A very long time ago, I read some Flannery O’Connor short stories. A week or so ago, I read her novel The Violent Bear it Away. All I can say is wow!
As a writer I’ve often heard “show, don’t tell.” As an editor, I often say it. But rarely do I find such an incredible example of what that means than this book. Never does Flannery O’Connor say “there is a struggle between faith and reason.” Never does she say “there is a struggle between flesh and spirit.” No “there is a God and there is a Satan.” But all of these things are clearly seen on every page.
It’s a short book, the story of a boy’s journey. At least that’s what it is on the surface. But beneath the surface is the journey of everyman—toward God, away from God, acknowledging God, refusing to acknowledge God. It is a powerful story that never comes out and tells you what to glean from it, but it is full of symbolism and metaphor that is not obscure or confusing. If you have lived as a Christian, you will see pieces of your own journey in this word picture story.
I have a feeling this is one I’ll read again, because I’m sure I didn’t catch everything the first time!