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Wise Blood
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Wise Blood

3.5 21
by Flannery O'Connor

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Flannery O'Connor's haunting first novel of faith, false prophets, and redemptive wisdom
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's astonishing and haunting first novel, is a classic of twentieth-century literature. It is the story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his inborn, desperate fate. He falls under


Flannery O'Connor's haunting first novel of faith, false prophets, and redemptive wisdom
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's astonishing and haunting first novel, is a classic of twentieth-century literature. It is the story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his inborn, desperate fate. He falls under the spell of a "blind" street preacher named Asa Hawks and his degenerate fifteen-year-old daughter, Sabbath Lily. In an ironic, malicious gesture of his own non-faith, and to prove himself a greater cynic than Hawks, Motes founds the Church Without Christ, but is still thwarted in his efforts to lose God. He meets Enoch Emery, a young man with "wise blood," who leads him to a mummified holy child and whose crazy maneuvers are a manifestation of Motes's existential struggles. This tale of redemption, retribution, false prophets, blindness, blindings, and wisdom gives us one of the most riveting characters in American fiction.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This is a tale in which pathos tips into pathology and violence, answered by a penance of self-mutilation and suffering. Yet the prose is absolutely brilliant, sentence by sentence, simile by simile, and so relentlessly inventive it feels comic.” —Marilynne Robinson, New York Times Book Review

“No other major American writer of our century has constructed a fictional world so energetically and forthrightly charged by religious investigation.” —Brad Leithauser, The New Yorker

“I was more impressed by Wise Blood than any novel I have read for a long time. Her picture of the world is literally terrifying. Kafka is almost the only one of our contemporaries who has achieved such effects. I have tremendous admiration for the work of this young writer.” —Caroline Gordon

Publishers Weekly
Bronson Pinchot turns in a virtuosic performance of O'Connor's darkly comic classic first novel. After serving a stint in the army, Hazel Motes finds himself adrift, alone, and rent by spiritual confusion. Pinchot's narration is superb: dynamic, well paced, and infused with a perfect Southern drawl. Instead of simply creating voices for the characters, Pinchot embodies them. His Hazel is nasty, nasally, and angry; his Enoch Emery boasts a congested twang; and the entire cast is likewise brought to life by Pinchot's precise and perceptive characterizations and his brilliant evocation of O'Conner's grotesqueries. A Farrar, Straus, and Giroux paperback. (Aug.)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
FSG Classics Series
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Product dimensions:
6.19(w) x 8.16(h) x 0.70(d)
920L (what's this?)

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Meet 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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Wise Blood 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for school and it was hard but it really is a great book. The way she writes is completley different from the structure you are use to seeing in a novel and she wants to make you uncomfortable to draw in your attention. For anyone who has the patience to really get a reward out of what they read, I recomend this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a brilliant piece written by an extremely gifted lady who passed through this life far too soon.i have seen a movie approx. 20 years ago on showtime about this book.it was truly a classic as well.she was able to capture the rural south in her work.
bongo11 More than 1 year ago
O'Connor puts up a dark view of life, and she did not even have the experience of dealing with a recalcitrant and fraudulent Barnes and Noble. It took less time to read this carefully honed novel than to get it delivered. The writing is tight and you want to believe every word counts. But don't bet on it, as the insights into the minds of the deranged are realistic: lots of what a crazy person says doesn't amount to anything, but hands over a compelling nutcracker for your own mind. A great book, not for entertainment but for cracking open new channels in your own mind. Wonderful use of language, simply crafted.
bluelu More than 1 year ago
if you are like me & always looking for interesting but great writers, do yourself a favor & get this one. i don't like regular stories where the end is going to work out fine & i enjoy the psychogical whirrings of people's mind a bit off the beaten path. if this sounds like what you like get this. she's a great writer and i couldn't put it down. i alread ordered another of O'Connor's books. i'd rather review it like this, as you can read from anywhere what it's about. enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has always been a favorite book of mine. Growing up in the South - this is a must-have for the shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Flannery O'Connor's style of writing is very precise and purposeful. This is not a book for easy pleasure reading or uplifting encouragement. It is, however, beautiful with its hidden truths and extremely metaphorical. Her fictional world of gorilla suits, lying preachers, and a Church Without Christ accurately reflects the modern religious world. O'Connor's perception is grotesquely eerie and stimulating in its challenge: what constitutes faith. Religion in this novel is either associated with immorality or meeting "needs in Life" - which is so true today and also portrayed in Stephen Crane's beliefs of selling patterns of God to others. Highly recommended to those interested in a slightly different, perhaps even cynical, perspective of religion - does not matter whether you are Christian, Catholic, anything, as her convictions are universally applicable in its strangeness. Warning: may seem extremely strange and despairing, but in actuality ends with inward justification and satisfaction. Definitely a classic and a keeper.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just read it for school and it took me a month to take each word in. The way she writes is grotesque and something that I would not want to read again. It was ok, but the language and spiritual context made me quite uneasy.
camilledimaio More than 1 year ago
When I read a novel, I like to be entertained. If I learn something in the process, that's all the better. It's why historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I do not like to read to become depressed, nor to become confused. "Wise Blood" did both of these for me. I would have rated it one star, but the author's excellent command of setting and description bumped it up on star. However, the plot was choppy and all over the place, had almost no fluidity, and gave me absolutely no regard or care about the characters. There were additionally some bizarre and seemingly random moments - Shaking hands with a man in a gorilla suit. Stealing a shrunken man. A cop purposely kicking a man's car over a cliff. Characters just disappeared from the storyline with no resolution to their particular plot thread. Ugh. Perhaps it's just the genre, which was described as Southern Gothic, and maybe it's just my realization that it's not the genre for me. But, for those who gave it four or five stars, I submit that maybe you have a depth of understanding such prose that I don't have. If you loved it, I'm happy for you. I didn't.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this novel for class, because the idea of a Church Without Christ struck my fancy. O'Connor's grotesque style was quite humorous and sadly, truthful of the American South. A terrific novel about how the quest for freedom from religion/conscience becomes a study in the futility of self-will.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. It wasn't that great, but I really loved the characters because they were so different.
Jarpy More than 1 year ago
I keep reading that Flannery O'Connor is one of the best writers of her time. Must have been given that honor based on some other book. I never met such an unlikeable cast of characters. Yes, they were well portrayed, and created a definite image in my mind, but I still wanted to kick all their butts. I kept waiting for them to do something useful and interesting, but they just wandered around this low-life town annoying one another. But if you like Andy Warhol and the kind of paintings where most people scratch their heads and say "what's it supposed to be?", this book is for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it is a very confusing book ,i didnt like it i was interested the first 7 min only.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book appalling. It's supposedly widely aclaimed and an incredible piece, but that's also what they say about catcher in the rye, which I also found to be a terrible book. Wise Blood isn't something I would EVER recommend to anyone (well maybe if they are certifiable). It really had no point and was so scrambled I could barely keep interested for more than 20 minutes at a time.