Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review: Abbess of Andalusia

  The Abbess of Andalusia was the first book I've read about Miss O'Connor and it has not been the last.

  Flannery O'Connor's style is jarring to many.  It was when she was alive, and it remains so.  To understand why she wrote as she did, it is important to find out about her,as a person.  Ms. Murray's work is among the books that seeks to help with this.

  Lorraine V. Murray makes her observations as a Catholic.  This is very important in reading Miss O'Connor, who was unabashedly Catholic in an environment that was not always sympathetic to that.  I did find that at times, there was a stridency to Ms. Murray's statements about O'Connor's beliefs that was off-putting.  It is possible that I felt this way because I was already seeing what was being pointed out. 

  What I gained from this book was a greater ability to see O'Connor's incorporation of Catholicism into her writing.  Her writing is anything but subtle, generally speaking, but in writing for a general market, she had to be subtle in incorporating her spirituality. 

  There is room for editing in this little book.  There were a couple of sentences which did not make sense, and a sentence that was repeated twice on the same page. I hope that future editions tidy that up. 

  I would recommend this book as a companion to anyone interested in Miss O'Connor's writing, particularly to those who are puzzled in trying to think of her as a Catholic writer.  It will help the reader to gain a valuable insight into Miss O'Connor's fascinating personality and noted intellect.  She faced a number of challenges which helped to shape her as a writer.

 I wrote this review of The Abbess of Andalusia for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.  I receive free books for writings the reviews.

Book Review: Father Elijah

   Father Elijah is the only book I reread on an almost annual basis, and I do not often read fiction. 

  I still hold this book to be the best among the books of Michael D. O'brien's which I have read.  Despite its size, it is hard to put down.  The story is captivating.  It is sub-titled "An Apocalypse", but it is hopeful, not frightening.

  The story contains several stories in various settings; wartime Europe, post-war Israel, and Rome as well as some minor settings are present.  The areas are beautifully and accurately described.

  Characters are many and very well-developed.  One was hard-pressed at times to recall that this is, in fact, fiction and not a work of prophecy, especially given event that have actually happened since the writing of this book.  Despite the number of characters, there is no difficulty in keeping the stories straight.

  Roman Catholicism is the thread that ties all of the characters and locations together. The Church is presented accurately and with love.  The Vatican itself is described accurately and in some detail.  

  This is a book of substance.  It is sumptuous in its vocabulary and in the mental images that are developed.  Its discussion of history and the Church confront both the light and the darkness that can be encountered in either. Good and Evil are both on display and treated with the mind of the Church.

  A friend to whom I'd lent this book said it was the first book he'd ever finished and then immediately turned over to start it again.

  On a practical note, the hardcover edition which I own has lasted well through the repeated readings and lending.  
The end of the book is satisfying, but with an unfinished feel.  I eagerly await a sequel.

  I wrote this review of Father Elijah for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

   Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore.  I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.