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Paperback Reflections in a Golden Eye Book

ISBN: 0618084754

ISBN13: 9780618084753

Reflections in a Golden Eye

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Format: Paperback

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A new trade paperback edition of McCullers' second novel, REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE, immortalized by the 1967 film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and John Houston. Set on a Southern army base in the 1930s, REFLECTIONS tells the story of Captain Penderton, a bisexual whose life is upset by the arrival of Major Langdon, a charming womanizer who has an affair with Penderton's tempestuous and flirtatious wife, Leonora. Upon the novel's publication...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Strange but Effective Story

Written in 1941, Carson McCullers' second novel probably qualifies as a novella or long short story. Surely it was light years ahead of its time as Ms. McCullers takes on homosexuality-- latent and the other kind, masochism, adultery, voyeurism, self-mutilation, a nervous breakdown and animal cruelty in fewer than a hundred pages. In the hands of a lesser writer, this tale would have degenerated into a trashy detective story. Ms. McCullers, however, manages to make the characters, with all their warts, believable, and for the most part, sympathetic. Captain Penderton, for example, is tormented by his hidden feelings for other men-- he is simultaneously attracted to both Private Williams as well as Major Langdon and hates Williams, even though he ought to despise the Major since he is cuckolding the Captain who, along with everyone else, knows about it. But Penderton is a real person, unhappy, lonely but capable of murder. Ms. McCullers keeps this story first class with her spare, though poetic language. "An army post [the story is set on a military post in the 1930's in the South] in peacetime is a dull place. Things happen, but then they happen over and over again. . . At the same time things do occasionally happen on an army post that are not likely to re-occur. There is a fort in the South where a few years ago a murder was committed. The participants of this tragedy were: two officers, a soldier, two women, a Filipino, and a horse." With those opening lines, the story begins and never slows down. I never had an English professor who would give Carson McCullers the time of day. Her novels were too gothic, her plots unbelievable, there were too many kinks in her characters. Could it have been that her stories were too close to home or were they jealous of her popularity with the reading public from the publication of her first novel THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER? REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE holds up well on a second reading. Made into a movie by John Houston in 1967 starring Marlon Brando-- in one of his best roles-- and Elizabeth Taylor, this novel is ripe for a remake now by someone with the talent of Mike Nichols.


The edition of this novel that I own is the one with the introduction written by Tennessee Williams - and that introduction makes a lot of valid points about the novel itself, the darkness that it contains (or attempts to contain - this depth of darkness burns through boundaries), and the reception it received upon its original publication. On this last topic, it should be noted that the novel (her second) was not nearly as well received as McCullers' debut masterpiece, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER. Williams points out - and rightly so - that ` her second novel the veil of a subjective tenderness...was drawn away.' What readers and critics were left with was a chilling - and compelling - portrait of six people wrecking together at a fog-shrouded emotional intersection in their lives. It's not a pretty sight - but McCullers' incredible writing simply will not allow us (or her characters) to turn away. The characters slam together completely out of emotional control - mainly because none of them really know themselves deeply enough to understand what they're feeling or experiencing. It's excruciating - and fascinating - to watch.The book may not have been well received critically when it was new - but time has shown McCullers' talents to be long lasting. She is truly one of the giants of 20th century literature.

smoldering story of lives in self-destruct mode...

One would expect a 20-something year old in 1940s southern USA to be all prim and nice, with no knowledge of such things as deep emotional trauma and burning homosexual desires. Well Carson McCullers defied conventional wisdom and not only was aware of such matters but deftly encapsulated it in a short, brutal novel. Reflections in a Golden Eye is a painful examination of the wrecked lives of two couples (, and other characters, ) on a military base in the South. There is little in the way of action or story per se, but it is her examination of characters which makes this novel such a winner.This novel is not for everyone. It is rather depressing, with everyone leading neurotic lives. No happy endings, and one has to wonder if there is moral to the story. But those who can tolerate looking at the world without wearing rose-colored glasses will appreciate this masterful work.PS - the novel is MUCH better than the film. And I enjoyed it better than her other famous novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Definite insight in twisted minds

Reflections in a Golden Eye was the second story I've read by Carson McCullers, the first was Ballad of a Sad Cafe which I didn't have much use for. Reflections.. on the other hand hit the right mark for me. I find it one of the most fitting books on the subject of human motivation. The story is really insightful on what goes in the psyche of the caracters. Besides that I really felt for the caracters which is always a good measurement for a good novel. A must read.



Reflections in a Golden Eye Mentions in Our Blog

Reflections in a Golden Eye in 'Bond, James Bond.'
'Bond, James Bond.'
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • October 04, 2022

October 5 is James Bond Day and, in celebration, we've been reading up on the seventy-year history of the franchise. Read on for ten surprising facts we've uncovered.

Reflections in a Golden Eye in The Gothic Elements of V.C. Andrews and Stephen King
The Gothic Elements of V.C. Andrews and Stephen King
Published by William Shelton • March 16, 2022

The gothic element in American literature spans many genres, and has woven an ever present thread from Washington Irving's famous equestrian, all the way down to Stephenie Meyer's interpretation of the heirs of Vlad the Impaler. Leveraging the fine works of previous generations, two Twentieth Century American authors, Stephen King, and V.C. Andrews, created characters and settings which distilled the gothic element to a rarified degree.

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