Book review: Wise Blood

Reviewed by Catelyn Errington

Wise Blood, a novel by Flannery O’Connor, is set in Taulkinham, Tennessee. This Southern Gothic follows the story of the cynical Hazel Motes, a young soldier returning from war.

Hazel Motes, the grandson of a traveling preacher, has decided to devote his life to atheism and the spreading of antireligion. Upon arriving in Taulkinham, Hazel, or “Haze,” meets Enoch Emery, an eighteen- year-old zookeeper. Together, they form the Church Without Christ and preach that Jesus is a liar. In Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor explores what it means to be free and demonstrates the inevitability of belief.

Wise Blood is a very intense novel, and I would recommend it only to mature readers. It has strong themes of sexuality, violence, racism, and religion. However, the novel does a great job of exploring and making light of difficult themes. O’Connor plain storytelling compliments and enhances the complexity of her characters, making for a story very well written.

Catelyn Errington was a senior in the Gifted program at Hahnville High. She enjoys writing, reading, and playing oboe in the Hahnville High School Band. She is planning on attending Northwestern State University and majoring in English.

Editor’s note: Book reviews are published throughout the summer and fall in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program and Unger’s “Adolescents Advocate Literacy” Brown Service Learning Grant.


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