The Rumpus: Flannery on the Couch

rumpusFlannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor is a lushly detailed, compulsively readable narrative, the result of painstaking research and an obvious affection for its subject. Brad Gooch, author of a well-received biography of the poet Frank O’Hara, renders in continuous, novelistic fashion the story of O’Connor’s extraordinary artistic development, her swift rise to fame, her return to live as an invalid with her mother, her almost superhuman courage in the face of her debilitation by lupus, and her death at the age of thirty-nine.

Gooch seeks to weave a unified whole out of O’Connor’s life and art, the cultural and religious influences which shaped her, the multiplicity of voices – barbed, generous, at times innocent and longing – of her letters. And yet at times, the lyrical, urbane sensibility of Gooch’s narrative, its focus on the psychological, misses its mark.

Read the rest at The Rumpus.

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