The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Book - 2000
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Deaf-mute John Singer becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly finds solace in her music.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2000
Edition: First Mariner Books edition
Copyright Date: ©1940
ISBN: 9780618084746
0618084746
9780618526413
0618526412
9781417629596
1417629592
Branch Call Number: FIC MCCULLE 2000
Characteristics: 359 pages ; 21 cm

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ThomasPynchon
Nov 09, 2019

"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" is a supposed classic. That may be so, but I found it's prose to be clunky and on the nose, and its characters uncompelling. McCullers works under the assumption that her characters are worthy of our emotional investment, but without telling or showing us WHY, her argument is incomplete. Rather than demonstrating that they are worthy and deserving of our empathy, she seems to tell us (note that I write "tell" rather than "show"): "These characters are lonely THEREFORE they deserve your empathy." (With McCullers everything is ubiquitously and equivocally "lonesome." Truthfully I tired of her writing "lonesome"; anyone can write an adjective, but that does not make it true.) By her reasoning our compassion is inextricably tied to our cognition (I should use her word and write "cogitation"), which is not the case. When reading the papery characters of "Lonely Hunter" (Mr. Singer and his former roommate; Mick; the barkeep; the doctor; Portia) I hungered for more substantial writings. I missed Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find," in particular, and the short stories of Nadine Gordimer and the work of Toni Morrison, in general. A work such as McCuller's needs both good aesthetics, and cerebral stimuli, neither of which her work, for me, possessed in full and even measure.

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XGirl
Jul 17, 2019

Hello, darlings! - I really enjoyed reading this story and I think that you will, too. Check it out!

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ManMachine
Jul 08, 2019

Originally published back in 1940 - "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" was the debut novel by the American-born author, Carson McCullers who was 23 at the time.

Upon its publication in 1940 - This novel created a literary sensation and enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the bestseller lists. It was the first in a string of works by McCullers that gave voice to those who are rejected, forgotten, mistreated, or oppressed.

The Modern Library has ranked the novel seventeenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century

This novel's story focuses in on a deaf man named John Singer and the people he encounters in a 1930s mill town in the US state of Georgia.

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DaveWise
Jun 22, 2019

Slow-paced, moody, haunting.

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SusyHendrix
Jun 06, 2019

A top five favorite. John Singer has to be one of the most brilliant literary creations of 20th century American literature. The evocation of 1930s Georgia and the unsentimental depiction of these lonely characters is just fantastic. Some will find it too slow or not action-packed enough, but honestly, this is one I have a hard time putting down. The prose is just magic. By the end, I always wonder what became of these people, particularly Mick.

_m1_ May 06, 2019

Poetic and haunting, this book is somber and depressing at times. There are some beautiful sections of prose (Mick listening to classical music stands out to me). This is a character driven story; not a lot of action happens. I personally loved it, but I can see why some think it is too slowly paced. I recently saw an exhibition of Sally Mann's photography, and I thought of it all while reading this book. They both have depict the south in a haunting, naturalistic sort of way.

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murphym323
Feb 26, 2018

The review on the back should be read as a warning: "Remarkably devoid of any sentimentality."

This is a frustrating read. So much happens in this book to each of its interesting characters, yet it seems as though nothing truly happens. There are deaths that are quickly moved past, horrors committed by many. Each of the characters is depressed in their own way, and though they have many opportunities to learn from each other, each fails to do so in a meaningful way. I was left wanting for more insight into the characters' growths, but instead left with a blaisé feeling of "it is what it is. We suffer, we keep moving." Understandably, this could have been McCullers' intent for the book (read the last page if you want the summation of the book's purpose told through the eyes of one of the characters), but it was still an angering read.

Granted for how much I have thought about this book for the past few weeks since I have read it, maybe it is more lasting and impactful than my 2.5 stars gives it credit. However, this book is not enjoyable. Nothing good happens, and I did not feel for the characters (with the exception of Singer and the Dr.) when tragedy did befall them. Alas, it is a book written in the 40s when this style and thought were thought to be interuptive and compelling. It paved the way for other writers to expand on this "tragedy of the human spirit" motif, but ah, I only wish it had been more enjoyable.

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Helenccl
Feb 13, 2017

'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' follows the life of deaf mute John Singer and the lost people who come to confide him. Poignant, thought provoking, and beautifully crafted, this is one of those perfect classics

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

About as perfect as they come. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter has that blend of story, character, setting, lyricism, insight, pacing, and so forth and so on that makes a wonderful read. Throw all that under a title like The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and what more could you ask for?

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melvins666
Dec 14, 2015

"It was boring" is a relentlessly lazy term used by some folks that have a short collection of brilliant literature. Yawn = go back an TRY a little.

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SusyHendrix
Jun 06, 2019

The way I need you is a loneliness I cannot bear.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust in anything that might give it to them.

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SusyHendrix
Jun 06, 2019

SusyHendrix thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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