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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1960, The Violent Bear It Away is now a landmark in American literature. It is a dark and absorbing example of the gothic sensibility and bracing satirical voice that are united in Flannery O'Conner's work. In it, the orphaned Francis Marion Tarwater and his cousin, Rayber, defy the prophecy of their dead uncle - that Tarwater will become a prophet and will baptize Rayber's young son, Bishop. A series of struggles ensue, as Tarwater fights an internal battle against his innate faith and the voices calling him to be a prophet, while Rayber tries to draw Tarwater into a more “reasonable” modern world. Both wrestle with the legacy of their dead relatives and lay claim to Bishop's soul.
O'Connor observes all this with an astonishing combination of irony and compassion, humor and pathos. The result is a novel whose range and depth reveal a brilliant and innovative writer acutely alert to where the sacred lives and where it does not.
©1960 Flannery O'Connor (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“There is very little contemporary fiction which touches the level of Flannery O’Connor at her best.” ( New York Herald Tribune)
“I am sure her books will live on and on in American literature.” (Elizabeth Bishop, American poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 10-22-12

Biblical, American and Absolutely Brutal

O'Connor was ruthless in her vision. The struggle of Tarwater and his uncle Rayber against their joint destinies and the pull of fundamentalism and secularism is fully realized in this short novel. The Violent Bear it Away is biblical, American and absolutely brutal in both its imagery of destruction and language of redemption. I can only think of a handful of writers who seem to grab both my brain, my spine and my gut at the same time. O'Connor can't be over-appreciated; she was an absolute genius of passion and power. So brilliant and terrible was this novel, that I still exceedingly fear and quake.

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48 of 50 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By bookscdsdvdsandcoolstuff on 05-25-13

Expertly read edition

This book is easily one of the best I have ever listened to. It is Flanery O'Connor, so one must be prepared to read this text like someone who understands literature. Remember that O'Connor is deeply rooted in Catholicism, and scholasticism. Remember that she is first and foremost a committed Christian. Her characters will be grotesque, and there will be tremendous violence and disturbing images, but the book will stick with you forever. It will point to deeper transcendent truths that are timeless and eternal.

Reading Flannery O'Connor will enrich your life, but please understand that you are not listening to surface level romance novels / John Grisham stuff here. This takes hard work and patience, but it is work that will be deeply enriching should you undertake it.

The narration is perfect. The southern accent throughout is very important, and the individual voices of each character are pitch perfect. Simply outstanding.

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20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Diana on 04-13-13

Resist destiny at your peril!

Francis Tarwater was raised by his preacher great-uncle – destined to be a prophet. He resists his destiny; he does not bury his great-uncle, he goes to live with his uncle, he does not want to baptise his cousin, he does much worse! He is in the thrall of his ancestors, his nature and his destiny. Powerful, sensitive and moving with fantastic Southern States voice.

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