Books: Letters off Flannery O'Connor

THE HABIT OF BEING

Edited by Sally Fitzgerald; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 617pages; $15

Author Flannery O'Connor spent most of her adult life with her mother on a dairy farm just outside Milledgeville, Ga., up the road a piece from Macon and a middling way from Atlanta. Her isolation there began involuntarily. At 25 she was already a noteworthy Southern expatriate and a prizewinning graduate of the University of Iowa's School for Writers. She had put in time at Yaddo, an artists' retreat in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., along with luminous fellow guests like Robert Lowell....

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