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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson…
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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

by Carson McCullers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,319153482 (3.96)1 / 568
Recently added byAltheaAnn, Eileeeen, bethanystevens, mirikayla, private library, April44, pintis, JanConant, Laurochka
Legacy LibrariesCarson McCullers, Karen Blixen
1940s (12)
Romans (35)
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English (140)  Spanish (4)  Catalan (3)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (152)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
Narrated by Cherry Jones. I picked this up as one of those classics you hear about but I'd never read. I didn't expect it to be such a character study, the focus on five characters' internal lives. It seems nothing much happens until BOOM, the unexpected occurs. Even as I got to know the characters it always seemed there was something just unknowable and out of reach about each one. These are not detractions; I enjoyed the story in a way I didn't expect. Jones' narration and accent work creates pictures of Mick, Singer, Dr. Copeland, Brannon and the cafe owner whose name I forget, and also evokes the pace of a sleepy southern town. Definitely a work to make you ponder afterwards. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Oof, what a heartbreaking read. A novel that highlights the futility and struggle of the human experience. The four main characters all find wisdom or understanding via their conversations with deaf mute John Singer, whose silence and sadness is mistaken for something more. Singer in turn sees his fellow mute Antonapoulos as a soulmate and friend, while to the reader he seems oblivious and simple. Alongside the gradual unfolding of these relationships, McCullers paints a vivid portrait of the South - racial and political tensions, cruel poverty and random violence interspersed with brief moments of beauty and love. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
This is definitely a very good book and I am sure the discussion at our book club this week will be stimulating. The high rating is well deserved, I just can't go any higher because it is not a happy story. I am beginning to think it is a common thread throughout southern literature. My preference for happier works is not because I am simple, I just find that there is enough sadness in real life, every day in the papers, the internet and the news, that I prefer to be lightened by my reading. Everything I could say about the story seems like a spoiler of sorts, so I will save my thoughs for book club! Pretty damn good work for a 23 year old though! ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
This is a poignant tale of abject loneliness.

John Singer is a deaf mute living in a moderate-sized town in the South. He is "befriended" by four other citizens - Jake Blount (a drunkard and carny worker), Biff Brannon (owner of the New York Cafe), Mick Kelly (a teenage girl who loves music), and Doctor Copeland (the only Negro doctor in town). Each pours out his/her soul to Mr Singer, feeling uniquely understood. But Singer is all alone himself - isolated by his deafness - and ultimately pays the price for being everyone's confidant. Beautifully written but very dark. A classic. (Note: McCullers was only 23 years old when this was published. That is she in the photograph on the cover.) ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 25, 2016 |
As a child, I read the title of this book and loved it. I still love the title, but am much more saddened by it than before.

It's difficult to rate this in a typical way. I didn't enjoy it so I can't rate it as "I like it" (3) or more. The people and the lives in this book are all so relentlessly miserable that experiencing the actual tragedies in the book was a relief.

On the other hand, I do appreciate the concepts and depth of feelings Carson McCullers is trying to express. It's also a fascinating slice of life in the South during the Depression, with frightening echoes in today's world. For me, the most appealing aspects were some beautiful passages, including dialogue, and glimmers of real people.

I think this would be intriguing if read in a book group interested in pulling apart and piecing together all the potential meanings; as a person reading it alone, it was just lonely.

( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
No matter what the age of its author, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" would be a remarkable book. When one reads that Carson McCullers is a girl of 22 it becomes more than that. Maturity does not cover the quality of her work. It is something beyond that, somthing more akin to the vocation of pain to which a great poet is born. Reading her, one feels this girl is wrapped in knowledge which has roots beyond the span of her life and her experience. How else can she so surely plumb the hearts of characters as strange and, under the force of her creative shaping, as real as she presents—two deaf mutes, a ranting, rebellious drunkard, a Negro torn from his faith and lost in his frustrated dream of equality, a restaurant owner bewildered by his emotions, a girl of 13 caught between the world of people and the world of shadows.

Carson McCullers is a full-fledged novelist whatever her age. She writes with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming. "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" is a first novel. One anticipates the second with something like fear. So high is the standard she has set. It doesn't seem possible that she can reach it again.
 

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCullers, Carsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bruggen, W.F.H. tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elst, Ad van derCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Reeves McCullers and to Marguerite and Lamar Smith
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In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618526412, Paperback)

With the publication of her first novel, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated -- and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.
Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the NEW YORK TIMES. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

With the publication of her first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated -- and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty. Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the New York Times. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.… (more)

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Legacy Library: Carson McCullers

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