Thursday, September 27, 2007

Flannery O'Connor on Christian Fiction

In the June 30 issue of World Magazine, the late novelist Flannery O'Connor was "interviewed" regarding her thoughts on Christian fiction. This "interview" was taken from her Mystery and Manners, which was published in the 1960s. World Magazine calls it "an exceptionally clear book that reads almost as if the author were answering questions." Amazing to see that the issues of her day are not far from our own.

Note this excerpt:

O'CONNOR: The novelist is required to open his eyes on the world around him and look. If what he sees is not highly edifying, he is still required to look. . . . What he sees at all times is fallen man perverted by false philosophies. Is he to reproduce this? Or is he to change what he sees and make it, instead of what it is, what in the light of faith he thinks it ought to be . . . to 'tidy up reality'?

Read this intriguing full article here.

This week's CFBA Blour: Remembered, by Tamera Alexander (third in the Fountain Creek Chronicles)

Tammy is a good pal of mine and an excellent author. For all the awards and kudos she's garnered, you'd think she had a slew of books out. Nope. Remembered is only her third. (I could tell you stories about the crazy plots Tammy didn't write--thank goodness--but we won't go there.) Tammy has won multiple awards, including Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006. In addition, her books have received acclaim from Library Journal, True West Magazine and Historical Novels Review. And Rekindled, her very first novel, made the CBA fiction bestseller list.

Check out Tammy's website for chances to win a three-volume set of her Fountain Creek Chronicles.

I highly recommend Remembered for those who enjoy historical romance. Tammy's writing just gets better and better. She has a beautiful use of language and multi-layered characters. This gal's goin' places.


Crimson Eve

Coral Moon

Violet Dawn


~michelle pendergrass said...

I love this: "...He feels no need to apologize for the ways of God to man or to avoid looking at the ways of man to God. For him, to 'tidy up reality' is certainly to succumb to the sin of pride."

and this: "It is very possible that what is vision and truth to the writer is temptation and sin to the reader. There is every danger that in writing what he sees, the novelist will be corrupting some 'little one,' and better a millstone were tied around his neck. . . . This is no superficial problem, [but] to force this kind of total responsibility on the novelist is to burden him with the business that belongs only to God."

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy Flannery O'Connor and have her book "Mystery and Manners." But my obersvation is that few of the CBA fiction readers are also readers of fiction like that of Flannery O'Connor. Editors and writers may love her, but for the most part, I don't think CBA fiction readers do. In some ways, I'd have to say that our market DOES prefer the "religious" novel that she takes issue with. Subtley doesn't seem to work as well with the CBA readership....or so it seems to me.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I haven't read O'Connor, nor have I read the World Mag article, but I still have an opinion. LOL

If fact, I ranted about this topic yesterday. Depicting the world is only part of what a Christian novelist should do, in my opinion. After all, reality extends beyond this earth, so our depiction of God is vital.

I think the real struggle is how to show God accurately, not how to show this world accurately.

Some typical problems in CBA fiction arise because of a desire to show that God is good and answers prayer or that He works all things together for good.

The issue should not be to stop showing those aspects of His action and character but to show MORE of Him. He is also just and requires His people to follow Him into suffering and sacrifice.

Why should we be so troubled about getting the world right if we depict a weak shadow of God?


Anonymous said...

With Becky here ... it could be debated that it takes a lot less talent as a writer to portray the "world"--even when those pieces of the world show up in Christians--than it does to show the magnificence and depth of God, and why when conflict or severe trauma strikes a believer or an unbeliever, how similar their reactions can be both for and against our Lord. Bringing a reader into a deeper understanding of God is the biggest challenge of all for a writer of story. I suspect that's why some choose not to do it at all.

T. Forkner said...

Yeah Tammy. I can't wait to read it.