America magazine’s Books and Culture section looks at Flannery O’Connor and William Paul Young, two writers at opposite ends of the literary quality spectrum. Young, author of the best-selling The Shack, holds up the low-quality end of the scale. I started The Shack but didn’t finish it. After reading David Nantais fair-minded America piece I realized that there is more to the book than I saw in my literary snobbery. Jon Sweeney’s piece on O’Connor is excellent. Says Sweeney:
Sweet images for God are almost always torn down by O’Connor. We may see God as big and kindly, strong and comforting, warm and supportive, like an unconditional friend. But O’Connor shows us other sides to the divine-human relationship. The Christian becomes material in the hands of the sculptor, who will lop off and chip away as he sees fit. This is one reason for the strong reactions for and against O’Connor’s storytelling. We are not supposed to like what she shows us. Too often, our God has become domesticated, like a dog on a leash or a spoonful of sugar.