“Many of my ardent admirers would be roundly shocked and disturbed if they realized that everything I believe is thoroughly moral, thoroughly Catholic, and that it is these beliefs that give my work its chief characteristics.” –Flannery O’Connor
Some of us are passionate about Tolkien’s epic, some about Lewis’s theology, or Berry’s Port William, or Buechner’s broken saints. Jonathan Rogers is passionate about the writing of a quiet woman from small-town Georgia. Flannery O’Conner wrote some of the finest short fiction in all of American letters, and she’s been polarizing readers ever since. To some her work is a bafflement of violence and cruelty, to others it’s nothing short of revelation. But no matter which side you come down on, O’Connor remains one of the most fascinating of American writers, Christian or otherwise, and you may find no one better suited to illuminating her life, work, and faith than Jonathan Rogers. The Terrible Speed of Mercy, his long-awaited “Spiritual Biography” of Flannery O’Connor, is due to hit the shelves on September 18th. Signed copies are now available for pre-order in the Rabbit Room store. Look for a full review and a special podcast coming soon.
About the Book: Flannery O’Connor’s work has been described as “profane, blasphemous, and outrageous.” Her stories are peopled by a sordid caravan of murderers and thieves, prostitutes and bigots whose lives are punctuated by horror and sudden violence. But perhaps the most shocking thing about Flannery O’Connor’s fiction is the fact that it is shaped by a thoroughly Christian vision. If the world she depicts is dark and terrifying, it is also the place where grace makes itself known. Her world—our world—is the stage whereon the divine comedy plays out; the freakishness and violence in O’Connor’s stories, so often mistaken for a kind of misanthropy or even nihilism, turn out to be a call to mercy.
In this biography, Jonathan Rogers gets at the heart of O’Connor’s work. He follows the roots of her fervent Catholicism and traces the outlines of a life marked by illness and suffering, but ultimately defined by an irrepressible joy and even hilarity. In her stories, and in her life story, Flannery O’Connor extends a hand in the dark, warning and reassuring us of the terrible speed of mercy.