I am not a huge fan of the short story. In general I like longer books. So I tend to stay away from short stories. But after the strong recommendation from a friend, I picked up A Good Man is Hard to Find on audiobook from my library.
These are ten short stories. It is with books like this that I wish I was back in college to discuss them in a classroom setting. I am sure I would get more out of them if I really understood their importance.
Of course these are well written. I can see that. And the moral issues that are brought up are real. They are sometimes heart breaking, almost always tragic.
But what I most do not like about short stories is the case with virtually all of these, they end before I am ready. In most of these stories, I just start to see the characters for more than words on the page and they end (usually tragically.)
These are not pretty stories. Several of them end in death. There is crime, hatred, racism, ignorance, poverty and sexism. The last story, one about Polish ‘displaced persons’ coming to work on a southern farm after WWII is probably the most poignant for me. More than anything else it is about disenfranchised people that are afraid of other disenfranchised people.
The world is full of fear and ignorance (and I don’t mean stupidity here, I mean tragic ignorance). O’Connor reminds me of Cormac McCarthy. I love his writing but the dark tragedy of it all does makes me want to wait quite a while between readings.