A Wise Read

Jun 2, 2009

If you’ve seen John Huston’s wild Wise Blood, then you might want to know more about Flannery O’Connor, from whose debut novel the film is faithfully adapted. A good place to start would be Brad Gooch’s Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, which Christopher Benfey reviews in this week’s issue of the New Republic. Benfey’s in-depth article on this “brisk biography” is itself worth a read, as he evocatively recounts O’Connor’s short life, from her rebellious, Depression-era childhood in Catholic school to her Iowa Writers’ Workshop education and success as an author to, finally, her fatal bout with lupus. It’s an invigorating critique that draws fascinating parallels between her life and her writing, and even features a couple of delectable passages from Wise Blood.