Books: At Gunpoint

THE COMPLETE STORIES by Flannery O'Connor. 555 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $10.

Graham Greene once said that in any good writer a moment of crystallization occurs "when the dominant theme is plainly expressed, when the private universe becomes visible even to the least sensitive reader." In the work of Flannery O'Connor, who died in 1964 at age 39, that moment comes in one of her best-known stories, A Good Man Is Hard to Find. A maniac escaped from prison has just slaughtered a family despite the pitifully agile efforts of the grandmother to cajole or convert him. "She would of been...

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