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#389 ~ Everything That Rises Must Converge

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor

Published by: Farrar Straus Giroux

Published on: January 1965

Page Count: 272

Genre: Short Stories

My Reading Format: Audiobook won during June Is Audiobook Month

Audiobook Published by: Blackstone Audio

Narrator: Bronson Pinchot, Karen White, Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall

Audiobook Length: 9 hours and 5 minutes

Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook and audiobook


My Review

When I first endeavored to read Flannery O’Connor I began with her novel, The Violent Bear It Away. If the wrong and somewhat inappropriate titles I kept tweeting about were any indicator, it didn’t click with me. It was suggested that I start with her short stories, specifically A Good Man is Hard to Find. I have been wanting to give Everything That Rises Must Converge a listen ever since I won it from Karen White’s June Is Audiobook Month giveaway, so I took most of that advice. While I’ve yet to read A Good Man is Hard to Find, O’Connor’s short stories are fantastic.

I would have to reread Everything That Rises Must Converge in order to talk in more depth about each story. O’Connor has much to say about discord in family relations, faith, and race relations. What stood out the most to me was the relationship between adult children living with or near their parents. In every occurence, this situation led to nearly paralyzing resentment for at least one of the parties involved. With each story, O’Connor shines more and more light on how common yet unnatural those living arrangements are. The story that most brilliantly illustrates this is “A View of the Woods.” You have the struggle of a parent to manipulate and control his daughter seep down into the next generation with the most devastating results.

I had a personnally hilarious Aha moment listening to this audiobook for reasons completely unrelated to the text. I have been interested in listening to one of Bronson Pinchot’s audiobooks since I first learned that he was a narrator. He, along with Karen White, Lorna Raver and Mark Bramhall narrate the stories in this collection. A male narrator read the first story. I assumed it was Mark Bramhall. Then, Karen White narrated “Greenleaf.” I knew that the second male narrator was a) different from the first and b) the same man who narrated A Prayer for Owen Meany (which I really must finish). Unfortunately, the audiobook didn’t list which narrator read which story. So, I thought, was Bronson Pinchot the first male narrator? I assumed it couldn’t have been him, but how? I guess I thought I would know it was him when I heard him. To be sure, I went on Audible.com and listened to a clip from Matterhorn. Yes, the first male narrator was, in fact, Bronson Pinchot. As soon as I hear that clip I realized I had been expecting some kind of foreign accent like Balki Bartokomous from Perfect Strangers. I laughed myself to the point of tears. Reading clears up ignorance in more ways than one. Bronson Pinchot is a fantastic narrator.

All of the narrators who collaborated on Everything That Rises Must Converge were outstanding. Audiophile Magazine has selected this audiobook as one of the best of the year and rightly so. The magazine also recognized Lorna Raver and Bronson Pinchot for their particular roles on this project. For me, each of the narrators brought life to the stories they read. Karen White, who I’ve previously experienced in a whimsical romantic novel, was impressive as the self-righteous Mrs. May, ranting against the world, but most especially the bull running rough shot over her land. I think the voice of Grandfather Fortune as rendered by Mark Bramhall will remain with me forever. He made me love an otherwise unlovable cantakerous old man.

Whether you’re new to Flannery O’Connor or would like to revisit her work, I highly suggest picking up this audiobook from Blackstone Audio. It’s a reader’s treat.

11 Comments

  • At 2012.01.23 08:53, Mary said:

    I’ve been meaning to read O’Connor for a long time so I just went over to audible and bought this. Thanks for the rec!

    Read more from Mary

    Blog tour: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

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    • At 2012.01.23 09:09, JoAnn said:

      This sounds excellent! I just read my first Flannery O’Connor story last weekend (posted about it for Short Story Monday) and can’t figure out why it’s taken me so long to discover her work. I have a copy of her complete stories, but would love to experience some on audio, too. LOL about Bronson Pinchot!

      • At 2012.01.23 09:46, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

        I’ve wanted to experience O’Connor’s work for a long time. I’m glad to know her short stories are the way to go.

        Read more from bermudaonion (Kathy)

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        • At 2012.01.23 11:00, Roof Beam Reader said:

          Oh, how I adore Flannery O’Connor – Well, adore her writing, I should say. As a person, she and I probably would not have gotten along very well.

          I would agree with most that her short stories (and essays) tend to be her strongest works. I loved “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” among others – but there’s definitely a reason why that story makes it into almost every “Great American Short Story” anthology and college course known to man. I enjoyed The Violent Bear it Away, too – and I’m hoping to read Wise Blood soon, since it’s been on my shelf for a few years.

          Glad you gave Ms. O’Connor another go – I hope you’ll read “A Good Man is Hard to Find” soon – it’s not one to miss.

          • At 2012.01.23 11:44, Kailana said:

            Glad to hear this is so good. I have yet to read anything by O’Connor and should really remedy that!

            • At 2012.01.23 14:40, Andi (Estella's Revenge) said:

              I loooove me some Flannery O’Connor. I read A Good Man is Hard to Find in high school and that was the beginning of the writerly crush. I have to read Everything that Rises Must Converge, but I do thank you for reminding me of it.

              And LMAO at the Bronson Pinchot bit. I fear I would’ve done the same thing!

              • At 2012.01.23 16:01, dogearedcopy said:

                LOL, Ever since the The Violent Bear It Away title snafu, I can’t look at *&any* Flannery O’Conner title without snickering :-D

                • At 2012.01.23 16:11, Karen White said:

                  Jennifer, I’m so glad I was instrumental in getting this title to you – and I laughed out loud at your Bronson Pinchot story! Thanks for getting the word out about this book. What a fascinating woman she was – digging into her personal history was one of the gifts of working on this book.

                  Read more from Karen White

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                  • At 2012.01.30 02:48, Mailbox Monday – January 30 « Bookfan said:

                    [...] Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor (audio) – after reading Literate Housewife’s review [...]

                    • At 2012.12.03 22:24, Karen White ~ Baby, It’s Cold Outside said:

                      [...] have personally enjoyed her work on Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper and Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor. She transports the reader with equal skill to both [...]

                      • At 2012.12.26 04:01, Mark Bramhall ~ Baby, It’s Cold Outside! said:

                        [...] really enjoyed his work over the past year. He first came to my attention while listening to Everything that Rises Must Converge. He narrated the short story “A View from the Woods” and I am still drawn back to that [...]

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