A literary treasure of over 100 unpublished letters from National Book Award-winning author Flannery O'Connor and her circle of extraordinary friends which explores such themes as creativity, faith, suffering, and writing.
The latest posthumous O’Connor publication, Good Things Out of Nazareth, turns out to be no less than the third assembly of the author’s correspondence to appear since her death – and, in fact, the second to see publication in the last 12 months ... Cynics may charge that this book is a sign of diminishing returns in the O’Connor cottage industry, but readers who prize the author for her acerbic intelligence and deep commitment to her Roman Catholic faith will have no reason to complain ... The book is valuable for providing a peek into the birth pangs of some of her work ... A continual delight is O’Connor’s Southern-inflected, occasionally down-home phrasing ... Although the editor’s attempt to sketch the circle in which O’Connor traveled is admirable, some readers may lose interest when encountering letters that do not concern O’Connor. Perhaps this book, then, may represent the final major contribution to the posthumous career of Flannery O’Connor – but it’s a fine note to end on.
These letters by O’Connor and her circle bring to light the impact her genius had on other writers ... O’Connor acknowledges her 'rootedness in Dante' as the collection’s editor, Benjamin Alexander, puts it, and describes her adventures raising peacocks, her response to reading Henry James, her thoughts on prayer, and how crucial letters are as her illness isolates her. This edifying and entertaining gathering offers a new portal onto a playful, spiritual, courageous, and indelible American master.
Anyone looking for Southern literary gossip will find plenty of barbs ... But there’s also higher-toned talk on topics such as the symbolism in O’Connor’s work and the nature of free will ... The most revealing new material appears in letters O’Connor exchanged with the Jesuit priests James McCown and Scott Watson. These show how ardently she tried to live by the Catholic faith that informs her work ... An epistolary group portrait that will appeal to readers interested in the Catholic underpinnings of O’Connor’s life and work.