- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 297 KB
- Print Length: 247 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber (12 February 2015)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00TWQSBC2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 170 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,174 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Wise Blood Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Customers who read this book also read
"This is a tale in which pathos tips into pathology and violence, answered by a penance of self-mutilation and suffering. Yet the prose is absolutely brilliant, sentence by sentence, simile by simile, and so relentlessly inventive it feels comic." --Marilynne Robinson, New York Times Book Review
"No other major American writer of our century has constructed a fictional world so energetically and forthrightly charged by religious investigation." --Brad Leithauser, The New Yorker
"I was more impressed by Wise Blood than any novel I have read for a long time. Her picture of the world is literally terrifying. Kafka is almost the only one of our contemporaries who has achieved such effects. I have tremendous admiration for the work of this young writer." --Caroline Gordon--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
Customers who bought this item also bought
|5 star 54% (54%)||54%|
|4 star 18% (18%)||18%|
|3 star 11% (11%)||11%|
|2 star 5% (5%)||5%|
|1 star 12% (12%)||12%|
Review this product
Top international reviews
The novel was published in 1952 and describes small town America in its Southern state of Tennessee. It has been described as a work of the 'Southern Gothic' genre, drawing on the religious eccentricities and superstitions that persist in the relatively backward rural communities of the Old South.
The novel is short and episodic, having been assembled from a number of short stories and sketches that O'Connor had written for magazines. We discover the central figure of Hazel Motes aboard a homebound train as he returns from World War 2 nursing psychological as well as physical damage. He finds his old house deserted, his community dispersed, and on impulse he boards the next train to the town of Taulkinham harbouring some strange notion of founding his own church there. We learn that Motes' grandfather had been a travelling preacher and it seems that Motes shares his oratorial ambitions.
However, scarred by his experience of war, Motes has lost whatever faith he may have had, and he is intent on spreading his vision of a religion without a saviour: the Church Without Christ. The story is rich in religious symbolism and fine detail, and paints a world that will be unfamiliar to most readers but one that was very real to the author. The writing is sharp, often cutting, and blends wit with woe. I found myself grinning on many occasions at the black humour that runs throughout the story. It is a comedy as much as it is a tragedy, as it mocks human vanity and ambition.
Every character in the story appears to be twisted and self-interested, with few if any redeeming features. Motes does, at least, seem to be seeking some sort of truth and spiritual direction, however bleak and negative his vision becomes, and the manic zookeeper Enoch Emery - who sees Motes as some kind of a messiah - believes that Motes shares the "wise blood" that he, Emery, inherited from his father. This wise blood manifests itself as an intuitive knowledge, independent of any rational or theological direction, that guides the bearer through life. However, everyone that Motes encounters in Taulkinham seeks to use him for their own ends. The populace remains disinterested in his preachings, although willing to listen and engage with the fraudsters and conmen there that preach their own promises of salvation.
There is a streak of human cruelty running through the story, which turns shockingly brutal on one casual occasion. At other points the narrative takes on surreal and absurd tones (there are men dressed in gorilla suits, a mummified dwarf ...), particularly when we follow Enoch Emery on his personal quest to find whatever it is that he must find. This tangential story of Emery (a reworked version of O'Connor's short story 'Enoch and the Gorilla' incorporated into the novel) leaves Motes' disciple isolated, outside the community, as he sat on a rock and "stared over the valley at the uneven skyline of the city."
I am not sure that I really understood the character of Motes or what he was seeking, nor am I clear as to what O'Connor was trying to say in the novel. What she wrote in a foreword to the 1962 edition suggests that she adhered to her strict Catholic upbringing, and that the moral of the story lies in Motes' failure to cast off his need for religious belief, for some kind of redemption: "That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence. For them Hazel Motes’ integrity lies in his trying with such vigor to get rid of the ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind. For the author Hazel’s integrity lies in his not being able to."
Nevertheless, I feel that there is much more than this going on here. O'Connor lost her father to the degenerative disease lupus when she was just 15 and was diagnosed as having lupus herself when 26 years old, with a prognosis that she would live no longer than 5 years more. Thus when she wrote 'Wise Blood' she must have been struggling to reconcile the loss of her father and her own brief mortality with her devout Catholic belief in a benevolent deity. I think that when Motes rails against religion and calls into question its fundamental belief in salvation, O'Connor may have been testing her own religious integrity. It is certainly a work that is open to both religious and atheistic interpretation.
Great book by the way, unnerving, odd and pretty bleak. Characters are drawn beautifully and the writing is great. I heard about it through an interview with Buzz Osborne of the Melvins who recommended the film adaptation by John Huston which I'm planning to watch after enjoying the book.
It's all in the eyes. Eyes that see sin, through and past it, that have seen war, that witness sex and twist it into perversion, and the eyes that in the end go blind in a wracked tailspin of faith.
Blind faith. Quite literally. Kills you in the end. Hazel Motes stalks false prophets and liars, salesmen and loose women, wandering through the debris of his soul. Creates his own Church in a moment of Protean inspiration, and is as valid and as real as anything orthodox. Barbed wire and self destruction end his days. His self created myth turns to dust.
Southern gothic, darkly comedic, grips like an alligator and shakes you until you choose a side to be on.
Full of adventure and moving forward all the time.
Die Romanhandlung wurde hier schon gut zusammengefasst - so das denn geht, denn es ist kaum in Worte zu fassen, mit welchen Charakteren und Einfällen O'Connor auffährt. Das ist surreal, absurd, manchmal unheimlich oder verzweifelt - und alles sehr bedeutungsschwanger.
Ich bin überhaupt nicht bibelfest, und ich wehre mich auch dagegen, diesen Roman ausschließlich auf sein religiöses Thema hin zu lesen, aber natürlich ist diese Thematik sehr stark (z.B. Schuld, Leiden/Passion und Erlösung), und viele Namen und Symbole verweisen auf Bibelstellen. Schon allein der Name des Romanhelden: Hazel Mote (Haze=Dunst, Nebel; mote=Splitter; Staubpartikel), ein Verweis auf seine Verwirrung und Verblendung und auf einen Satz aus der Bergpredigt: "Was siehst du den Splitter im Auge deines Nächsten, aber den Balken in deinem Auge nimmst du nicht wahr?" (Matthäus 7,3)
Warum ich 5 Sterne vergebe? Man bleibt zwar mit dem Gefühl zurück, sehr Vieles nicht verstanden zu haben, und trotzdem war ich absolut fasziniert von diesem Buch! Bei mehrmaligen Lesen und auch Lesen über die Autorin entdeckt man sicher jedes Mal neue Bedeutungsebenen. Leider ist Flannery O'Connor in Deutschland so gut wie unbekannt.
Drauf gekommen bin ich durch die Aufzeichnung der Online-Vorlesung von Prof. Amy Hungerford an der Yale University, die mir schon viele litearische Entdeckungen beschert hat!