Who said: "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it"

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it"
- Mary Flannery O'Connor, in a letter written September 6, 1955


Mary Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) was an American novelist and short-story writer; and the first fiction writer born in the twentieth century to have her works collected and published by the Library of America.

An only child, her father died of lupus when she was 15, which was a devasting loss for the self-described "pigeon-toed child with a receding chin and a you-leave-me-alone-or-I'll-bite-you complex."

Long before her first story was published, Mary achieved passing fame by teaching a chicken to walk backwards - a feat that was filmed by Pathé News and shown around the USA. She once said, perhaps somewhat tongue in cheek, "When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathé News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax."

After graduating from Georgia State College for Women, she attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 1951, at just 26 years of age, she was diagnosed with lupus and returned from Connecticut to her family's farm in Geogia where her mother still lived. During the following fifteen years, up until her death at 39 years old, she wrote her two novels Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away; and most of the stories that are collected in A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge.

A devout Catholic, she collected books on Catholic theology and, despite her failing health, sometimes gave lectures on faith and literature. She also raised all sorts of birds including peafowl (more commonly known by the male bird's designation, peacocks); and corresponded widely with a number of people. One frequent correspondent was her best friend, Betty Hester, who received a weekly letter from O'Connor for more than a decade. Some of this correspondence is collected in The Habit of Being. The complete collection of unedited letters between O'Connor and Hester was given to Emory University in 1987 under the stipulation that they not be made publicly available for twenty years - they were unveiled by the university in 2007.

In her memory: The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, awarded by the University of Georgia Press, is given annually to an outstanding collection of short stories.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Fake Like Me
    Fake Like Me
    by Barbara Bourland
    After years of trying to make it as a painter in New York City, the unnamed narrator of Fake Like Me...
  • Book Jacket: Hungry
    Hungry
    by Jeff Gordinier
    Noma, René Redzepi's restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, has widely been considered among the ...
  • Book Jacket: With the Fire on High
    With the Fire on High
    by Elizabeth Acevedo
    From Like Water for Chocolate to Ratatouille, writers have recognized the power ...
  • Book Jacket: Lanny
    Lanny
    by Max Porter
    At once beautifully poignant and hauntingly grotesque, Max Porter's Lanny is like an unexpected ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Beirut Hellfire Society
    by Rawi Hage

    A searing and visionary novel set in 1970s Beirut that asks what it means to live through war.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake

"An American epic in the truest sense…"
Entertainment Weekly

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win In the Full Light of the Sun

New from Clare Clark!

"Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs."
- Publishers Weekly

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A A A Day K T D A

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.