Flannery O'Connor é uma das escritoras mais originais que eu já li - uma católica praticante que adorava o grotesco e foi uma das figuras mais importantes do Southern Gothic. Junto com Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers [todas do sul dos Estados Unidos], acho que O'Connor escreveu a melhor literatura americana do século XX, depois de Faulkner. É dela o elenco mais estranho e fascinante de personagens que eu já conheci: uma perneta niilista formada em filosofia chamada Joy Hopewell, um vendedor de bíblias que esconde pornografia e bebida em uma Bíblia oca, etc.
O'Connor é uma escritora de precisão, com uma frieza e crueldade extremas que nunca caem na banalidade, uma lição útil para muito escritor contemporâneo que quer bancar o Tarantino no papel e acaba escrevendo neo-naturalismo de quinta.
Abaixo um trecho do conto "A Good Man is Hard to Find", com o confronto final entre uma vovó mal humorada e o assassino The Misfit, que acaba de dar cabo de toda a família da velha.
Alone with The Misfit, the grandmother found that she had lost her voice. There was not a cloud in the sky nor any sun. There was nothing around her but woods. She wanted to tell him that he must pray. She opened and closed her mouth several times before anything came out. Finally she found herself saying, "Jesus. Jesus," meaning, Jesus will help you, but the way she was saying it, it sounded as if she might be cursing.
"Yes'm," The Misfit said as if he agreed. "Jesus shown everything off balance. It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course," he said, "they never shown me my papers. That's why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you'll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you'll have something to prove you ain't been treated right. I call myself The Misfit," he said, "because I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment."
There was a piercing scream from the woods, followed closely by a pistol report. "Does it seem right to you, lady, that one is punished a heap and another ain't punished at all?"
"Jesus!" the old lady cried. "You've got good blood! I know you wouldn't shoot a lady! I know you come from nice people! Pray! Jesus, you ought not to shoot a lady. I'll give you all the money I've got!"
"Lady," The Misfit said, looking beyond her far into the woods, "there never was a body that give the undertaker a tip."
There were two more pistol reports and the grandmother raised her head like a parched old turkey hen crying for water and called, "Bailey Boy, Bailey Boy!" as if her heart would break.
"Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead," The Misfit continued, "and He shouldn't have done it. He shown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if He didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness," he said and his voice had become almost a snarl.