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Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

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Book Overview

The beloved classic that turned Carson McCullers into an overnight literary sensation and one of the Modern Library's top 20 novels of the 20th century."A remarkable book...From the opening page,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Great Start....

Beautifully written and sensitive insights. However became too negative and political about 1/3 in.

This story became a part of me, cliche as it sounds!

I read this book over one year ago- and I still cannot get the characters out of my head. McCullers succeeds in depicting people whose basic loneliness is something that the modern day reader can relate to on every level. The main character is a deaf mute, and this reflects the plight that all of us feel at one time or other- when our truest emotions cannot be felt or understood by those most dear to us. Her writing is simple, but profound. I am absolutely hooked on Carson McCullers, and have gone on to read every one of her works. This is American literature at its best!


This book is huge. I approached it with skepticism. Half way through the book, I wasn't wowed. Then while I was telling somebody else about it, it dawned on me how deep the characters and the story had grown. It's a coming of age story for a whole town and one young girl. Every character is so natural through the story that a rich diversity of music, politics, philosophy, and religion is subtly and radically revealed. Mick Kelly's experiences at her "prom" and the swimming hole, her relationships with her siblings, and obsession with music provide a parallel for the life of each other person. A deaf-mute as a focus to share a secret with each character was inspired. We're all individuals in the same boat. The abrupt last sentence of Part 2 is brilliant. It's a simple story to enjoy with plenty to discover and digest throughout.

The Heart is a Lonley Hunter

This is a brilliant novel set in a Georgia milltown during the Great Depression.Four people,struggling with their own identities, confide in a deaf mute. Dr. Copeland is a black physician suffering from TB who is estranged from his own family by his passionate devotion to protecting the rights of his race; Jake Blount, an alcoholic and border-line psychotic, who is tormented by his radical ideas of the rights of the working class, Biff Brannon a restaurant owner who is trying to come to terms with his own feelings following the death of his wife; and Mick Kelly, a sensitive teenage girl and daughter of the family who own the boarding house where the mute lives, .The four feel a special kinship to the mute, Mr. Singer, because of the sensitivity that each one must sense in him. Singer listens to their stories and asks them questions yet he gives little advice. Singer himself is a depressed by the decline, both physically and mentally, and institutionalization of his constant companion, another deaf mute, whose fate ultimately has a profound affect on Singer and his four confidants. The book deals subtly with several different social issues-racial strife in the South, a teenage girl coming to terms with her emerging sexuality, labor unrest, and the effect of the Great Depression on the middle class.

Tugs at chord of isolation we all have. Excellent book!

This 1940 novel by Carson McCullers is set in a small southern town. It's about five different people and their relationships to each other. There is surface structure inasmuch as the chapters move back and forth, focusing on one character and then another and moving the action forward. But there's an appealing off-center feeling to it all, as this study in what it means to be a human being reflects the human condition without having to tie it all up in a neat little package.Driving the story is John Singer, a deaf mute. When his friend Sprios, a fellow deaf mute, goes insane, John Singer attracts other alienated people, who pour their hearts out to him, believing that he understands everything. There's Jake, who drinks hard, requires constant stimulation of his senses to feel alive, and views the world though a communist philosophy. There's Dr. Copeland, a black physician, who so wants to improve the condition of his race, that he has driven his wife and children away because they never fit the picture of the way he wanted them to be. There's Mick, the adolescent girl, introspective and intuitive, who dreams of a future filled with music and travel. And then there is Biff, the owner of the Café, who collects old newspapers and tries to make sense out of what is going on around him. Everyone feels that the deaf-mute has some sort of magical presence. But yet, he too, proves to be very human.The town itself is important to the story, and Ms. McCullers' makes use of the rhythms of the seasons and of music to bring the reader right there. The coming-of-age of the adolescent made me sad and the realities of racism caused me to cringe in horror. The alienation is deeply frustrating. This is exemplified by one very moving scene where two men debate how to handle injustices. Both men want the same things, but yet they talk past each other, each demanding that the other must follow a certain prescribed ideology. Each character is restricted by limitations. Each one has desires. And each one has his or her desires crushed. How each one reacts and how this interaction affects everyone else is the essence of the story. The author's skill pulls it all together masterfully. It's a disturbing book as it tugs at that chord of isolation that exists in all of us. And yet, it is a wonderful read. I highly recommend it.

reread this as an adult

I am always amazed how books, such as The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, improve with age. I first read it in high school and was bored. Now I have reread this book as an adult. It touches my heart and soul.The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is so well titled. It encompasses lonely souls who cluster around John Singer, a deaf mute. Singer losses his deaf mute roommate and companion, Antonapolous, when he is committed to an asylum. He is now alone… isolated. This change operates as a catalyst for the rest of the story.Published in 1940 before the creation of political correctness, its characters explore fascism, communism, racism, and poverty. They are misfits, isolated even when together in the same room. After his friend is committed to the asylum, John Singer takes a room with the Kelly family. The various characters that populate the novel visit John Singer in his room. They talk to John Singer, who can understand them through lip reading. Each character finds in John Singer what he/she needs to find… a sympathetic heart. But none of the characters understands or knows John Singer. He has no one to talk to; no one who to understand him; no one to help fend off his own loneliness. For John Singer, there is no sympathetic heart. For vacation, he visits Antonapolous is the asylum, where his insane friend cannot care about him. Singer responds to Antonapolous in the same way as the visitors to his room respond to him. He talks to him using sign language, but Antonapolous does not talk to him. He finds in this friend his sympathetic heart. This relationship parallels to his own position with the characters who visit his room. The novel reaches its climax when Antonapolous dies, and Singer can no longer find a reason for living.This is a beautifully written book that takes the reader into the South in the 1930’s with a truth that is hard to find in most contemporary novels. I highly recommend The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

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