Thursday, March 22, 2007

A gorilla with its hand extended

A man and woman sitting close together on a rock just off the highway were looking across an open stretch of valley at a view of the city in the distance and they didn't see the shaggy figure approaching. The smokestacks and square tops of buildings made a black uneven wall against the lighter sky and here and there a steeple cut a sharp wedge out of a cloud. The young man turned his neck just in time to see the gorilla standing a few feet away, hideous and black, with its hand extended. He eased his arm from around the woman and disappeared silently into the woods. She, as soon as she turned her eyes, fled screaming down the highway. The gorilla stood as though surprised and presently its arm fell to its side. It sat down on the rock where they had been sitting and stared over the valley at the uneven skyline of the city.

--Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood

I'd totally forgotten the gorilla.


  1. Curiouser and curiouser! I've heard a lot about O'Conner and her novels, but it was not until now that I ever felt compelled to seek her work out.

    I've read the synopsis and I can't begin to imagine how a gorilla got into the story. I'll have to read it. Thank you for posting such a marvellous excerpt.

  2. You're welcome, Imani! Can't wait to see what you think once you've read it.

  3. Wow, you make me recall the story. I have read it.
    I love O'Connor... even though I do not always "GET" her stories, per se.
    Some exceed my grasp, artistically speaking.
    They seem written for peacocks!

  4. There were two novels I read in college that left me feeling that I just didn't get them, that there was more there than I was perceptive enough enough to find. One was Paul Blowles' The Sheltering Sky and the other was Wise Blood.


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.