Flannery O’Connor’s astonishing and haunting first novel is a classic of 20th-century literature. It is the story of Hazel Motes, a 22-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his innate, desperate faith. He falls under the spell of a “blind” street preacher named Asa Hawks and his degenerate 15-year-old daughter.
In an ironic, malicious gesture of his own non-faith, and to prove himself a greater cynic than Hawks, Hazel founds The Church of God 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 Hazel’s existential struggles.
This tale of redemption, retribution, false prophets, blindness, and wisdom gives us one of the most riveting characters in American fiction.
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- Marcus Speh
Fantastic, scary book, brilliant reading
Easily one of the best readings I have heard so far. The rendering of the many voices with their Southern twang kept me spellbound for days.
The novel itself is ... scary. Not like a Stephen King but like a Poe without ghosts. Really, this is a story of crucifixion and craziness. Christ stands in the center without making a personal appearance. Only Dostoyewsky has ever been this efficient in telling the story of original sin and redemption.