A few days ago my good friend Avra and I were talking about our love/hate relationship with the short stories of Flannery O’Connor. If you fancy yourself a writer, they’re the kind of stories you inexplicably love, but – in Avara’s words – leave you “very jealous…and a little insecure.”
What fascinates me is these stories quickly, often within the first sentence, put a tight knot in my gut, one that lingers long after I’ve put the book down. How does O’Connor do that? What magic does she breath into her words that twists my tummy ’round sideways?
To get some perspective, I thought it might be fun to examine the first sentences of some of my favorite O’Connor stories. Lets see what we can find.