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Short Stories

Review: Montana Mistletoe by Becca Syme

Christmas in July? Well, I have been known to watch “The Santa Clause” and “The Santa Clause II” in July, so reading “Montana Mistletoe” tonight should have been right up my alley. I am almost embarrassed to say, not so much.

I simply couldn’t like any of the characters. Not. One. Gillian is a raving beotch – even if she is under pressure and comes face-to-face with her old flame, the raving was over-the-top. The ex, Mason, and his brothers came in to fill in as caterers for a fundraising party held for the Granite Peak, Montana Children’s Theatre. You don’t get but a few words from the brothers, but Mason comes across as a spoiled brat. The people Gillian works for? Caricatures of the pompous fat rich man and his top-heavy, trashy second wife. That was my issue with the whole story. As much as I wanted to like it – it was written as a fundraiser for the Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre in Bozeman, Montana, a hugely worthy cause, it feels like the author didn’t care enough about the theatre to write a story worth reading.

I received this book from the publisher for a realistic review. I just wish she could have written a better one.

If you would like to donate to the Theater, click on the logo to go to their site. I am sure the kids would love your support!!


Audible Daily Deal: Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor


Everything That Rises Must Converge | [Flannery O’Connor]
Regular Price:  $17.61
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4.10 (258 ratings)

Publisher’s Summary

This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O’Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment.

The title story is a tragicomedy about social pride, racial bigotry, generational conflict, false liberalism, and filial dependence. The protagonist, Julian Chestny, is hypocritically disdainful of his mother’s prejudices, but his smug selfishness is replaced with childish fear when she suffers a fatal stroke after being struck by a black woman she has insulted out of oblivious ignorance rather than malice.

Similarly, “The Comforts of Home” is about an intellectual son with an Oedipus complex. Driven by the voice of his dead father, the son accidentally kills his sentimental mother in an attempt to murder a harlot.

The other stories are “A View of the Woods”, “Parker’s Back”, “The Enduring Chill”, “Greenleaf”, “The Lame Shall Enter First”, “Revelation”, and “Judgment Day”.

Flannery O’Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinizes territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.

©1956 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965; renewed 1993 by the Estate of Mary Flannery O’Connor (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“The current volume of posthumous stories is the work of a master, a writer’s writer—but a reader’s too—an incomparable craftsman who wrote, let it be said, some of the finest stories in our language.” (Newsweek)

“All in all they comprise the best collection of shorter fiction to have been published in America during the past twenty years.” (Book Week)

“When I read Flannery O’Connor, I do not think of Hemingway, or Katherine Anne Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles. What more can you say for a writer? I write her name with honor, for all the truth and all the craft with which she shows man’s fall and his dishonor.” (Thomas Merton)

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