The Postman Always Rings Twice, the Plumber Rarely More Than Once

I read a book this week, “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” There is no postman, but plenty of rings. The title page of my copy is stamped “WITHDRAWN,” and below that, “CIRCULATION STORAGE,” and above the publisher info., “SIERRA MADRE PUBLIC LIBRARY.” When a library “withdraws” a book, perhaps some helpful librarian might add a […]

Where Flannery O’Connor meets Julia Roberts on Late Night Talk Shows

We watched some late night TV last night, after class and before getting back to work on a suspended sestina, flipping back and forth between the two format giants, Letterman and Leno. Polished Letterman is the APA stylist of the late night television talk show. His “Top 10” list, for example, is always delivered according […]

Theodore Dreiser and Flannery O’Connor were Neuroscientists, too

Over at The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer has posted his Wall Street Journal article in which he takes the pow out of will power, arguing the busy brain is to blame for human frailties. It’s a classic defense of the human condition (Dreiser used it in An American Tragedy), and a blow to the motivational-speaker […]

Flannery O’Connor and the Coen Brothers

The mixture of violence with comedy in Flannery O’Connor’s stories offers up an absurd exaggeration of the ordinary. The Coen brothers must be fans, and Flannery a precursor to their film style. Flannery’s ritual, taken from the church and put out on the street, in the fields, or confined to crowded houses, yet still proudly clad in the absurd array of ecclesiastical colors, […]

Susan Sontag and a Valentine for Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor’s stories stir a natural absurd mix of violence and comedy. Characters argue and alienate themselves from one another. They have difficulty communicating, and they torment one another. Yet, throughout the stories, we find humor – comedy in situation, language, and setting. What better day to read a Flannery story than Valentine Day? In […]