Collected Works of Flannery O’Connor

Book review from The Movie Snob

Collected Works, by Flannery O’Connor (Library of America 1988). I have been meaning to try O’Connor’s work for a long time, given her sterling reputation as a Southern and Catholic author. So I picked up this convenient volume of her works and dove in. So far I’m through the short novel Wise Blood and the short-story collection A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and I have enjoyed them a lot. The characters are vividly drawn, and many of the stories feature shocking twists or acts of violence that still pack a punch in this jaded age some 50 years on. Christianity often has a prominent role in these stories, and O’Connor’s characters–mostly ordinary Southern folk–usually have a devil of a time grappling with it. I’m sure this stuff would not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you should give it a try sometime and see what you think.

A Woman in Berlin

From the desk of The Movie Snob

A Woman in Berlin (B+). Longtime readers of The Movie Court may remember that I reviewed the book this German movie was based on a few years ago. The book is a remarkable one. It is an anonymous diary by a woman who was in Berlin when it was conquered by the Soviet Army in April and May 1945. She was a journalist, so she was well-equipped to record what it was like for the Berliners as they struggled to survive–first, the final days of the war, and then the brutality of the Soviet occupation. She first tried to publish the diary in the 1950s, and she was widely condemned in Germany for publicizing the humiliations that the Germans had suffered, especially the widespread raping of German women by Soviet soldiers. Only after the author’s death was it republished a few years ago. From everything I have read, it is generally accepted as an authentic diary and an accurate record of the events depicted. It is a gripping read, but it caught me by surprise that a movie had been made of it. The movie is a faithful rendition of the book, as best I can remember the book, although it seems that the movie skimps on the beginning of the book, before the arrival of the Red Army, and on the end, when things become more normal and the diarist is put to work at various jobs. But the acting is good, and the movie successfully makes its points without being too graphic or lurid.