Southern writer. Catholic writer. Hmmph: writer.
Perhaps my very favorite beginning of any novel is that of *The Violent Bear It Away*; may I?
Francis Marion Tarwater’s uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting and bury it in a decent and Christian way, with the sign of its Saviour at the head of the grave and enough dirt on top to keep the dogs from digging it up.
The letters were collected and edited by her friend Sally Fitzgerald and published as *The Habit of Being* by FSG in 1979.
My last year of Seminary a granddaughter of John Dewey taught a required “Christ and Culture” course in which many of the students were coming in as shocked Bible Belt believers. We read *A Good Man Is Hard To Find*; they couldn’t believe the author was a Christian. I loved reading The Misfit’s lines aloud: heh. If you looked carefully, ya could see the tiny explosions going off behind their eyes.The Library of America volume is all you need, and you do need it: both novels, both major short story collections (there are none better in English), and letters and essays.
Rest in peace and rise in glory, Miss O'Connor: great American writer.