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By Caroline Gordon
The Malefactors so perfectly captures the enervated carnality and marmoreal frigidity of the Lost Generation, and the ensuing need and the desire for meaning, that Flannery O’Connor called it “undoubtedly the most serious and successful fictional treatment of a conversion by an American writer to date.”
Tom and Vera Claiborne have settled at Blencker’s Bridge with a motley assortment of friends, family, and literati. Despite life at Blencker’s Bridge being “a party every day,” a deepening sense of disaffection develops among its inhabitants: Tom, frustrated by his poetic impotency, takes a mistress; his cousin and his wife offer psychiatric theories and treatments; and Vera throws herself into farming and animal husbandry—all seeking to find what once was lost.
Caroline Gordon (1895–1981) was an American novelist and critic. Her writing earned her the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and O. Henry Award and a prominent place in the Southern Renaissance. A convert to Catholicism, she was friend and mentor to Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and others. Robert Penn Warren praised her for “enriching our literature uniquely.”