The first major biography of one of the greatest writers of the South, whose books will 'live on and on in American literature' (Elizabeth Bishop).
The landscape of American literature was fundamentally changed when Flannery O'Connor stepped onto the scene with her first published book, Wise Blood, in 1952. Her fierce, sometimes comic novels and stories reflected the darkly funny, vibrant, and theologically sophisticated woman who wrote them.
Brad Gooch brings to life O'Connor's significant friendships - with Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, Walker Percy and James Dickey among others - and her deeply felt convictions, as expressed in her communications with Thomas Merton, Elizabeth Bishop, and Betty Hester. Hester was famously known as 'A' in O'Connor's collected letters, The Habit of Being, and a large cache of correspondence to her from O'Connor was made available to scholars, including Brad Gooch, in 2006.
Gooch is a perceptive guide to O'Connor's work and life, which until now have remained hidden behind the fence of her mother's 550-acre farm, where O'Connor lived as a 'hermit novelist - from the age of 26'
- TELEGRAPH 'Skilful in marshalling the often humdrum details of O'Connor's life into a readable narrative, Gooch has produced as good a biography as, perhaps, we're likely to get - - SUNDAY TIMES 'A thoroughly researched record of O'Connor's life'