We had looked forward eagerly to our December meeting because this month’s book, Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, had been so challenging in its differentness. A new member came, and made a valuable contribution to the discussion as he had seen the movie made from the book back in 1979, directed by John Huston. He was able to describe the determined and forceful way the protagonist Hazel Motes presented himself, characterizing him as clearly “a man with a mission”, one who was not going to let anything distract him from his purpose.
Our discussion ranged over various scenes, characters, and interpretations as we pointed out instances of humour and places where the merging of the several stories that made up the novel did not fit smoothly.
We agreed that O’Connor meant to confront the reader with the dark side that exists in us all. The novel was challenging, verging on the existential, but possibly not as excellent or satisfying as her short stories, which are said to be her most successful works.