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A Good Hard Look

A Good Hard Look

by Ann Napolitano

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In Flannery O'Connor's hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia, reckless relationships lead to a tragedy that forever alters the town and the author herself.

Crippled by lupus at twenty-five, celebrated author Flannery O'Connor was forced to leave New York City and return home to Andalusia, her family farm in Milledgeville, Georgia. Years later, as Flannery is finishing a novel and tending to her menagerie of peacocks, her mother drags her to the wedding of a family friend.

Cookie Himmel embodies every facet of Southern womanhood that Flannery lacks: she is revered for her beauty and grace; she is at the helm of every ladies' organization in town; and she has returned from her time in Manhattan with a rich fiancé, Melvin Whiteson. Melvin has come to Milledgeville to begin a new chapter in his life, but it is not until he meets Flannery that he starts to take a good hard look at the choices he has made. Despite the limitations of her disease, Flannery seems to be more alive than other people, and Melvin is drawn to her like a moth to a candle flame.

Melvin is not the only person in Milledgeville who starts to feel that life is passing him by. Lona Waters, the dutiful wife of a local policeman, is hired by Cookie to help create a perfect home. As Lona spends her days sewing curtains, she is given an opportunity to remember what it feels like to be truly alive, and she seizes it with both hands.

Heartbreakingly beautiful and inescapably human, these ordinary and extraordinary people chart their own courses through life. In the aftermath of one tragic afternoon, they are all forced to look at themselves and face up to Flannery's observation that "the truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101516928
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/07/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 296,327
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ann Napolitano is the author of the novels Dear EdwardA Good Hard Look, and Within Arm’s Reach. She is also the associate editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University and has taught fiction writing at Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and Gotham Writers Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

What People are Saying About This

Joshilyn Jackson

"This is a purely gorgeous book, completely unafraid, that takes its own good, hard look at what it means to forgive, to be redeemed, and to stumble back home. Ann Napolitano's Flannery O'Connor is human, flawed, brilliant, devout, and entirely human. What a bold, wise writer; I am in love with her Milledgeville, her Flannery, and her hope-soaked world-view." --(Joshilyn Jackson, NYT bestselling author of BACKSEAT SAINTS and GODS IN ALABAMA)

Hannah Tinti

"Ann Napolitano is an expert at carving out the interior lives of her characters, at revealing both the mystery and the manners of heartbreak. A Good Hard Look is not just a novel about an extraordinary American literary figure. It is an examination of how we can live our lives to the fullest." --(Hannah Tinti, author of THE GOOD THIEF)

Dani Shapiro

"I was transfixed and transported by this beautiful, wholly original novel. Ann Napolitano has brought one of America's beloved literary figures to life, weaving her into a story filled with unforgettable characters who are at once deeply flawed and deeply sympathetic. This is a book one wants to savor slowly for its language, but is also a page-turner in the best sense of the word." --(Dani Shapiro, author of DEVOTION)

Michael Knight

"Ann Napolitano has an eye for the nuances and quirks of character and the decisions her people make are both surprising and true. The most remarkable feat of characterization in her new novel just might be the portrayal of Flannery O'Connor. A Good Hard Look is potent end to end. It's downright electric whenever Miss Flannery is on the page. A more than fitting fictional tribute to the south's First Lady of Fiction." --(Michael Knight, author of THE TYPIST)

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