The Violent Bear It Away: A Novel (FSG Classics) (Paperback)
The events in this book represent an ostensibly timeless strife between the very religious and the well-educated in this country. The two main characters, one a school teacher, and the other the nephew of a self-proclaimed prophet, are at each other's throats. The former desperately wants to educate the latter, who has an incessant compulsion to baptize people. The two, though on the surface quite opposite from one another, both share a pervasive ignorance, an ignorance which ultimately leads them toward acts of violence. I feel that this southern gothic is all the more relevant with the recent upsurge in nationwide book bannings, for much of that same rhetoric is expressed here.— From Clarisse
A brilliant, innovative novel, acutely alert to where the sacred lives—and where it does not
First published in 1960, The Violent Bear It Away is a landmark in American literature—a dark and absorbing example of the Gothic sensibility and bracing satirical voice that are united in Flannery O'Connor's work.
In this, O'Connor's second novel, the orphaned Francis Marion Tarwater and his cousin, the schoolteacher Rayber, defy the prophecy of their dead uncle that Tarwater will become a prophet and baptize Rayber's young son, Bishop. A series of struggles ensues, as Tarwater fights an internal battle against his innate faith and the voices calling him to be a prophet while Rayber tries to draw Tarwater into a more "reasonable" modern world. Both wrestle with the legacy of their dead relative and lay claim to Bishop's soul. All this is observed by O'Connor with an astonishing combination of irony and compassion, humor and pathos.
“I am sure her books will live on and on in American Literature” —Elizabeth Bishop
“There is very little contemporary fiction which touches the level of Flannery O'Connor at her best.” —Alan Pryce-Jones, New York Herald Tribune