The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers / Aug 18, 2019

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Alternate edition cover

  • Title: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  • Author: Carson McCullers
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 348
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Alternate edition cover

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      348 Carson McCullers
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      Posted by:Carson McCullers
      Published :2018-011-01T21:48:04+00:00

    About "Carson McCullers"

      • 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.


    1. I knew nothing about this book at all. Well, except for the title, I’d definitely heard the title before – but I would have bet money the book was written by a man and that it was bad romance novel, at least, that would have been my best guess. Instead, this is now perhaps one of my all-time favourite American novels. It can be compared without the least blush of embarrassment with Steinbeck at his best and Harper Lee out killing mocking birds – and there are many, many points of compariso [...]

    2. 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 [...]

    3. 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 [...]

    4. 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 [...]

    5. 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 to [...]

    6. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCuller's Portrait of the Faces Behind the MasksThe 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 friend, I've learned I am only gently mad. It was a relief to discover that. Because my self-analysis has [...]

    7. 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.

    8. *10 out of 5 lonely, burning stars, light years apart, yet winking together in a shared cosmosIS IS NOT A LOVE-STORY! Not in the romantic sense, in any case. Somehow the title had always made me think it was a soppy love story about unrequited romantic love. There is love in the novel, but for the most part not of the romantic kind.Rather, it is a cry into the existential darkness that surrounds humankind, and in many respects it is a deeply political, even philosophical novel, which reminded me [...]

    9. Dondequiera que uno mire, hay mezquindad y corrupción. Esta habitación, esta botella de vino de uvas, estas frutas de la cesta, son todos productos de ganancias y pérdidas. Nadie puede vivir sin prestar su aceptación pasiva a la mezquindad. Alguien tiene que agotarse por completo por cada bocado que comemos y cada pedazo de tela que llevamos puesto… y nadie parece darse cuenta. Todo el mundo está ciego, mudo, obtuso…, estúpido y mezquino. Pero ¿qué ocurre con un hombre que sabe? Ve c [...]

    10. Let's get this out of the way. Garima, Dolors and Aubrey's gorgeously written tributes to the spirit of this American classic have pretty much made the task of composing additional paeans unnecessary. So my review is only going to be a shoddily-disguised justification for upgrading an initial 4-star rating to a deserving 5-star one. No I didn't choose to accord that previously withheld star bowing to a monster named 'peer pressure'. The actual worth of a work of literature can be measured by the [...]

    11. By the time Mozart was 5, he was composing his own music and performing for royalty. John Stuart Mill had mastered Latin, Greek, Algebra and Euclidean Geometry by the time he was 8. Bobby Fischer won the US Chess Championship at the age of 14. When Orson Welles was 20, he directed his own adaptation of Macbeth as a WPA project with unemployed black performers in Harlem. Why I myself, if you’ll forgive me for crowing, memorized the batting averages of every member of the Cincinnati Reds’ star [...]

    12. 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 no more re-beginnings, once we die, we die. Alone is our planet and so are we, some of us are more alone 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 isol [...]

    13. “Go, my songs, to the lonely and the unsatisfied,Go also to the nerve-racked, go to the enslaved-by-convention,Bear to them my contempt for their oppressors.Go as a great wave of cool water,Bear my contempt of oppressors.” “Go”, commands Ezra Pound in his poem “Comission”. And so I obey, and I go. I go and listen to the mute choir of the lonesome and the restless, of the disinherited and the excluded, of the alienated and the embittered. Isolated voices withering in despair, wrestlin [...]

    14. Artistically formed constellations hold the promise of beauty and solidarity but Loneliness is that single star I once spotted on a dark moonless night. It shows the right way, they said. That caused a profound sadness in me for reasons unknown. Now I know. A little.What did he understand? Nothing. Where was he headed? Nowhere. What did he want? To know. What? A meaning. Why? A riddle.There are definitions galore for life and each one of them carries the trace of bittersweet truth which is hard [...]

    15. I have read 8 of Carson McCullers books, and like the rest of the world I agree that this is her best work. It sets a tone that I found prevailing in almost all of her books, a sad and melancholy outlook on life, and being a young and impressionable eccentric in 1940's small town Georgia, I can understand that. This is her masterpiece. It was made into a 1968 movie starring Alan Arkin and it is firmly placed in the list of best American novels.4.5 starsSide note: Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, will mark [...]

    16. Sing for the South, the Nation, the World Entire, for they know not what they do.Sing for the man with the matted suit and pearl-rimmed tongue, the rustic know how and the fine edged intellectual gait, the words, the words, always the words. He walks with his heart bound in a lexicon and pinned upon his mouth, and where he walks he sees the terrible secret and cannot keep silent. Long ago he stripped from himself his measure of complacent comfort, and now he wanders in a naked anger, ever seekin [...]

    17. I may come back and give this four stars, but for now I can't.I first started this book maybe two years ago. I got about 100 pages into it and stopped. I didn't stop because I disliked it. Rather, it seemed at the time a natural result from the inertia and momentum of the book itself. Basically, I wasn't quite sure whether I had stopped or whether the book itself had simply stopped and I was just going along with it.I picked it up again because I've always had a nagging feeling about it, and bec [...]

    18. This debut novel from Carson McCullers blew me away. She was 23 — only 23!! — when it was published in 1940, and her book is incredibly gorgeous and moving.The Heart is a Lonely Hunter follows a deaf man, John Singer, in a Georgia mill town in the 1930s. Singer is lonely after his one good friend, Spiros, is taken away to a mental hospital. Gradually, other people in the town come to regard Singer as a confidante, and we get involved in the lives of four people: tomboy Mick Kelly, who loves [...]

    19. John Singer, the deaf/mute. Biff Bannon, the cafe owner. Dr. Copeland, the Negro doctor. Jake Blount, a drifter. And Mick Kelly, a 14 year old girl who hears beautiful music in her head and heart. These are our main players, each of them lonely and looking for someone to talk to, someone who will listen and maybe understand. They all talk incessantly to Mr. Singer, who can't hear them, and rarely understands. Mr. Singer can only talk with his hands, and then only to those who can understand sign [...]

    20. Like most of McCullers stories, this is concerns lonely people living in the deep south. This one is set during WW2, told with strong musical currents (she had a place to study piano at the Julliard, and this shines through most of her work) and a radical passion against poverty and injustice. The language is generally quite simple in terms of vocabulary and sentence length, yet the characters and events are all the more poetic and vivid for this apparent simplicity - a difficult literary trick [...]

    21. The book is finished. But not the story. All the pain, all the loneliness – Jake Blount, Doctor Copeland, Mick – and Singer – Carson has tied it all into a tiny little package, so small, almost a seed – and placed it into the reader, where it will now stay, maybe grow but certainly stay. And perhaps blossom in the reader as it did in the observer Biff, who looked into the abyss. As I have. I move the book from the “currently reading” to the “read” shelf and place a copy on one ot [...]

    22. Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I'm one of them. That's a Ray Bradbury quote, fromDandelion Wine, but I feel it is an apt description of this very young author who seems to carry the whole weight of the world on her shoulders. How is it possible to have so intimate a knowledge of pain [...]

    23. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is a story of heartbreaking solitude and the brutal clash between dreams and reality. Biff in his New York Café, Mr Singer in his muteness, Mick in her Inside Room, and Dr Copeland in his sickness are all joined together by a longing, unrealized, to surpass their circumstances. In Biff's words, "Why? 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 ha [...]

    24. I read this years ago -before being a member on . (Just forgot to post any comments)--Thanks to 'Steve' for the inspiration of memory! "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" one 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 f [...]

    25. The Painful Realities of Small Town Southern Life in 1930s"Southerners are more lonely and estranged. I think because we have lived so long in an artificial social system that we insisted was natural and right and just--when all along we knew it wasn't." Carson McCullers"I am a lone lorn creaturd everythink goes contrairy with me." Mrs. Gummidge, David Copperfield.This veracious Southern Gothic novel, with its common gothic staples of disfigurement, disease, brutality and mortality present in a [...]

    26. A credible friend here in GR told me that this novel is the saddest he had ever read. That’s the main reason why I read this. Well, it is the saddest and most depressing among the fiction ones that I’ve read too. Saddest among the ones I found earlier to be downright depressing: Good Morning, Midnight (1939) by Jean Rhys and The God of Small Things (1997) by Arundhati Roy. Well, I am still to read The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Also, the holocaust- [...]

    27. I find myself consistantly tongue-tied about this book. I've begun nearly four different reviews of this eminantly enjoyable read that have all petered away into nothingness as I try to put into words just what it was that gripped me about McCullers' opus. The first word I can think of is shock. Shock that I had heard next to nothing about this book until pulling it from my shelf. Shock that I have gone so long without it being assigned to me in a class or forced into my hands by a friend. Shock [...]

    28. The ending of Carson McCuller's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is one of the saddest I've ever read. In fact, I'd not hestitate to say it is one of the worst things that could ever happen to me, and I hope like hell it never does. I related too much to situations of concentrating on some small special thing to get through the day. Hearing music and stories in my head. The luxury of energy (and the heart left) to expend on such thoughts should not be taken for granted (even if it is just about some [...]

    29. Carson McCullers was only 22/23 when she wrote this; an amazing feat and a truly great novel. The plot centres around John Singer a man who is deaf and mute. Singer initially lives with his friend Spiros Antanopoulos. Their companionship comes to an end when Spiros's mental health deteriorates and he is admitted to an asylum. Singer then takes a room in the Kelly hpusehold. Here a group of people gravitate around him. Mick Kelly, the daughter of the household has musical aspirations and feels ou [...]

    30. The extra large quotes on the back of books can be strange. Like the words of Jonathan Bate, for instance, regarding 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.' 'I cannot think of any novel that I take more pleasure in re-reading,' he says. And yet I cannot disagree more. I mean, I adored this book. Like everything McCullers wrote it is charged with individuality and a non-cloying empathy that spotlights the soul in all its ragged glory. But it really pained me to read it. Such loneliness and misunderstandi [...]

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