The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Book - 1967
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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

When she was only twenty-three, Carson McCullers's first novel created a literary sensation. She was very special, one of America's superlative writers who conjures up a vision of existence as terrible as it is real, who takes us on shattering voyages into the depths of the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition. This novel is the work of a supreme artist, Carson McCullers's enduring masterpiece. The heroine is the strange young girl, Mick Kelly. The setting is a small Southern town, the cosmos universal and eternal. The characters are the damned, the voiceless, the rejected. Some fight their loneliness with violence and depravity, some with sex or drink, and some--like Mick--with a quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, [1967]
Copyright Date: ©1967
ISBN: 9780679424741
0679424741
Branch Call Number: MCC
Characteristics: 273 pages ;,22 cm

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murphym323
Feb 26, 2018

The review on the back should be read as a warning: "Remarkably devoid of any sentimentality."

This is a frustrating read. So much happens in this book to each of its interesting characters, yet it seems as though nothing truly happens. There are deaths that are quickly moved past, horrors committed by many. Each of the characters is depressed in their own way, and though they have many opportunities to learn from each other, each fails to do so in a meaningful way. I was left wanting for more insight into the characters' growths, but instead left with a blaisé feeling of "it is what it is. We suffer, we keep moving." Understandably, this could have been McCullers' intent for the book (read the last page if you want the summation of the book's purpose told through the eyes of one of the characters), but it was still an angering read.

Granted for how much I have thought about this book for the past few weeks since I have read it, maybe it is more lasting and impactful than my 2.5 stars gives it credit. However, this book is not enjoyable. Nothing good happens, and I did not feel for the characters (with the exception of Singer and the Dr.) when tragedy did befall them. Alas, it is a book written in the 40s when this style and thought were thought to be interuptive and compelling. It paved the way for other writers to expand on this "tragedy of the human spirit" motif, but ah, I only wish it had been more enjoyable.

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Helenccl
Feb 13, 2017

'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' follows the life of deaf mute John Singer and the lost people who come to confide him. Poignant, thought provoking, and beautifully crafted, this is one of those perfect classics

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

About as perfect as they come. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter has that blend of story, character, setting, lyricism, insight, pacing, and so forth and so on that makes a wonderful read. Throw all that under a title like The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and what more could you ask for?

m
melvins666
Dec 14, 2015

"It was boring" is a relentlessly lazy term used by some folks that have a short collection of brilliant literature. Yawn = go back an TRY a little.

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briannehavens
Dec 10, 2015

Really boring and slow. It was depressing with no climax. Would not recommend.

Aka_Aka_Aka Apr 14, 2015

Born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia (in the year 1917), Carson McCullers was a moderately successful fiction writer throughout the 1940s & 50s.

In her life-time, McCullers wrote five novels in all, as well as a handful of short story compilations. Her most famous novel was, of course, "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" which was originally published in 1940.

With her stories always set in the location of the deep South, McCullers explored, in great depth, the spiritual isolation amongst the misfits and outcasts of society.

In 1946, McCullers (living in NYC at the time) befriended the up-and-coming fiction writer, Truman Capote. This close alliance between them soon soured when McCullers found good reason to accuse Capote of plagiarizing her work for his own literary gains.

McCullers experienced a very turbulent adult life, punctuated by a bad marriage, poor health, depression and alcoholism. In 1967, at the age of 50, Carson McCullers died from a severe brain hemorrhage.

Agent13 Jun 15, 2012

While unrelentingly somber and sad, this classic of literature is so full of ideas that it would take a longer essay just to list them. I'll just say that communication is so, so important for us to achieve even a minimum of understanding among all people. Ms. McCullers book is loaded with fully realized and vivid characters. That is not an easy thing create, in this reader's opinion. I am very happy that my recent book club assignment was this book.

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bonjourhola85
Jun 03, 2012

While there were some interesting themes and I was excited in the first chapter, the book was overall very slow moving, had no real climax. I enjoy reading and always finish books I start but it sure was a struggle this time.

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macierules
Jan 26, 2011

I'm finally finishing my reading assignment from 30 years ago. Glad I did. Carson McCullers was 23 when she wrote this book, unbelievable. I read somewhere that before she went to bed each night, she pointed her shoes in the direction of New York.

One of those stories where you'll never forget the characters - Mick Kelly, Mr. Singer are perfectly drawn. Lots of great themes.

c
Cabby
Nov 08, 2007

Interesting but I was surprised that it was an Oprah book as well as on the Random House and Time Magazine top 100 books of all times.

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust in anything that might give it to them.

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