“Wise Blood” by Flannery O’Connor

I’d never read Flannery O’Connor before, which felt like a huge omission as I fancy myself a writer. So when I started a book group last year, her names was one of the first to go on my TBR list, and we’re starting off the year by reading her first novel, Wise Blood, in January.

That morning Enoch Emery knew when he woke up that today the person he could show it to was going to come. He knew by his blood. He had wise blood like his daddy.

Wise Blood is a short book, just over 200 pages with wide margins. But it’s an uneasy read, and a provoking one. A young man named Hazel Motes takes the train to a bigger city than the tiny place he grew up, and meets an array of strange and amazing folks. He brazenly proclaims a heresy, saying he’s founding The Church of Christ Without Christ, and yet he continues to seek the company and blessing of a blind preacher, all the while pursued by another unusual fellow named Enoch. This is a powerful book, one that immediately provoked me to seek more about its author. I now have her biography by Brad Gooch, and have begun reading the Complete Collected Stories, which contain four of the chapters of Wise Blood. It is a rare book that sort of pushes me out of the reading experience with a hunger for more information, and this book is one of them. I look forward to gleaning more as I continue to ruminate on it.

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