The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

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Modern Library, 1940 - Fiction - 430 pages
3273 Reviews
"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" was published in the spring of 1940, and was immediately a literary sensation. Carson McCullers was only twenty-three years old, had lived in a small southern town for most of her life, and this was her first novel. But she had read widely in Dostoevsky, Gogol, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Eugene O'Neill, and her knowledge and insight into her characters transcended her real experience.

Mick Kelly, the adolescent at the center of this strange and brooding novel, is very much the girl McCullers had been in Georgia -- passionately musical, and attracted to freaks and outcasts. Mick's spiritual kinship with John Singer, a deaf mute, and with other social misfits, provides a haunting look into the abyss encountered by human beings in their attempts at love.

Years later, McCullers's friend Tennessee Williams wrote that she "owned the heart and the deep understanding of it, but in addition she had that 'tongue of angels' that gave her power to sing of it, to make of it an anthem."

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This is the best novel I've read since 2012. This story examines the challenges of race in the 1930s, the disappointment a father feels when his children don't share the same passion for revolution ... Read full review

Review: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

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First, I think Carson McCullers must have been a literary genius who spent most of her short life eavesdropping on the conversations and cadences of the people around her. It is always a pleasure to ... Read full review

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About the author (1940)

Carson McCullers was born in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19, 1917. She died at age fifty in Nyack, New York, on September 29, 1967. A promising pianist, she had hoped to enroll at the Juilliard School of Music when she was seventeen, but when she arrived in New York, she attended writing classes at Columbia University instead. In December 1936 her first story, "Wunderkind," was published in "Story" magazine. That winter she began work on "The Mute," which would become her enduring masterpiece, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

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