Throwing Down

Korrektiv is stirring up the Catholic literary waters with a big spoon named Tobias Wolff:

“Flannery O’Connor was for me a very powerful and influential writer at a certain point in my life. Some of the stories I still admire tremendously. But the more I read her, the more apparent her design is to me. I’m much more interested in Katherine Anne Porter, who has more real mystery in her work than Flannery O’Connor does, despite all her talk of mystery. I love Flannery O’Connor, don’t get me wrong. Stories like ‘Revelation,’ ‘Parker’s Back,’ ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find,’ any number of stories. But I can see it coming, I can see her hand on the scales a lot of the time, and I don’t ever with Porter. Stories like ‘Noon Wine’ and ‘Flowering Judas’ are the highest achievement of a really deeply questioning spirit, a sincerely questioning spirit. Maybe that’s what I miss in O’Connor: there’s not really a question there. She’s already made her mind up, and she’s just trying to get you to make yours up the same way.”


  1. Well, of course, we FOGs will defend Miss Flannery.

    But, I agree in theory. I don’t know that I ever read her stories with some M. Night Shamalan (sp) expectation. I read them because her writing grabbed me, not because I thought I might get surprised at the end.

    I mean were we ever really surprised at the end? Was there any doubt that Hulga would get hers? That Parker would get that tatoo? That the misfit might redeem himself? I don’t think.

    I guess, I agree, but she still rocks my literary world. Just because we may know her “designs” doesn’t make her any less bloody, genius brilliant.

  2. Of course, I like Katherine Anne Porter as well.

  3. Cubeland Mystic says

    I am on retainer with Korrektiv. They pay me 125K a year to comment there. You can’t bite the hand.

  4. Matthew Lickona says

    And I can’t complain, CM – not when I know your participation here at Godsbody is done out of pure charity…

    Nicely put.

  5. Cubeland Mystic says

    Despite my large retainer, I’ve thrown down. Ignore any pictures from Rufus of me with a live boy or a dead girl.

  6. Rufus McCain says

    Hey, I never said I agreed with ole Toby W. I can see where he’s coming from, though. Yeah. I like the big spoon image, too, Matthew. In a way I don’t really trust writers that have no apparent designs on me as a reader. On the other hand I can see what he means about Katherine Anne Porter, and I’m reminded of JPII’s admonition that the Church must walk the path of Man, not vice versa. Likewise the writer of fiction. On the other other hand, etc. Got to take my daughter to ballet now. What would Flannery do with that scenario. The gruesome possibilities a’la Cubeland’s disturbing imagery! Egads.

  7. Anonymous says

    Oh well, Toby, some of us need to get shot every day.

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