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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Reader's Diary #506- Carson McCullers: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter


It's taken me just about forever to finish this book. Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy it, it's just that life kept getting in the way.

I can see why this has become a classic. And to think that carson McCullers wrote it 23. I spent the entire book just gobsmacked that a 23 year old could write such a thing. It's a gorgeous piece of writing.

However, early into the book it occurred to me that the story might be a metaphor and I became, admittedly, way too fixated with that for the remainder of the book. I began to see John Singer's deaf mute character as representative of a reader and those that came to talk to him as representative of writers. Something about the one way communication that both parties seemed to find therapeutic made me think of the writer/reader relationship. Of course, as anyone who's read The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter knows, there are many details that cannot be worked into such a simple interpretation. But, if the novel wasn't controlled by a metaphor, I certainly was.

About the only thing I didn't like about the whole book was the title, which I found a little cheesy and not all that relevant or reflective. According to Wikipedia, it was an editor's suggestion. I bet McCullers could have come up with something better.

8 comments:

Chris said...

Honestly, the title puts me off. It sounds like a country song title. One where some guy's wife, dog, etc leave him.

I'll have to be more open minded.

Remi said...

I actually like the title. I've also been meaning to read this for the longest time. Started once, but got distracted.

John Mutford said...

Chris: It put me off, too, but to me it sounded like bad teenage poetry. However, the writing inside is nothing like bad teenage poetry or a country song. It's quite beautiful (not that country music can't be, of course).

Remi: I prefer Monique Proulx's title, The Heart Is An Involuntary Muscle-- though McCuller's book is much, much better.

B.Kienapple said...

I agree, the title is more sentimental than the book, which can be stark, even bleak, at times. This was such a find for me. It's original and uncontrived.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I shamefacedly admit I have never read it, thereby proving my lack of depth in reading the modern classics.

Carrie K said...

I don't recall ever reading it either, sad to say. Now I'll be searching for the metaphoric reasoning behind it as I read, thanks to the suggestion. ;)

I do love the title but it does sound like an 80's hair band tune.

claire said...

I also thought it sounded like a country song before, but now I rather like it. I've been meaning to read this, good to know you thought the prose gorgeous. That's the only recommendation I need. :)

John Mutford said...

B. Kienapple: Glad we feel the same way.

Barbara: That's okay. You've read more cult classics, so you're hipper.

Carrie: I'm hearing White Lion sing it right now.

Claire: I'd love to know what you think of it!