Tom Perrotta on Flannery O’Connor — a literary affinity

Note: This interview was broadcast on the WGBH sister stations WCAI/WNAN, and also on KUT, in Austin, Texas!

Tom Perrotta, the author of Little Children, Election, The Abstinence Teacher and the upcoming novel The Leftovers, speaks with ThoughtCast about a writer who fascinates, irritates and inspires him: Flannery O’Connor.

Flannery O'Connor
Flannery O'Connor in her driveway in 1962 (photo credit: Joe McTyre)

His relationship with her borders on kinship, and he admires and admonishes her as he would a family member, with whom he shares a bond both genetic and cultural.
When asked to choose a specific piece of writing that’s had a significant impact on him, Tom chose O’Connor’s short story Good Country People, but then he threw in two others — Everything that Rises Must Converge and Revelation. As Tom explains, these three stories chart O’Connor’s careful trajectory, her unique vision, and her genius.
Click here (30 minutes) to listen!

This interview is the second in a new ThoughtCast series which examines a specific piece of writing — be it a poem, play, novel, short story, work of non-fiction or scrap of papyrus — that’s had a significant influence on the interviewee, that’s shaped and moved them.
Up next: Harvard Classicist Gregory Nagy on Homer’s Iliad, and the final, fatal battle between Hector and Achilles.

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2 Responses to Tom Perrotta on Flannery O’Connor — a literary affinity

  1. Philip Belcher June 24, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Terrific interview. Thanks for sharing it. Those interested in more on O’Connor should take a look at the most recent edition of Shenandoah, an issue devoted to O’Connor.

  2. Tad Jackson June 2, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Her stories and two novels blew my young mind in 12th grade … and thirty years later I did all I could to place an O’Connor epigraph on as many pages I could on my rookie teachers diary, A Dixie Diary, at Thank you, Flannery, for all you did … and all you do for us still.

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