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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter ()

Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (17)

Well, we have a new contender for worst choice for the Top 100 of the Century. This dismal book is the story of a flock of Southern losers and misfits in the 1930's.  The characters lead uniformly desperate and joyless lives, depicted in a story unleavened by humor.

It's the sort of book that contributes to the caricature of Southern authors as suicidal drunks.


Grade: (D)


Carson McCullers Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Carson McCullers
    -VIDEO: “Her gin-drinking, smoking, bisexual persona was heady stuff for a 19-year-old”: Suzanne Vega on Carson McCullers (The following remarks were given by Suzanne Vega at LOA’s 40th anniversary gala reception on May 1, 2023)
    -ESSAY: Literature’s Lonely Hunter: On the “Sad, Happy Life” of Carson McCullers: Mary V. Dearborn Remembers an American Literary Champion of the Outsider (Mary V. Dearborn, February 28, 2024, LitHub)
-REVIEW: of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (Richard Wright, New Republic)
    -REVIEW: of Carson McCullers: A Life by Mary Dearborn (Scott Bradfield, Spectator)
    -REVIEW: of Carson McCullers: A Life (Tom Seymour Evans, TLS)
    -REVIEW: of Carson McCullers: A Life (Emina Melonic, Real Clear Books)
    -REVIEW: of Carson McCullers: A Life ()

Book-related and General Links:
    -Encyclopaedia Britannica: Your search: "carson mccullers"
    The Carson McCullers Project
    -REVIEW : of Clock Without Hands  by Carson McCullers (Charles Rolo, Atlantic Monthly)
    -REVIEW : of Illumination and Night Glare  by Carson McCullers (Atlantic Monthly)
    -REVIEW : of Carson McCullers : A Life by Josyane Savigneau (Frances Kiernan, Atlantic Monthly)
    -REVIEW :  of Carson McCullers : A Life by Josyane Savigneau  (Penelope Mesic, Book)
    -REVIEW: of  Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers, by Carson McCullersThough elusive about the events of her life, Carson McCullers's memoirs shed fresh light on her work (Graham Christian, Boston Phoenix)

If you liked The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, try:

Bradford, Richard
    -Red Sky at Morning

Lee, Harper
    -To Kill a Mockingbird

Salinger, J.D.
    -The Catcher in the Rye


Been a while since my book group read this but we were all very impressed with the characters and character development. We picked up on the fact that all the main characters had internal dual natures except for the deaf mute. His dual nature seems to have been externalized in the form of what seems to have been his one true soul mate that he loved deeply and who was removed from his life and who then died without his being able to attend to him in his last moments. The fact that his soul-mate was truly unremarkable didn't seem to matter just as it often doesn't in real life. The surrealism (or whatever you want to call the harshness, and tragic nature as well as crazy nature of the story and characters) seemed to us to be good story telling. Maybe the fact that we were all from the South had something to do with it (and were all female) LOL!

- A. Aman

- Jan-24-2006, 18:05