Month: August 2014

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Book review

The Heart is a Lonely HunterThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mr Singer lives with his friend, Antonapolous.  They are mute.  Singer and his friend are separated leaving Mr Singer alone and yearning for company.  Four very different and seeking townspeople are drawn to Singer by his silence.  Never knowing what he truly thinks, they perceive him as being the only person that understands their individual plights.  They imbibe Singer with their own meaning, as he imbibes Antonapoulous with his.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is close to perfection.  Carson McCullers wrote this book when she was just twenty three years old.  The timing of which the story and characters unfurl is expertly measured. The characters, Mick Kelly, Dr Copeland, Jake Blount and Biff Brannon, are beautifully developed.  The author consistently introduces you to each new character with physical appearance, behaviours and idiosyncrasies to guide you comfortably into their lives so that the many people in this book are easy to get to know.

The dialogue has a concise, coarseness to it that gives it a very genuine quality.  The complex inner workings of each person are revealed steadily without it feeling like anything other than organic observation.

The vocabulary throughout is replete with colloquialism.  This enhances rich descriptions of place, tastes, smells and sounds with a transporting outcome.  It seems like McCullers had a particularly keen sense of smell.  She even describes classical compositions as smelling like spring rain and she deftly tricked my brain into fooling my senses.  This August I’m fairly sure I lived in the Deep South.  I lay on dewy grass under a pine-scented night sky while Beethoven drifted from a neighbours wireless and I washed down Dr Copeland’s true purpose and torment with turnip-green liquor and a pone of cornbread.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is a nourishing tale that is full of empathy for humanity in all its flaws and foibles.  Carson McCullers must have been one of the highly sensitive persons of this world, possessing great depth and insight into the human condition at a remarkably young age.  To have the ability to communicate that understanding is a rare, innate and instinctive gift. I cannot find fault with this novel. I correct my earlier statement.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is literary perfection and Carson McCullers was born to write and she is a writer to aspire to.

I highly recommend this restful, wise, warm marvel of a novel.

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