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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson…

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

by Carson McCullers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,955201581 (3.96)1 / 626
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 (8)
WF (12)
Cooper (20)
Romans (35)

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English (185)  Spanish (4)  Catalan (3)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (199)
Showing 1-5 of 185 (next | show all)
Because in some men it is in them to give up everything personal at some time, before it ferments and poisons--throw it to some human being or some human idea. They have to.

Definitely a book to be savoured at a leisurely pace, time and time again. A brilliant study of the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships, of words thrown into the void - hopeful, excited paper boats left to float downstream with the heavy, eternal uncertainty of whether they will ever reach anyone at all.
The theme of failed communication and misunderstanding that drives people who have more in common than they can imagine to loneliness and despair is developed admirably. People's lives start converging on Singer, who becomes a symbol of different things to different people and is assigned as many meanings as there are things that people dream of and lack. The discrepancy between his own flawed humanity and the lofty ideals that he comes to represent is the driving force of the novel.
The transition between points of view is subtle and smooth, and each chapter is finely tailored to the character on which it is focused. Each story is moving and engrossing, and they are intricately connected as they can only be in a small town in the Deep South.
A fine, fine specimen of the Great American Novel, whether or not it is officially referred to as such. ( )
1 vote ViktorijaB93 | Apr 10, 2020 |
To be fair, i took much longer than i should have to read a book like this. Picked it up and put it down a lot and struggled to reinvest myself each time. This book is 75% headspace. A handful of big things actually happening are scattered throughout. The writing is at times breathtaking, but because i struggled to care about most of the many characters, i found myself counting down page numbers a lot to the end, to just be done. ( )
  aezull | Mar 17, 2020 |
As hard as I tried I could not maintain interest in the characters. I loved the reviews about the book but sadly unable to focus myself to finish it. I have to add that I have seriously tried several times to "savor" the morals and enjoy this classic novel. As much as I found some of the characters interesting it just wasn't enough to compel me to finish. I hate abandoning books so perhaps I shall re-attempt at another time. ( )
  marquis784 | Feb 15, 2020 |
I have always wanted to read this book. And having read it now, I am in absolute awe that it was written by someone who was only 23. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking portrait of life in a small town in Georgia in the 1930's. It is written from the point of view of several characters: a deaf-mute, a young girl, a black physician, a restaurant owner, and a drifter who stops in the town for awhile. These are imperfect and sometimes ugly characters, but McCullers makes us admire the way they pursue their dreams and passions against a backdrop where the people are poor and life is hard and generally hopeless.

This novel should really get 5 stars, it is deservedly a classic. My 4 star rating reflects only my taste, because while I appreciated the genius of the writing, the plot was hard to pin down and it moved very slowly. ( )
  AngeH | Jan 2, 2020 |
An old classic worth reading about loneliness and the how poverty rules ones life. ( )
  joannemonck | Oct 8, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 185 (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 (64 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carson McCullersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boddy, KasiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruggen, W.F.H. tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gelder, Molly vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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