Monday, October 24, 2011

It's not a message written in the dark or some truth that no one sees

This is the book I'm reading right now and the description from the author's website:

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 fiancĂ©e, 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 truly live, and she seizes it with both hands
Heartbreakingly beautiful and inescapably human, these ordinary and extraordinary people chart their own courses in 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.
Some lines that I would highlight were this not a library book:
 Melvin liked the idea that something he told Flannery might appear in a book. His life was a messy compilation of moments that didn't fit together. If Flannery wove them into a narrative, they would have cohesion and significance. He would be able to read about himself and all that was inexplicable in real life would be explained.
The music that has my attention this morning.


What does one have to do with the other?

Please feel free to discuss. There are no right or wrong answers.


  1. What a temptation: to have someone else give you the answers and meaning of your life. How we all fall down before that idol, and how bitterly we fight those we love, who will disappoint, sooner or later, in giving us an easy answer.

  2. Ah. What Summer said.

    I was going to come out here (after reading in my reader and after the conversation we had the other day) and ask you if perhaps you were going to be lovely and write me a coherent sentence.

    Still. I'm not adverse to being interviewed.

    although I don't necessarily expect answers given my cast iron stubborn pig headed mind.

  3. can't type a coherent sentence of my own this morning either, now can I? :-)

  4. Well said, Summer. I've spent the last two days looking for easy answers. They did not come.

    Alecto, I still want to capture your life in a story. Fictionalized of course. So please don't be too stubborn.

  5. You kids are all so idealistic.


    P.S. I was promised math on this test.

  6. Thank you for the review. The book sounds great!

    It's interesting, because I'm reading The Memory Wall, a series of short stories by Anthony Doerr, and the first one, call The Memory Wall, has a theme of trying to find your own meaning through tapping into the life memories of other people. It's fascinating and also kind of creepy.

  7. Thunder - I'll have MathMan put together some Calculus questions for you.

    Susan T - I'm going to have to read The Memory Wall. You're going to love this connection. Laura Maylene Walter, who comments here and who has become a friend of mine received an Ohiana Award along with Anthony Doerr. You can read about it here.

  8. I've heard of this book. Interesting take on O'Connor. I've been striking out right and left on books lately. I'll have to give this one a look. As for the music, a little dark for me, maybe because I've already traversed those roads and have blessedly arrived at a peaceful summit.

  9. Whoa! Could Summer have said it any better?

    I've added this book to my "to-read" list...


  10. Oh pshaw, the answers *are* easy, you just have to know where to look, and I can tell you for a low, low price, three installments of 39.95.

    Plus shipping and handling.

    Please, no math.

  11. And see, I wouldn't want anybody else to put down my life or apply meaning, because I'm quite sure they'd do it wrong. I am stubborn that way and a little content to just be misunderstood. Maybe that is why I feel compelled to be the one who writes it. I want to be in control. (not that my characters all do what I say, but somehow what they do, stems from me and opens my eyes)

  12. Hmmm. This book sounds pretty good to me, and like something I would really be able to identify with.

  13. I hear "there are no wrong answers" and get freaked out trying not to give the wrong answer. No wonder I'm a dropout.

  14. I've never read Flannery O'Connor but you've made this novel about her final years sound most intriguing.

  15. Life HAS mo answers. It;s a gift, not a pop quiz:)

  16. Why do we never get an answer when we knock upon the door? Because the truth is hard to swallow. That's what the wall of love is for.

    Oh, wait, I think that's from some song from the 60s! :)

  17. i must be really stupid because i can't figure out how to subscribe, or follow, or whatever...i left my email addy for posts notification but when i clicked it nada happened??? whasssup?


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