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The Violent Bear It Away Paperback – 12 Jun 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (12 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374530874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374530877
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"I am sure her books will live on and on in American Literature" --Elizabeth Bishop
"There is very little contemporary fiction which touches the level of Flannery O'Connor at her best." --Alan Pryce-Jones, "New York Herald Tribune"

I am sure her books will live on and on in American Literature "Elizabeth Bishop"

There is very little contemporary fiction which touches the level of Flannery O'Connor at her best. "Alan Pryce-Jones, New York Herald Tribune""

About the Author

Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. When she died at the age of thirty-nine, America lost one of its most gifted writers at the height of her powers. O'Connor wrote two novels, "Wise Blood" (1952) and "The Violent Bear It Away" (1960), and two story collections, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" (1955) and "Everything That Rises Must Converge" (1964). Her "Complete Stories," published posthumously in 1972, won the National Book Award that year, and in a 2009 online poll it was voted as the best book to have won the award in the contest's 60-year history. Her essays were published in "Mystery and Manners" (1969) and her letters in "The Habit of Being" (1979). In 1988 the Library of America published her "Collected Works"; she was the first postwar writer to be so honored. O'Connor was educated at the Georgia State College for Women, studied writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and wrote much of "Wise Blood" at the Yaddo artists' colony in upstate New York. A devout Catholic, she lived most of her life on a farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she raised peacocks and wrote.


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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent novel and a fine addition to the Southern Gothic canon . Francis Tarwater is an orphaned boy brought up on a lonely farmstead by a crazed uncle ,steeped in backwoods fundamental religion. The old man tries to model Francis' destiny to become a hellfire preacher but when he dies suddenly the boy is released into an indifferent and confusing world . He goes to another uncle , the scholteacher Rayber, in a nearby city and Rayber tries to save him from the trauma of his upbringing with his own brand of Freudian rationalism . Francis rejects all Rayber's attempts to help and marches dogggedly on to meet his destiny in his own personal Armageddon. The book is both tragic and sad but is imbued with O'Connor's characteristic brand of wry humour and ironic wit. She sympathises with her creations but lays bare their folly and conceit. This book is a neglected masterpiece by a very under-rated writer which analyses the perpetual struggle between rationality and religion .
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This is a powerful, disturbing and almost eccentric novel. Certainly it is difficult to imagine its creation from any mind other than its author, and rooted though the narrative is in rural Georgia, I'm not quite sure how the novel fits into the Southern Gothic category. But then highly original writing transcends categories. As a Roman Catholic it may seem strange that Flannery O'Connor is here concerned with Old Testament fundamentalism, or something closely akin to it, and with what amounts to modern secularism. Indeed, what seems to me to give the book its special force is the battle between reason and passion, the latter often the more powerful because it comes from the mouths of those isolated from the mainstream of society and not unsurprisingly lacking fluent, articulate expression. This is a world very far removed from that of Graeme Greene another distinctive Catholic novelist, urbane and educated, but then his background could scarcely be more different from O'Connor's. Until well into her adult years it is claimed that her speech was all but incomprehensible to those brought up with standard, educated American. Is the title triumphant in meaning and spirit, or is some of that irony that readers see in her writing present here too? For me reading this book is a little like what I imagine experiencing some inexplicable force of nature to be. It defies explanation but makes its inescapable impact.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of my favourite novels, up there with Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, another Catholic masterpiece about love, evil, destiny and redemption. The Violent Bear It Away is about the battle for a child's soul. The child is Francis Tarwater, a fourteen-year old boy raised by his great uncle Mason, who kidnapped him from his uncle so he could raise him as a Christian prophet. Francis' uncle is Rayber, a schoolteacher and staunch atheist. When Mason dies Francis burns down their house, neglects to give him the Christian burial he demanded, and arrives at Rayber's door. And so the battle begins, as Rayber fights to "save" Francis from religion and remould him in his own image.
This novel's title is taken from Matthew 11:12: "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away." The characters here certainly suffer violence, and whether they'll bear the kingdom of heaven away, at least in their own lives, provides this story's suspense. Rayber has a retarded son, ironically named Bishop, whom Mason tried to baptise when he was born. He failed, and since passed the duty on to Francis, who struggles against Mason's programming.
Though Mason is unstable, controlling and a bit stupid, there's no doubt that O'Connor prefers his way of life to Rayber's. Rayber is uptight and repressed. To him everything is or should be a matter of logic. He can't allow himself to truly love Bishop because that love would be mysterious, based on a connection between parent and child which transcends logic. Bishop is a retard, and so can't be trained to share his father's coldly logical view of life. Why should Rayber love him? In a way he views Francis as another shot at parenthood.
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