THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers

The 30s in a small town in the southern United States. A Carsonblack doctor, a teenage girl, a drunkard and the owner of the New York Cafe, gather around Mr. Singer, a deaf-mute man who has just lost his best friend, not because he passed away but because he lost his mind.

Each of these characters is looking for something different, they are fighting and hoping to get what gives meaning to their lives. All of them have in Mr. Singer the perfect companion. Mr. Singer seems to be the person who always understands them, and they have created a whole story around him.

They depend on him when they feel alone, when they want to take a decision or when an event is going to change their existence. He changes their lives until they don’t recognize themselves anymore, and all without knowing that he has all this power.

The first thing to consider about this novel is that the author wrote it when she was only twenty-three years old. It is astonishing that someone at her age was capable of drawing these characters. They are difficult, full of desires and frustrations, fears and regrets, but all of them seem to be real for the reader, and their lives are pretty real. McCullers establishes the personality of each of them without empty descriptions. She only shares with us the necessary information about the characters and we draw the gaps in our mind.

The title of the book matchs perfectly the feeling that the story impressed on me: loneliness, solitude, isolation, and the characters even when surrounded by family or friends feel as if they are completely alone in this world.

I won’t share any quotes this time because they are just as I said: a reminder of solitude.

It is an unhappy and moving book, not for crying but just to agree sadly with some of the situations.

Carson McCullers(February 19, 1917– September 29, 1967) was an American novelist
, short story writer, playwright, essayist, and poet. Her first novel,
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, explores the spiritual isolation of Carson Mcmisfits and outcasts in a small town of the U.S. South. Her other novels have similar themes and most are set in the deep south.

McCullers’ oeuvre is often described as Southern Gothic and indicative of her southern roots. However, McCullers penned all of her work after leaving the South, and critics also describe her writing and eccentric characters as universal in scope. Her stories have been adapted to stage and film. A stagework of her novel The Member of the Wedding (1946), which captures a young girl’s feelings at her brother’s wedding, made a successful Broadway run in 1950–51.

Novels

  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

  • Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941)

  • The Member of the Wedding (1946)

  • Clock Without Hands (1961)

Other works

  • The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951)

  • “Wunderkind” (Story, 1936)

  • “The Jockey” (The New Yorker, 1941)

  • “Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland” (The New Yorker, 1941)

  • “The Sojourner” (Mademoiselle, 1950)

  • “A Domestic Dilemma” (New York Post magazine section, September 16, 1951)

  • “A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud” (Harper’s Bazaar, 1942)

  • The Member of the Wedding (1949), a play version of the 1946 novel

  • The Square Root of Wonderful (1958), a play

  • Sweet as a Pickle and Clean as a Pig (1964), a collection of poems

  • The Mortgaged Heart (1972), a posthumous collection of writings, edited by her sister Rita

  • Illumination and Night Glare(1999), her unfinished autobiography, published more than 30 years after her death

    Sucker- A short story

    Collections

  • Complete Novels, Carlos L. Dews, ed. (New York: The Library of America, 2001)

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