Sunday, November 27, 2016

Review: The Violent Bear It Away

The Violent Bear It Away The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Francis Marion Tarwater buries his great uncle and heads to civilization to meet his uncle, the school teacher Rayber. Before his great uncle passed, he decreed that if he didn't baptize Rayber's son Bishop, Francis would. Can Rayber and the younger Tarwater fight destiny and break the elder Tarwater's hold on Francis from beyond the grave?

Flannery O'Connor sure was an upbeat person when it came to religion, wasn't she? The Violent Bear It Away is a tale of how one man's obsession took root in his entire family and ruined their lives time and time again, even after his death.

I had high hopes for the young Tarwater after the old man cashed in his chips. Unfortunately, fourteen years of living in the woods and tending a moonshine still didn't do much to prepare him for the outside world. Will he be able to shake his upbringing and find peace?

Fuck no, this is a Flannery O'Connor book, a book that tells you that clouds are lined with poison, not silver, and no matter how shitty your lot in life, things can always get a thousand times worse. I got lulled into a false sense of security a few times but should have seen the foreshadowing for what it was.

There were a couple holy shit moments near the end and while this was one bleak, powerful book, I was glad as shit that our time together was over. I wolfed it down in one sitting and I'm glad I did. I don't know that I would have felt up to finishing it otherwise.

The Violent Bear It Away is another feel good Flannery O"Connor tale of religion, revelation, and redemption. Or at least attempted redemption. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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