written by one of America's greatest writers between 1946 and 1947 are uplifting and inspiring, as well as a great insight into the mind of Flannery O'Connor." --Jason Diamond, "Flavorpill," 10 Must Reads for November

"Gorgeous" --Leon Wieseltier, "The New Republic"

"A fascinating prospect for anyone with an interest in O'Connor's writing, inseparable as it is from her Catholic belief in sin and redemption." --Mark O'Connell, "The Millions"

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"I love the O'Connor that shines through these pages . . . Witty . . . Deeply earnest." --Betsy Childs, "First Things"

"This stirring collection of prayers and reflections provides another crucial piece in the enduringly mysterious and endlessly intriguing puzzle that was Flannery O'Connor's life." --Lorraine V. Murray, "The Georgia Bulletin"

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"["A Prayer Journal"] offers an honest, intimate, humorous, mysterious, and comforting view into the mind and heart of one of America's greatest writers." --Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

"O'Connor had said, 'I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.' ["A Prayer Journal"] should be a fine place to see the inner life of one of America's finest fiction writers in history, and an unwavering Christian, as she experiences that haunting herself." --Bible Portal, ChristianPost.com

"These excerpts are raw revelations of a devout young person's struggle . . . You can hear the push and pull, the train of her particular Christianity on a brilliant mind." --Amy Frykholm, "The Christian Century Blog"

"Have you ever read something . . . so sublime that it was hard to talk about with anything resembling coherence. If so, then you'll understand why it is so difficult to articulate my experience of reading Flannery O'Connor's intimate and soul-baring "A Prayer Journal." I closed the book with a combination of awed silence and heart-soaring joy." --Angela Cybulski, Dappled Things: A Quarterly Journal of Ideas, Art, & Faith

"A collection of poignant, lyrical letters to God, written passionately and honestly . . . Many readers may breathe a sigh of relief to learn [O'Connor] had trouble praying. Not that I would wish this on anyone, but her admission makes her less of an untouchable, perfect icon of faith . . . I pray that many readers will experience, as I have, a resounding joy in reading the words of this beloved author again after so many years." --Lorraine Murray, IntegratedCatholicLife.org

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"There's metaphysical mystery at the heart of this short journal . . . as well as the seeds of the spiritual life force that coursed through [O'Connor's] fiction." --"Kirkus Reviews"

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"[The prayers are] astutely crafted and reveal a masterful writer at work." --"Publishers Weekly"

About the Author

Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. A devoted Catholic, she lived most of her life on a farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she raised peacocks and wrote. She was the author of two novels, "Wise Blood "and "The Violent Bear It Away"; thrity-one short stories; and numerous essays and reviews." "When she died at the age of thirty-nine, America lost one of its most gifted writers at the height of her powers. Her complete short stories, published posthumously in 1971, received the National Book Award for fiction.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
Flannery O'Connor's "A Prayer Journal" is as far from Chris Robert's mangled comments on it as the Bible is from a dictionary without definitions. The "Journal" reflects a young (20/21 years old) woman's deep and intense desire to know and to live in deep love of, and obedience to God, albeit growing at the same time in work (i.e. writing) which would contribute something positive to the world -- which it certainly did, and also quite outside the "Journal". Her spirituality and its growth over eighteen months or so which it projects is both quite profound and inspiring from one so young. This work lay hidden for years but is now available to inspire a much later generation.
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Format: Hardcover
A short book of which half is photocopies of O'Connor's journal. As a writer myself, and a person of deep faith in a Divine Being (whatever one wishes to call that Divinity), I was fascinated by her struggle to keep faith in God & herself, and by her constant pleas to God to grant her ambitions to be more than a mediocre writer (possibly because they echo my own prayers)

However, cynically, I wondered who tore out the missing pages - was it the publishers themselves(to keep the journal focused on he writing prayers) and were they really missing when the journal was found? I'm not a fan of living celebreties biographies and advice books - but O'Connor is no longer living, and her talent has stood the test of time. Thus, this journal could have been a great inspiration to unpublished authors. It is fascinating seeing her insecurities & ambition laid bare. I did, however, expect a prayer journal to cover other aspects of her life, and that was missing from this very short book. I did, however, like the photocopies of the actual journal and seeing her actual handwriting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 95 reviews
98 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars books are about depth not length 13 Nov. 2013
By Clint Schnekloth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, this is a short book. It includes a transcription of Flannery O'Connors prayer journal from her time at the University of Iowa writer's school. But the quality of a book should never be judged by its length.

It should be judged by its texture and depth. And for this reason I consider the book to be essential. The prayers O'Connor has written create a landscape for prayer utterly original in the Christian tradition, if also deeply embedded in it.

I am reading one prayer per night, sometimes two. They are leading me into new spiritual insights each time. I see myself in new ways through her prayers.

The book also includes a facsimile of the journal itself. It's really a pleasure to be able to see her hand-writing first hand, to imagine her as a young student writing each day in this journal.

I guarantee if you buy this book, when it arrives, you will do more than read it. You will cherish it.
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FLANNERY AT LARGE 17 Nov. 2013
By James E. O'Leary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What the prayer journal did for me was to drive me back to my Flannery library and start all over again. I now can read her with a new insight. In Brad Gooch's marvelous biography, I had learned how much her Catholic faith meant to her in that far off place in Iowa, where she was homesick and far from her Savannah roots, where she had, in the words of William Sessions, received from her southern and Catholic world, the view of a coherent universe. Gooch tells us that Flannery told a friend that she was able to go to Mass every single morning while at the Iowa Writers workshop. She went there to Mass for three years and never met a soul, she said, nor any of the priests, but it was not necessary. "As soon as I went in the door I was at home." What I didn't know was how willing she was to take a deep plunge into the depths of Catholicism. It is fitting that William Sessions was the one who brought this hidden journal to us. In the index of "The Habit of Being," the collected letters of Flannery O'Connor, Sessions turns up 28 times. He was a trusted friend and has turned out to be O'Connor's leading expert, among hundreds of scholarly admirers. I will bet you anything Flannery never thought her personal, private journal would see the light of day. I don't think she wore her religion on her sleeve and said one time she didn't even want to be known as a Catholic writer but hoped that she would just be known as a good writer, an honest writer and a real artist. I will bet you also that she would not like to be known as a mystic but she darned sure was. Like Dorothy Day (and they were very much aware of each other), she would have scoffed at the idea of being canonized a saint. Dorothy said she hoped that they wouldn't get to trivialize her that way and I can just see Flannery's writing the same thing in one of her letters. Flannery doesn't claim to know any more about the after life than any of the rest of us. She did say in one of her letters that if all you see is God in the beatific vision, then all you will want to see is God: the statement of a mystic. You would be disappointed in this journal if you expected it to be some spiritual advice or descriptions of visions or quotable nuggets. What I got from it was a wonderful insight into the human Flannery. Flannery struggled along with the rest of us with doubts, fears and pleas for mercy. The point is she never stopped struggling and wondering. All of us who have read and reread her works can only be grateful she never stopped.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading for any literary or Catholic aficionado 27 Nov. 2013
By J. Schutz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
O'Connor's words, spirit, and even her struggle here are deeply Catholic. She speaks my own mind for me, saying words that I would have said if I had the gift that she had. Her form of prayer, her approach to it, her persistence in it, her discouragement with her own progress, all reveal a very quintessentially Catholic spirituality. I bought this book for my literary daughter, but it has now inspired me to undertake reading O'Connor's body of literature.

Requiescat in pace, Miss O'Connor.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a prayerbook 15 Nov. 2013
By Wallace Alcorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Publishers didn’t present her to the literary world with her prayers. In point of fact, these weren't even known until Bill Sessions found them among other papers in 2002. She had written them in a cheap spiral notebook in 1946, six years prior to the publication of her first novel, Wise Blood. At the time she was a student in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. However much she read from her Roman Catholic prayer book, hers are decidedly non-liturgical and intensely personal. She, like us, prayed she would manage to get something published. Some don’t even sound like prayers, yet they evidence a spirit of prayer. Like many of the biblical psalms, she addresses God and then slips into talking to herself.

Arguably, these prayers might never have been published now if she hadn’t produced a wealth of other very fine literature. But, then, those other works also express her strong desire for God, although not as explicitly as these.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest to God 11 Dec. 2013
By Sander Zulauf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Prayer Journal is intensely personal, a loving attempt by this extraordinary genius to ask God to use her as his Christian "instrument" the same way she uses her typewriter as her "instrument." After reading the print section with its silent corrections of this "innocent speller," the facsimile in her handwriting reveals all the warmth and humanity of this fledgling writer with an immediacy that changes the experience of the book. In places humbling in its honesty, in other places laugh-out-loud funny as she confesses she is being "clever," this book is a gem, a wonderful addition to our understanding of the works of this amazing American original.
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