|Vintage Penguin No. 1566|
Carson McCullers was born in a small Georgia town and it is this town that provides the setting for her writing. The town in the book is never revealed and I believed it was Mississippi but could have been Georgia, Alabama or Louisiana. Carson McCullers was filled with angst and grief and led quite an amazing life herself. She hated violence, perversion, injustice and was herself filled with conflict and pain.
I have ordered her biography that I found on eBay because her life sounds so fascinating.
The main characters are John Singer, as I mentioned, a deaf-mute who lives in a boarding house in a small town.
The other main characters are Jake Blount a frustrated, alcoholic political activist and a bit of a roustabout. Doc Copeland is the black doctor in the town whose scholastic ability is so advanced and he struggles to come to terms with the superstitions and untruths of his own people and the town around him.
Portia is his daughter who works in the household of the boarding house. Mick is the teenage girl who belongs to the family of the people who own the boarding house. They are very poor and she struggles to come to terms with the fact she will not pursue her music that she so loves as she cares for her younger siblings and goes to school. She is a wonderful character.
Biff is the owner of the cafe whose wife dies in the story and he is left behind to deal with his lot in life. All the characters congregate around the cafe or John Singers house. It is here friendships are made. Every week these four people visit John Singer in his boarding house blindly stating their own lives and problems to him. They never know how much he truly understands but he acts like a mentor to them, albeit silent. It is the ending of this book that is so profound. I say no more.
|From the Film 1968|
Loneliness and poverty permeates this book and if you're on a downer I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you want to be surrounded by people worse off than yourself. The years of the depression were so hard for people in America and it is never portrayed better than in the deep south of the U.S
I loved this story. I loved all the characters. I love that they thought deeply about the issues of their time. I loved that they tried so hard to connect to others and John Singer is such a wonderful man.
This book is very much in the vein of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird or John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.
It is Southern Gothic at its best and I think everyone should read it at some time, (but that's just me.) I was deeply moved by this book. I was always going to read it since seeing the movie but since our book group assigned it for the May book I embraced it completely.
Now I know one of my friends dislikes stories from the deep south though I've never had the conversation with him as to why (ahem....Thomas). But no doubt he has read this ???
|Carson McCullers- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was her|
I loved this book and I would have to say it is the best book I have this year by far.
(This book fits into my Century of Books Challenge for 1943.)