Audible The Heart Is a Lonely HunterAuthor Carson McCullers – Selindameditasyon.com

She went there, didn t she.As I read this novel, I could tell McCullers was setting the stage for something truly horrible to happen And horrible things did happen But they were never as bad as I thought they would be UntilOh yes, she waited until the very end to rip my heart from my chest, throw it on the floor, stomp on it with her pumps and then throw it into the ocean to be eaten by sharks How does someone write a book this rich and wise and honest at 23 How does a young girl write s She went there, didn t she.As I read this novel, I could tell McCullers was setting the stage for something truly horrible to happen And horrible things did happen But they were never as bad as I thought they would be UntilOh yes, she waited until the very end to rip my heart from my chest, throw it on the floor, stomp on it with her pumps and then throw it into the ocean to be eaten by sharks How does someone write a book this rich and wise and honest at 23 How does a young girl write such darkness, such tragedy Like Flannery O Connor, she suffered from illness from a young age Maybe that is where her darkness came from As you can probably glean from the title, all of the characters in this novel are haunted by the ghost of loneliness Mick is a young girl on the brink of womanhood Like many teenage girls, she feels isolated and misunderstood, but finds solace in two things the company of a deaf mute boarder in her family home and her true passion, music Let me share a passage with you describing Mick s experience of hearing Beethoven s 3rd symphony for the first time How did it come For a minute the opening balanced from one side to the other Like a walk or a march Like God strutting in the night The outside of her was suddenly froze and only that first part of the music was hot inside her heart She could not even hear what sounded after, but she sat there waiting and froze, with her fists tight After awhile the music came again, harder and loud It didn t have anything to do with God This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night In the hot sun and in the dark with all her plans and feelings.This music was her the real plain her.I can t emphasize enough how much that passage resonated with me The theme of loneliness, of isolation carries through each of the characters we meet as McCullers weaves her magical tale John Singer is a deaf mute who has only one person in the world he calls a friend a fellow deaf mute When his friend goes mad and is institutionalized, Singer no longer has his best friend by his side, he feels lost Yet all of the folks in this small town are drawn to him It s as if his deafness gives him a wisdom and understanding that others are sorely missing Ironically, it s as if for the first time in their lives they feel the are being truly heard Dr Copeland is a black physician in the south He feels isolated from his family because they don t want to follow in his footsteps his ambition has driven away his wife and children He feels isolated because he s a black man in a predominately white town The only white person he feels he can trust is Mr Singer Jake Blount is a drunk and a drifter His rage and inability to relate to others exacerbates his feelings of loneliness Yet the presence of Mr Singer soothes him Biff Brannon is a cafe owner people come in and out of his restaurant all day, yet he is alone He and his wife have drifted apart even though they live in the same home he has no children and no real friends, except for Mr Singer.As I made my way through this journey, I hoped and hoped that things would turn out alright for these broken individuals But things don t always turn out okay, and what you re left with is the harsh reality of life We all experience tragedy We are, all of us, lonely hunters I simply cannot get this book out of my head Like most everyone else I am astounded that Carson McCullers was only 23 years old when she wrote this Such wisdom and insight from someone so young is truly remarkable And there are so many great reviews out there, I just could not stop reading them A great many of them, as one might expect discuss the greater themes of this book and there can be no doubt that I too fell to pondering these many things as I thought about the world today.I m I simply cannot get this book out of my head Like most everyone else I am astounded that Carson McCullers was only 23 years old when she wrote this Such wisdom and insight from someone so young is truly remarkable And there are so many great reviews out there, I just could not stop reading them A great many of them, as one might expect discuss the greater themes of this book and there can be no doubt that I too fell to pondering these many things as I thought about the world today.I mean just think about it Racial inequality and discriminationEconomic division of the classesSubjugation and objectification of women and minoritiesSocial InjusticeWarStill I would like to talk for just a minute or two about another constant thread within this story and perhaps the best way to begin is to tell you about something that happened to me Way too many years ago when I was still in the early stages of my career I got a promotion, one that I had worked hard to be considered for It was an important advancement for me No longer was I only responsible for my own contribution but also for the output of others As much as I wanted the opportunity to lead, once I actually got it, I was a nervous wreck I m sure my new boss sensed just how jangled I was and called me aside to have a little pow wow in his office It was a good meeting and he quickly reviewed some of the tools that he believed would help me achieve my objectives, but mostly he stressed that he wanted me to focus on one skill that his observations told him I already possessed The skill of which he spoke was listening He went on to add that far too many people forgot how to do it That people got so wrapped up in determining just how they were going to respond to someone or a given situation that they actually stopped hearing what was being said to them If you want to succeed he said do not fall into this trap Listen carefully and not just with your ears he said, but employ all of your faculties If you can do this he assured me, everything else would fall into place Well that particular job really did not work out so well for me and I soon moved on to a new opportunity with a different firm, but I never forgot that first pep talk Over the years that came and went I thought about it frequently and reminded myself often to focuson what others had to say than on my own words And not just professionally either, but at home and in other social situations Wise words, that despite floundering onthan one occasion, have served me well these many years It is also what our five main characters in this novel yearn for Someone to listen to them For Mick, Jake, Biff and Dr Copeland, that person was John Singer Despite the fact that he was deaf and mute they all believed that he understood them and for Mick he even provided a way for her to listen to her beloved music John Singer however, had lost his only audience when they took Antonapoulos away and even though he was never really sure how much of what he signed Antonapoulos actually understood, it did not matter He too needed to be heard There are so many layers to this story but through them all lay this need to be heard and to be understood.How ominous is it that I find myself reflecting on the art of listening just one week before Donald Trump becomes the President of the most powerful democratic nation in the world.The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is timeless, profound and a thing of rare beauty The heart is a lonely hunter and it can break in many different ways Mine broke several times while reading this stunning document of American life What a rich and multifaceted story, and what a perfect complement to other giants of American storytelling of that era Just in the beginning, I saw traces of Steinbeck, most notably of his Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, in the small town talk and the slightly comical marital scenes But the tone quickly grew darker, and when African American li The heart is a lonely hunter and it can break in many different ways Mine broke several times while reading this stunning document of American life What a rich and multifaceted story, and what a perfect complement to other giants of American storytelling of that era Just in the beginning, I saw traces of Steinbeck, most notably of his Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, in the small town talk and the slightly comical marital scenes But the tone quickly grew darker, and when African American life was introduced and put into contrast with the poor white characters, deeply rooted issues of racism, prejudice, exploitation and segregation took over.I thought I would claim one of the most heartbreaking scenes to be the naive prayer of an old coloured person, whose hope in Jesus reflects the evil of racist society and its dominating gods perfectly I say to Him, Jesus Christ, us is all sad coloured peoples And then he will place His holy hand upon our heads and straightway us will be white as cotton My heart broke for that desperate old person, whose religion is tainted by the hopeless situation of white supremacy, both in the spiritual and physical world But it turned out to be a minor issue in the complex community of lonely hearts.My heart broke for the man who tries to change the lives of coloured people in his neighbourhood, exchanging belief in Jesus for belief in Marxism, and seeing the dogma of socialism as the natural conclusion of the teachings of Jesus He reminded me of the confused characters in Wise Blood, who get rid of their aggressive religion only to create another anti creed, while mirroring their previous behaviour exactly They have been trained to accept an authoritarian dogma even if they drop their supernatural faith in gods Religious at heart, they have to follow a strong leader There is no freedom of thought But even though the socialist idea contains respect and hope for a better future for African Americans as well as for the poor masses of workers in general, that concept of life is bound to fail as well in a world that worships and perpetuates white power and corporate domination of capital My heart broke when a disillusioned socialist explains the brainwashing that takes place within society to make exploited victims of corporate thinking believe in American freedom while rattling their chains But it has taken a hell of a lot of lies to keep them from knowing , he summarises But still he chooses to fight his African American counterpart instead of joining forces for real change Each one according to his own lonely heart and creed.Trying to obtain justice in such a society can only lead to violence and continued abuse, as a heartbroken father experiences first hand when he tries to enter a white court to demand justice for his son, crippled for life in a prison.My heart broke when I read about the gratuitous violence against the young coloured men, and their lifelong suffering as a result They have no voice to cry out for justice, and their fate is that of an Invisible Man in Ellison s definition they can t be seen because nobody wants to see them BLACK LIVES MATTER, one feels like yelling, taking a knee for change after a long history of abuse But we all know what power answers when one tries to make one s voice heard Money and exclusive club behaviour speak louder than justice Still.My heart broke because of the inhumane suffering of poor children in a society that doesn t care about healthcare, education and safety Where children are allowed to recklessly carry weapons at the age of 7, there will be accidents that destroy several families There is no statistical research needed to prove that general availability of guns has a negative effect on innocent people When a child hurts another child with a firearm, both end up victims of an absurd interpretation of the rights of man to protect themselves.My heart broke for the young girl who dreams of becoming a pianist, but whose fate it is to live and suffer a poor girl s life Nella Larsen s Quicksand comes to mind a life spent dreaming, without ever actually having a chance to follow one s heart.My heart broke for the deaf mute man around whom the other characters circle like the spokes in a wheel People in his surroundings treat him like a god because his muteness allows them to give him the qualities they wish him to have I bow to Carson McCullers for that perfect definition of a god mute and therefore adaptable to our personal, private imagination Only the mute s obese and egocentric fellow mute friend can t find anything godlike in him, of course, and he suffers as a result The heart is a strange hunter as well Some hearts are too broken to be mended, after all.My heart broke because the contrast between fascism and democracy is as vividly tangible to me in our present times as it was to the characters in 1940, witnessing the rise of Hitler in Europe When a young Jewish boy explains to his own horror that he was a fascist before he knew what Hitler did to Jews, it echoes what lures young impressionable people to accept and worship the power of a populist narcissist You know all the pictures of the people our age in Europe marching and singing songs and keeping step together I used to think that was wonderful All of them pledged to each other and with one leader All of them with the same ideals and marching in step together The wish for unity in sameness is strong in religious and ideological communities around the world at all times, but occasionally it takes control of a whole generation, as in the 1930s The scary revelation, to the boy himself, is the fact that it works so well He concludes that there is no time for personal ambition as long as fascism reigns in Germany It is democracy against dictatorship, and all other issues are paling beside the great struggle of the time.My heart broke because it is true, but at the same time it is not All the other characters still fight their own fights against racism, sexism, poverty and prejudice Life is too complicated for us to grasp, even when we are living it in a small town in America, powerless and helplessly alone with our pounding hearts.The heart is a lonely hunter, but we can share our heartfelt stories and hopefully develop some compassion for the hearts of others, learning to treat them with care and respect For they keep pounding even when they are broken It just hurts as hell Tread softly because you tread on my dreams ROCK AND ROLLIt turns out that Miss McCullers did most of her great writing most of her entire writing before she was 30 Rock and roll After 30 she was too busy having ghastly illnesses and marrying the same guy three or four times, and dodging invitations to a suicide pact from the guy she married all those times So when she was 22 I ask you she wrote this first novel which is a stone American classic I had heretofore thought that absorbing a ton of influences and developing a uniq ROCK AND ROLLIt turns out that Miss McCullers did most of her great writing most of her entire writing before she was 30 Rock and roll After 30 she was too busy having ghastly illnesses and marrying the same guy three or four times, and dodging invitations to a suicide pact from the guy she married all those times So when she was 22 I ask you she wrote this first novel which is a stone American classic I had heretofore thought that absorbing a ton of influences and developing a unique voice all by the age of 22 had only been done by Lennon McCartney, Bob Dylan and Aubrey Beardsley, but Miss McCullers performs this remarkable feat too Her surefootedness and precision are fantastic I m so much in awe that I feel sick to my stomach.METAPHORS FOR GOD WHICH IS A METAPHOR ALREADY Onto the book itself The inexorable gravitational pull of the metaphor in all our verbal dealings is something I have mentioned before, so that even someone like Raymond Carver s ironed flat tell it like it is bargain basement prose still spins in stories like So Much Water So Close to Home or A Small Good Thing brilliant metaphorical explorations of the various uncomfortable truths he shoves our way the ignored corpse, the tasteless birthday cake Perhaps we no longer love overly obvious metaphors Little Red Riding Hood then again, perhaps we do The Titanic But they re very useful when you try to talk about God in fact it s impossible to talk about God non metaphorically insofar as God is Himself a metaphor Fictionmakers love God metaphors last year we had Ron Currie s disappointing God is Dead , a few years back we had the smart Jim Carey movie The Truman Show , further back we have other movies like Whistle Down the Wind and Theorem In The Heart is a Lonely Hunter John Singer, the deaf mute, the blank slate, the man who everyone talks to but who talks to nobody, stands for God People pour out their dreams, fears hopes onto him and he scribbles the odd bland sentence in reply and they think he understands all and knows all In fact and here s Miss McCullers audacious vicious twist John Singer is himself completely obsessed with another deaf mute who he thinks of as almost Godlike but who in fact is a fat greedy imbecile confined to a mental asylum If we follow the metaphor along, not too fancifully I think, we find that Antonapoulos the idiot therefore represents the human race, with which God Singer is fatally, poignantly, uselessly obsessed Antonapoulos will never get well and was a sad mistake to begin with so what does that say about the rest of us chickens Not much.BRIEF ACTS OF APPALLING VIOLENCE Miss McCullers doesn t belabour this central conceit too much and she also throws in a ton of local knowledge but without smacking you upside the head every time like Annie Proulx does And although this is a slow old read at times, a lot of doing nothing punctuated by brief acts of appalling violence is this what the American South is like , her sad sweet song of humanity is as beautiful a tune as I ve heard all year Carson McCullers prodigious first novel was published to instant acclaim when she was just twenty three Set in a small town in the middle of the deep South, it is the story of John Singer, a lonely deaf mute, and a disparate group of people who are drawn towards his kind, sympathetic nature The owner of the caf where Singer eats every day, a young girl desperate to grow up, an angry drunkard, a frustrated black doctor each pours their heart out to Singer, their silent confidant, and he in turn changes their disenchanted lives in ways they could never imagine Each year I attempt to participate in classics bingo in the group catching up on classics This year, so far, so good I gave a lot of thought as to which classic book I wanted to use for my classic of North America square There are a few authors that come to mind as classic American authors, where each piece of literature written by them reads like a story being told on one s front porch The names Hemingway and Steinbeck first come to my mind, along with that of Carson McCullers Distinctly s Each year I attempt to participate in classics bingo in the group catching up on classics This year, so far, so good I gave a lot of thought as to which classic book I wanted to use for my classic of North America square There are a few authors that come to mind as classic American authors, where each piece of literature written by them reads like a story being told on one s front porch The names Hemingway and Steinbeck first come to my mind, along with that of Carson McCullers Distinctly southern and writing about the human condition during the era in which she lived, Carson McCullers is a literary treasure My mother owns the complete set of her writing in one volume and I have previously read Member of a Wedding, which was a gem It comes as little surprise then that I selected McCullers definitive work The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter for my classic of North America square this year as her work comes straight from the heart and is a joy to read.I can not say much about The Heart is a Lonely Hunter that has not been written before Taking place in a Georgia mill town during the Great Depression, McCullers writes of the trials and travails that occurred during that time The town could have been her own and the female protagonist Mick Kelly could been McCullers when she was younger She speaks out about racism, fascism, the rights of the disabled, as well as the depression, through the alternating chapters told through the eyes of her archetypal protagonists Singer, Biff Brannon, Jake Blount, Doctor Benedict Copeland, and Mick Kelly Readers find a woman ahead of her time in that she views blacks, Jews, whites, men, and women as equals, and this was during the 1930s Perhaps the fact that McCullers was all of twenty three years of age when she wrote this timeless novel speaks to her views of society in that her generation did not emerge as leaders until the later 1940s, when people did start to speak out against racism and lack of rights for women Published in 1940, McCullers work was slightly ahead of its time and most likely eye opening for many.With blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles, unmarried men and women sharing dialogue in the south, McCullers work is refreshing for this era as well as the country has become as polarized as it was during the times of separate but equal Each of her protagonists had much to say about society, and each had a plan as to how to better themselves and the world that they lived in The world needspeople like Doctor Copeland, Biff Brannon, Jake Blount, Singer, and Mick Kelly Yet, they are a thing of the past and many of their inclusive views with them The literary world also needswriters like Carson McCullers who spoke her mind from a young age Her work remains as timeless as ever and her Georgia mill town an archetype for forward thinking people Carson McCullers work should be viewed as North American classic writing, and I look forward to readingof it in the coming year.5 timeless stars The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCuller s Portrait of the Faces Behind the Masks The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was chosen as a group read by On The Southern Literary Trail for January, 2017 This is the third time McCuller s novel has been selected as a group read by The Trail, making it the most read novel by members of the group which was founded in February, 2012.Thanks to a former goodreads friend, I ve learned I am only gently mad It was a relief to discover that Because my self ana The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCuller s Portrait of the Faces Behind the Masks The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was chosen as a group read by On The Southern Literary Trail for January, 2017 This is the third time McCuller s novel has been selected as a group read by The Trail, making it the most read novel by members of the group which was founded in February, 2012.Thanks to a former goodreads friend, I ve learned I am only gently mad It was a relief to discover that Because my self analysis has been that I m excessively obsessive when it comes to the love of books After having taken his recommendation to read A Gentle Madness Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A Basbanes, my soul is somewhat rested.However, there remains the fact I have, excuse me, had four copies of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter I absolve myself for the first, it was a Bantam paperback picked up at the now defunct college bookstore, Malones That paperback cost me lunch that day, even though at the time Krystal Hamburgers were only 25 cents apiece For those not familiar with Krystals, they are much akin to White Castle They are little, square, and served on a steamed bun, grilled onions,smashed down onto the little thin patty, and given a squirt of cheap yellow mustard There are still days when I ve got to have a Krystal But they re not a quarter anyMy First Copy The paperback was read and re read Somewhere through the years, it vanished, perhaps the victim of a garage sale during a period I call my former life BD, i.e before divorce I hope it least went for the cost of a Krystal, but I doubt it.Lonely Hunter was not the first McCullers I read Professor O.B Emerson, Professor Emeritus, Department of English, The University of Alabama introduced me to Ms McCullers through The Ballad of the Sad Caf and Other Stories That one cost me a sack of Krystals, too That s all right From my current waist line, it doesn t appear I missed too many meals.Dr Emerson was a little banty rooster of a man, coal black hair, brilliantined to a shine that reflected the fluorescent lights of the class room He considered McCullers essential to his curriculum in his Southern Literature course From my first exposure to McCullers, I was hooked The little man with the loud colored bow ties, outfitted in seersucker suits and a sporty straw hat made me a convert for life.After graduation, Professor Emerson and I would converse via telephone from time to time He was gleeful to learn that The Execution of Private Slovikhad been made into a movie for television in 1974 I heard him click on his set and the ice cubes rattle in his Wild Turkey, his bourbon of choice In my mind, I could see him with his books shelved floor to ceiling, all arranged, not alphabetically, but by coordinating colors of dust jackets It was an aesthetic matter I didn t understand it, and I took art He was less impressed with the big screen adaptation of The Klansmanin 1974 Both were novels by Hartselle, Alabama author William Bradford Huie Professor Emerson was a big Huie fan He shared one thing in common with Huie Both had received death threats from the Klan and had crosses burned in their yards Huie, because of his novel, Emerson because he had Justice Thurgood Marshall over for dinner one night It was Professor Emerson s proudest moment in life He gloried in telling the tale.Since Professor Emerson introduced me to Carson McCullers, this review is for him He died while I was out of town, some years ago I missed his memorial service I don t even know where he is buried But I owe him much, because he imprinted me with a love of Southern literature In some ways, I picture his life as one of loneliness, not unlike the characters you frequently encounter in the works of McCullers.But, I digress I was supposed to be telling you about The Heart is a Lonely Hunter I m getting there We Southerners are prone to digression It s a manner of story telling in these parts.My next copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the edition pictured The jacket features one of my favorite photographs of McCullers My Second Copy The second copy was justified by love Love justifies a lot I just gave that edition away out of love for two of whom I call my honorary children, William and Nancy Roane William is the director of a short film called Old Photograph It should premiere this spring I play a hard shell Baptist type preacher in charge of a home for wayward girls The screenplay was a collaboration between William and his younger sister, Nancy I think they are two of the most brilliant and engaging kids I ve met He s going through the Fulbright rounds, a senior at Oberlin, and she s in her first year at Oberlin.Nancy is a natural writer Her story, Everyone knew Ruby, has been published I ve read it It s good Everyone only thought they knew Ruby They found out they didn t when she committed suicide It is William s next film project.I asked if either of them had read McCullers Neither had The central theme in Nancy s story echoes that in McCuller s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter While celebrating Christmas and New Year s with them at a lunch, a few days ago, I presented them with my copy, inscribed with two quotes from the novel The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone The other was, All we can do is go around telling the truth Then I encouraged the Roane siblings to give the Coen Brothers a run for their money I think they can.My third copy of Hunter is a beautiful slip cased reproduction of the first edition from the former First Editions Library I understand that Easton bought the company and that as copies in the series are sold, they will not be reprinted Find this one, if you can It s just a beautiful book to hold in your hands The Third Copy Finally, I had to have the complete McCullers I highly recommend Carson McCullers Complete Novels The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Reflections in a Golden Eye The Ballad of the Sad Cafe The Member of the Wedding Clock Without Hands The Fourth Volume of McCullers on my Library Shelf Although biographical influence is often scorned as a means to literary criticism, I don t think it is possible to fully explore some works without some knowledge of the life of the author That s definitely true of Hunter Carson McCullerswas born February 19, 1917, in Columbus, Georgia, the daughter of Lamar and Marguerite Waters Smith Her birth name was Lula Carson Smith She dropped the Lula around 1930 Her life was relatively short Having a bout of rheumatic fever during her high school years affected her health until her death caused by a cerebral hemorrhage on September 29, 1967 Her life was spent in fits of creativity marred by acute episodes of depression A good portion of her life was spent in a wheel chair.It does not come as a surprise, when you become familiar with McCuller s life that her literary works were filled with the unloved, the outcasts, and misfits Nor is it any surprise that her works revolve around desperate attempts to form loving relationships and those relationships in which the lover s pursuit is one that remains unrequited.Carson began taking piano lessons at an early age Her original plan was to become a concert pianist You can find this experience as the basis for her story, Wunderkind.McCullers was a wunderkind until struck with rheumatic fever at the age of fifteen She gamely continued through school to graduate at age seventeen She intended to go to Juliard She never made it there She began taking creative writing classes at Columbia while working menial jobs.While in New York she met Reese McCullers whom she fell in love with too quickly and they married Divorced once Married twice He was an alcoholic, prone to depression and ultimately committed suicide, wanting Carson to die with him She refused, although she had attempted to commit suicide on an earlier occasion, alone.Shortly after their first marriage, the McCullers traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Reese found work There, McCullers wrote Hunter It was published in 1940 McCullers was twenty three She was a literary wunderkind The book was an instant best seller, hitting the top of the market in sales Critical reception was mixed.McCuller s title comes from Fiona MacLeodin her poem The Lonely Hunter, found in From The Hills of Dream Threnodies Songs and Later Poems MacLeod wrote O never a green leaf whispers, where the green gold branches swing O never a song I hear now, where one was wont to sing.Here in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill It is 1931 The setting is a small mill town in Georgia.McCuller s initially entitled the novel, The Mute, as the central character is John Singer, a deaf mute, who can truly only communicate with his room mate, a Greek named Spiros Anastopolous They have been companions for ten years, Singer working as a silver engraver in a jewelry store, and Anastopolous working in his cousin s fruit stand John and Spiros can communicate through signing However, Spiros becomes sick, a changed man, engaging in irrational behavior His cousin commits him to an insane asylum Singer is left alone, unable to communicate with anyone.With his companion gone, Singer moves into the Kelly family s boarding house Mick is a gawky adolescent, unable to recognize the changes occurring in her body, unable to recognize what adolescents haven t yet done, the initiation into sex She wants to be a musician, she wants to play the piano Essentially she wants anything that she doesn t believe she can achieve until she begins to compose her own songs It is with Mick that McCullers addresses the universal awkwardness of the coming of age.Singer no longer makes his meals in his apartment Now, he takes his meals at Biff s New York Cafe Biff s wife Alice dies and he is now alone.Jake Blount is a customer at Biff s He is a labor organizer, an agitator He is a Marxist Blount drinks to excess After meeting Singer, he speaks to him at length, incapable of understanding that Singer can t talk back After becoming too drunk to navigate his way home, Singer walks him back to his room for company and to give Blount a place to stay for the night.Dr Copeland is a black physician, disappointed that his children have not become educated but have been satisfied to take the menial jobs available to blacks in the South at that time He is angry at whites, with the exception of John Singer who had once offered him the kindness of lighting his cigarette Singer is the only white man who has ever shown him courtesy of any kind.The novel shifts from point of view, character by character But Singer is always the central figure in McCuller s novel Biff, Jake, Copeland, and Mick, all begin to regularly come to Singer s room where they confide their deepest feelings to him Each feels that he understands what they say and feel But he does not, nor is he able to communicate his longing for his former companion.Each of the characters who rotate through Singer s room wear a mask, rarely disclosing what they feel to anyone It is only to Singer that they reveal their true feelings It is safe Who can Singer tell Singer is almost the priest in the confessional.While each of the four have found their confidant, Singer growsalone as he visits Spiros in the asylum, only to find that his friend has becomeseriously ill with each visit Spiros death will be Singer s unraveling.Oddly, as Singer unravels, the confessing quartet begin to turn to others and bring them into their lives Biff turns to his wife s sister, Lucille Blount and Copeland find a common cause in discussing issues of race, politics, and class struggle Mick and a young Jewish boy, Harry Minowitz, find first love after a swim in a nearby pond view spoiler None understand that after Singer learns his friend Spiros has died in the asylum why Singer would ever commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest Each thought they knew him so well and that he knew each of them hide spoiler In East of Eden,John Steinbeck wrote, Perhaps the best conversationalist is the man who helps others to talk John Singer did that very well.In the years since its debut, Hunter has steadily grown in stature for what is now recognized as its brilliance The novel is number seventeen on The Modern Library s list of 100 greatest novels of the twentieth century Time Magazine listed it on its 100 Best English language Novels from 1923 to 2005.Richard Wright, in reviewing McCuller s first novel wrote Out of the tradition of Gertrude Stein s experiments in style and the clipped, stout prose of Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway comes Carson McCullers The Heart is a Lonely Hunter With the depression as a murky backdrop, this first novel depicts the bleak landscape of the American consciousness below the Mason Dixon line Miss McCullers picture of loneliness, death, accident, insanity, fear, mob violence and terror is perhaps the most desolate that has so far come from the South Her quality of despair is unique and individual and it seems to menatural and authentic than that of Faulkner Her groping characters live in a worldcompletely lost than any Sherwood Anderson ever dreamed of And she recounts incidents of death and attitudes of stoicism in sentences whose neutrality makes Hemingway s terse prose seem warm and partisan by comparison So, Professor Emerson, this review is dedicated to you I don t have any Wild Turkey, but forgive me as I lift this shot of Gentleman Jack in my toast to you I miss you.Yet, as McCullers said, There was neither beginning nor end to this sorrow Nor understanding How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind Amen.EDIT This novel was selected as a group read for the goodreads group On the Southern Literary Trail for April, 2012 It is shared for the benefit of the group, and, hopefully to draw interest to a novel that deserves to be read.Mike Sullivan,Founder and ModeratorReferences1 The Carson McCullers ProjectThe Lonely Hunter A Biography of Carson McCullersby Virginia Spencer Carr3 The Lonely Hunter from From The Hills of Dream Threnodies Songs and Later Poems byFiona MacLeod4 A Review of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Richard Wright A Timeline of the Life of Carson McCullers Rating 4.99 of fiveA near perfect book, a joy of a read, and a heartfelt thank you to the goddesses of literature for it My review has moved out of the purview of censors and moneygrubbers to my blog Rating 4.99 of fiveA near perfect book, a joy of a read, and a heartfelt thank you to the goddesses of literature for it My review has moved out of the purview of censors and moneygrubbers to my blog And here we are in the world full of probabilities, reasoning with the unreasoned existence, awestruck at the purposelessness of life, at actions with no consequences, at endings with nore beginnings, once we die, we die Alone is our planet and so are we, some of us arealone than the rest though, some of us choose to be so, for some it s the only option And it is the tale of chosen and of those who chose A tale of love and of whom who seek love, of abandoned and espoused, of isolat And here we are in the world full of probabilities, reasoning with the unreasoned existence, awestruck at the purposelessness of life, at actions with no consequences, at endings with nore beginnings, once we die, we die Alone is our planet and so are we, some of us arealone than the rest though, some of us choose to be so, for some it s the only option And it is the tale of chosen and of those who chose A tale of love and of whom who seek love, of abandoned and espoused, of isolated and integrated, of alienated and assimilated, and of whom, who were left alone Every soul who breaths life, seeks love, to love and be loved the vain and only desire of humans, we can t help desiring so, we can t help loving those who gave up on us, we can t help hoping against hope, and the torment one endures is never justified with any word of any language, but that forsaken love never perishes The very essence of platonic love, is seen in the figure of Singer, our main character, It is one of the characteristics of ideal romantic love, derived from Platonism, that it need not be reciprocal the beloved, indeed, may even be unaware of the lover s existence or the existence of love, love never dies of indifference, never diminishes by ignorance, but the relation of singer with Antonapoulos is not entirely of this sort, it is, in view of the latter s limitations, an approximation of it Singer s love does not require reciprocation but it does require an object, we may never be in our lives come to see our beloved, but we want him around us, the surety of sharing the same sky can appease much, the certainty of breathing in same air is of comfort immensely, because love needs not reward, or love in return, it s not an act that expects to be re acted, it s the whole life as we keep living, we keep loving ,and when Antonopoulos dies, his own reason for living dies tooAs for other characters, each of the five main characters strives to break out of his or her isolated existence The reasons each character is isolated are very different the deaf mute John Singer cannot communicate with most of the world because he cannot speak Mick Kelly cannot communicate with anyone in her family because they do not share her intelligence and ambition Biff Brannon is left alone when his wife dies Dr Copeland is alienated from his family and from other black people because of his education and viewpoints Jake Blount is alone is his radical social viewpoints and in the fact that he is a newcomer in town.The fact that Carson was only twenty three when she completed this heartbreaking tale, makes it sadder than before, and I can t help thinking, was Carson in truth, trying to carve a home god of her own, who would play silent and listen to her bruised heart and history says, she didn t find any, instead died at fifty with a weighty heart who had so much to say, but heart remained a lonely hunter I read this years ago before being a member on Goodreads Just forgot to post any comments Thanks to Steve for the inspiration of memory The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter one of those books that leaves a lasting tattoo on your heart forever Not only does it take place during the Great Depression during times of racial injustice not only do we see feel touch experience loneliness through a character so profound deeper than most have ever been written but it was THIS novel where I l I read this years ago before being a member on Goodreads Just forgot to post any comments Thanks to Steve for the inspiration of memory The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter one of those books that leaves a lasting tattoo on your heart forever Not only does it take place during the Great Depression during times of racial injustice not only do we see feel touch experience loneliness through a character so profound deeper than most have ever been written but it was THIS novel where I learned the full beauty of feeling music through sign language.A Classic Best 5 stars The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter


About the Author: Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers was an American who wrote fiction, often described as Southern Gothic, that explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South From 1935 to 1937 she divided her time, as her studies and health dictated, between Columbus and New York and in September 1937 she married an ex soldier and aspiring writer, Reeves McCullers They began their married life in Charlotte, North Carolina where Reeves had found some work There, and in Fayetteville, North Carolina, she wrote her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, in the Southern Gothic tradition The title, suggested by McCullers s editor, was taken from Fiona MacLeod s poem The Lonely Hunter However, many including Carson McCullers claim she wrote in the style of Southern Realism, a genre inspired by Russian Realism The novel itself was interpreted as an anti fascist book Altogether she published eight books The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter 1940 , written at the age of twenty three, Reflections in a Golden Eye 1941 , and The Member of the Wedding 1946 , are the best known The novella The Ballad of the Sad Cafe 1951 also depicts loneliness and the pain of unrequited love She was an alumna of Yaddo in Saratoga, New York The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was filmed in 1968 with Alan Arkin in the lead role Reflections in a Golden Eye was directed by John Huston 1967 , starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor Some of the film was shot in New York City and on Long Island, where Huston was permitted to use an abandoned Army installation Many of the interiors and some of the exteriors were done in Italy I first met Carson McCullers during the war when I was visiting Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith in upstate New York, said Huston in An Open Book 1980 Carson lived nearby, and one day when Buzz and I were out for a walk she hailed us from her doorway She was then in her early twenties, and had already suffered the first of a series of strokes I remember her as a fragile thing with great shining eyes, and a tremor in her hand as she placed it in mine It wasn t palsy, rather a quiver of animal timidity But there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life And as her afflictions multiplied, she only grew stronger After lifelong health problems including severe alcoholism, McCullers died of brain hemorrhage.


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