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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

by Carson McCullers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,369212588 (3.96)1 / 628
In a small Georgia mill town during the depression, four misfits form a group that revolves around a deaf-mute whose sole companion has been sent to an insane asylum.
1940s (11)
WF (12)
Cooper (20)
Romans (35)
Teens (13)

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» See also 628 mentions

English (194)  Spanish (5)  Catalan (3)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (209)
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
This is an incredibly well written book--if somebody wanted to throw the word "genius" around, I wouldn't correct them. It's subtle and probing, drawing out the agonies of feeling too much, emotionally. However, it just wasn't my thing. I read it, I enjoyed it as a work of literature/art, but I'm not about to reread it anytime soon. ( )
  whatsmacksaid | Jan 25, 2021 |
'The heart is a Lonely Hunter' in Norwegian.
  EboBooks | Jan 16, 2021 |
"One eye was opened wider than the other. The left eye delved narrowly into the past while the right gazed wide and affrightened into a future of blackness, error, and ruin. And he was suspended between radiance and darkness. Between bitter irony and faith. Sharply he turned away." -Biff from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

There isn't anything I can say about this book that hasn't been said before, and probably said much better. Like other books of its ilk, this book is a must read for anyone looking to fill their "read" shelf with literary classics. A heady dive into Americana and southern gothic: lovely in all its subtleties. Is it a page turner with plot twists galore? Nope. What little action there was, was often told incompletely and left for the reader to fill in the empty spaces as the novel moved abruptly and irrevocably to the next scene. If you're anything like me, be prepared to spend a little time with this novel, it is not one that can be devoured quickly. What it lacks in fast paced action, it more than makes up in beautiful prose, fully dimensional characters, and complex relationships. ( )
  mageestarr | Dec 29, 2020 |
strong girl
  Renaissancereader | Nov 24, 2020 |
This was one of those novels. I found myself thinking: how did I get through so much of life and so much reading and not have discovered this until now. I know that there are many more of these out there, but when I encounter one, I can't help but be surprised. I had dinner with my brother recently; he has read broadly and deeply in his life. He has never read this novel. How do you get across to such a person, who probably has a stack of 15 books at their bedside: you really need to read this.

Of course, there are things this novel is not. It is not a page-turner from a plot perspective, and yet I couldn't put it down. It is not rosy and uplifting. It is simply written, but it is not simple; it is layered. It has unique, quirky characters who interact in intriguing ways. Taking place in a mill town in Georgia in 1938-39, it has a strong vein of social commentary. But then the two characters whose beliefs and goals are the most alike in this respect can't agree on anything. This story does not meander. It is tight. You are left with the impression that this is a writer who knows what she is doing, where she is taking you and how she is going to get there.

My advice: read this book. Even if you don't enjoy it as much as I did, you don't want to risk missing out on the experience. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 25, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 194 (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 (53 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carson McCullersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boddy, KasiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruggen, W.F.H. tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cherry, JonesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gelder, Molly vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
HarperAudioPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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To Reeves McCullers and to Marguerite and Lamar Smith
First words
In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Wikipedia in English


In a small Georgia mill town during the depression, four misfits form a group that revolves around a deaf-mute whose sole companion has been sent to an insane asylum.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
I'm Singer, you're blue.
Come up to my room and talk,
I'll just smile at you.

Legacy Library: Carson McCullers

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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