Wise Blood: A Novel

Wise Blood: A Novel

by Flannery O'Connor

Paperback(First Edition)

$14.18 $15.00 Save 5% Current price is $14.18, Original price is $15. You Save 5%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Use Standard Shipping. For guaranteed delivery by December 24, use Express or Expedited Shipping.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374530631
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 03/06/2007
Series: FSG Classics
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 39,640
Product dimensions: 5.48(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 920L (what's this?)

About the Author

Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) was one of America’s most gifted writers. She wrote two novels, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, and two story collections, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge. 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 and her letters in The Habit of Being.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Wise Blood 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 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.
librarianbryan on LibraryThing 20 days ago
Text gets 5 stars. This is a great book, one of my favorite "Southern" novels, (what's a "Northern" novel?) but Pinchot's voices get a little similar. And I really couldn't get over that it was Bronson Pinchot reading it. I understand why actors don't want to be pigeon holed.
corinneblackmer on LibraryThing 25 days ago
One has permission--and pretext--to ignore the bizarre Catholic Christian dogma that undergirds this book--and measure it according to different standards. Hazel Motes, a veteran of the Korean War, comes home to find his family dispersed and himself without any viable prospects whatsoever. He teams up with a young homeless boy, buys an automobile and, after he has proclaimed himself the head of the Church Without Christ, mows down, at a random moment, some folks on the side of the road and, ultimately, winds up dead in a ditch after he has gouged out his eyes. A tale of desperate traumatic extremism at absolute zero degree.
sturlington on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This is a novel that I think would require an English class to fully understand. I¿m sure that I missed some important symbolism and themes in my reading of it. I didn¿t care for many of the characters, but I sure could sympathize with them in their rather hopeless quests for some sort of spiritual meaning. And hey, you wouldn¿t read O¿Connor if you didn¿t want to feel depressed afterward, right?
kidzdoc on LibraryThing 25 days ago
O'Connor's first novel was published in 1952, and is a classic Southern Gothic novel, filled with grotesque and disturbing characters. It is a darkly comic satire of Southern small town life and religion, although these themes are not limited to the South or the United States.Hazel Motes is a young man who has been discharged from active military duty, and he is traveling by train to a small town in Tennessee. He is taciturn with an underlying mean streak, someone you would never turn your back on or trust with your least valued possession. As he mentions to a fellow passenger, "{I} Don't know nobody there, but I'm going to do some things."Motes buys a used "rat-colored car", and becomes a street preacher for his new church, The Church Without Christ, proselytizing while standing on the hood of his car: "I believe in a new kind of jesus...one that can't waste his blood redeeming people with it, because he's all man and ain't got any God in him. My church is the Church Without Christ!"He meets Enoch Emery, an unstable teenager abandoned by his father, who is unduly influenced by Motes, a miniaturized mummy in a museum, and a gorilla that is a movie star. Other key characters are Asa Hawks, a blind evangenical preacher who is neither blind nor a man of God; his illegitimate 15 year old daughter Sabbath, who is just as immoral as her father; and Hoover Shoats, a huckster masquerading as an evangelical preacher who tries to form an alliance with Motes, and when he is rebuffed, forms a rival "church", The Holy Church of Christ Without Christ, going so far as to hire a "twin" that looks and dresses exactly like Motes.The novel is bizarre at the beginning, and only becomes more so as the plots develop. Heroes? There are none, nor any victims. Moral to the story? You won't find it here (at least I didn't). Who is the "new jesus", Motes or Enoch...or nobody?It is a testament to O'Connor's skill as a writer that these thoroughly dislikable characters and this unlikely plot combine to form a fantastic novel, which I couldn't put down.
jeanphilli on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Well written, of course, but way too much angst for me.
caldrik on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This is one of the most compelling reads I've had in a while. The characters are good in the sense of well rendered, but not good in the sense that they seem incapable of being good people. No one is likable, and the story unfolds in a very ugly way. But the trick here is that Flannery O'Connor writes about this ugly mess in a beautiful way, and with more than a little love.
StephenBarkley on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This book is overwhelming. O¿Connor has a knack for placing her vividly imagined characters in bizarre (yet somehow appropriate) situations.I¿ve often thought that ¿classic¿ novels should be read for the beauty of their prose¿the plot is often irrelevant. For example, you can read any random chapter of War and Peace and be impressed by the writing without understanding the plot at all. O¿Connor¿s writing certainly has that quality, but the plot is compelling as well. It¿s a one-two punch that makes the book irresistible.Here are some of the things I loved about this book:1. The worldview is thoroughly Christian without being trite.2. The characters suffer from various mental problems, which make them real.3. The elements of the plot are often bizarre, yet are perfectly suitable for the story.4. The symbolism is deep and is woven throughout the entire story.It¿s sad that O¿Connor only wrote two novels. I would love to hear from anyone who has read her novels and could recommend another novelist I would enjoy reading. For now, I¿m going to pick up her short stories.
WillyMammoth on LibraryThing 25 days ago
If nothing else, Wise Blood is a great example of Post Modern literature. There's no happy ending, no moral lesson, just a bleak, somewhat hyperbolic rendition of the Christ Haunted South. And that's the best term for this book--Christ Haunted. Almost all of the characters in the novel are seeking to distance themselves from Christianity, from the moral code that has been stamped onto the South, and O'Connor's version of the South, especially. Hazel Motes seeks to start a new religion, the Church Without Christ, but he his new religion is predicated on refuting Christianity, and therefore is still bound to it. The Asa Hawks, the blind false prophet, is cynical and godless, but he makes his living through preaching a Word he doesn't believe. Enoch Emery, a teenager abandoned by his father, doesn't like church or church people, yet his "wise blood" seeks religious meaning in utterly mundane circumstances almost against his will. Try as they might, Christ and Christianity are inescapable. But beyond this central theme, the book has nothing in the way of overall meaning or a lesson or even a glimmer of hope you're going to be disappointed. O'Connor's minimalist style works well with this deficiency of meaning; however, if I could find one fault with O'Connor's writing, it's that there's just too much. There's a ton of great scenes and interesting characters, but it almost seems as if O'Connor jammed as many "cool ideas" as she could into the book with little thought to how they all fit together. It made the book seem somewhat disjointed, but I suppose that's part of the "meaningless" charm of the whole thing.The novel is darkly comic. In fact, I found myself laughing out loud as I read certain parts. But it's also tragic--not in the classic tragedy sense (high brought low by their own inevitable flaws), but more in the senselessness of it all. The characters act in incomprehensible ways at times, but it is because they are continually bound by the specter of Christ looming over them.Wise Blood is not a novel to be read lightly. If it's casual reading you're looking for, you should keep looking. Typical readers, I feel, would be frustrated with this story. But if you're a fan of "serious" literature or want to delve more into Post Modernism, I would urge you to seriously consider anything by Flannery O'Connor. Her body of work isn't extensive, but very few do it as well as she does.
moonimal on LibraryThing 25 days ago
For starters, I heard about Flannery O'Connor (I think) on 'Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?'Call it a shortcoming of my education, but I hadn't been forced to read her, and I didn't have a reference point, but the clarity and simplicity of the first paragraphs drew me in. And even as the story went from simple to downright weird (one of the characters beats up someone in a gorilla suit, then steals the suit and wears it for the rest of the novel ... and this was written in the 40's, people), I was held by the clarity and simplicity of the writing.God help me but it reminds me of Cormac McCarthy.This novel is direct, disturbing, beautiful and crazy. If you like McCarthy, Tarantino and Faulkner, you'll love this.
RobinDawson on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Really interesting - a dark, weird vision of a small Southern town peopled with drifters, outcasts and losers. All slightly addled, mentally unhinged and crazed by various religious demons. All the characters have bizarre names, reminding me of Annie Proulx's novels.The charcaters are not likeable in any way, and it's laced with violence and horor, but it's also clear that it was dreamed up by an author with a brilliant mind who is a master (mistress) of her craft. It¿s intriguing that O¿Connor, a Catholic, wrote a book in which the central character argues vehemently for a rejection of the Christian faith.
eesti23 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Wise Blood tells the story of Hazel Motes and his journey in an attempt to prove his non-faith and the characters that he meets along the way. While I appreciate all the symbolism and the various interpretations of the reasons behind Flannery O'Conner's decision to write this novel I couldn't shrug off the feeling that this book had absolutely no point. Characters and events that seemed important in some parts, had all but disappeared and been forgotten about by the end. I appreciate that I am most likely in the minority with this opinion, and it was by no means a difficult read. Not a page turner but enough of a hint of intrigue to keep you reading, even if it was only in the blind hope that the point of the story would somewhere appear. However, all in all, it just wasn't a hit with me.
susanamper on LibraryThing 25 days ago
. O'Connor writes very weird stories and mostly I like them all. Set in the post war war II south, the novel is peopled by strange characters. The protagonist is Hazel Motes, and he is struggling against his faith. He wants to believe there is no Christ, but eventually Christ is not to be denied. A story of redemption and hope and despair; it is very compelling and has a fabulous ending
JimmyChanga on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This book is sad and funny, but mostly sad. Hazel Motes and Enoch Emory are as memorably weird as Ignatius J. Reilly. I had a hard time thinking about this book, thinking about what it means, thinking about what it feels like to be Flannery, thinking about all the churches across america without Christ, and all the rat-colored vehicles being tipped over the sides of hills, where the people who run the world are total dolts who happen to be so attired in authority, thinking about suffering and suffering and suffering, and oh how romantic that can be.
the_terrible_trivium on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I find that it goes a bit pear-shaped by the end, but the first half is as gripping and profoundly ODD as anything I've ever read. Really, bits and pieces of this novel are permanently ingrained in my consciousness, never matter its flaws.
shawjonathan on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Wise Blood. It reads to me as if it was written in a trance -- as if some twisted angel had dictated it and the young Ms O'Connor just wrote it down, trusting it would amount to something. Most of its characters are all 'a little bit off their heads' and a big bit off the rails. Hazel Motes, played by Brad Dourif in the John Huston movie which I plan to watch again on DVD soon, is in obsessive revolt against the punitive and repressive Christianity of his childhood, and burns with an evangelical imperative to preach a Church without Christ (I would have said cacangelical but the word doesn't seem to exist). I remember reading a review of the movie that compared Hazel to the Monty Python character who was trying to train ravens to fly underwater. That comparison captures the bleak comedy of the book, but leaves out the appalling sense of waste and, in the end, awe that Hazel inspires. Flannery O'Connor was a Catholic living in the southern US. The characters in this book are all Protestant. Maybe they she's observing them from the other side of a sectarian fence and seeing them as wildly deluded, but the pervasive sense of intractable mystery, of not-knowing, and the lack of overt authorial commentary, makes a sectarian reading seem very wide of the mark. I finished the last page with a sense that I'd ben taken somewhere dark, weird and scarily believable.
Humbert_Humbert on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Southern fiction at its finest. Tearing apart all the views of what it really means to be faithful O'Connor weaves a tale that makes you think twice about what you believe yourself.
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is engaging and quick, however unbelievable. If you're a fan of novellas or of Flannery O'Connor, I'd recommend it, but look more for meaning and entertainment than reality, which to some extent hindered the experience for me. It's engaging, but it left me wanting more and feeling very little.
NativeRoses on LibraryThing 5 months ago
From Wise Blood:Does one's integrity ever lie in what he is not able to do? I think that usually it does, for free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man, Freedom cannot be conceived simply. Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, the only child of a Catholic family. The region was part of what she called the 'Christ-haunted' Bible belt of the Southern States. (She described her the spiritual heritage of the region and how it shaped her writing profoundly in the essay "The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South" (1969).