Dominic's Reviews > The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Apr 03, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, classic-literature
Read from March 02 to 07, 2015 , read count: 3

[DEFINITELY holds up to multiple readings. So haunting and unsettling in the best possible way.:]

Have you ever seen that Edward Hopper painting, "Nighthawks," the one with the corner diner and a couple of lonely looking people? I couldn't help but think about "Nighthawks" while I was reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

This is a sometimes tender and sometimes startling book about five people desperate for escape and longing for more out of life. McCullers is a master at creating characters. Teenage Mick Kelley and deaf-mute Mister Singer and Biff Brannon, among others, are richly drawn characters, so much that she leaves me wanting to know even more about them. It's almost like there is five different novels wanting to burst out of these pages.

That dynamic characterization makes Lonely Hunter a sometimes frustrating read. McCullers' narrative style reminded me of P.T. Anderson's monster-of-a-film, Magnolia, which I love (and many people hate). In Magnolia, we are introduced to nearly a dozen "misfit" characters whose stories become woven together in a dramatic finality. It's the jaggedness and fragmentation of that film that left me out of breath and full of wonder. McCullers, on the other hand, writes such full, rich narration that oscillates between all five characters in 20 page intervals, and this even pendulum swing became a little too formal for my rebellious tastes. But just like the characters themselves are unable to "connect," McCullers intentionally keeps her readers from connecting to any one character--a frustration shared by the characters themselves.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is a beautiful story that captures the longing we all have in our hearts to be and do something that matters and makes a difference. I woke up this morning with all five characters on my mind and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. And that, my fellow reader, is something that matters and makes a difference.
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Reading Progress

04/04/2010 page 238
66.3%
08/12/2010 page 1
0.0% "I guess it is time to get ready to go back to work. Thank god I picked such a wonderful summer reading assignment. :)"
12/16/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Daniel Currie I can't help but mention as I have just written my review I am looking at a copy of "Nighthawks" hanging in my living room.


Nick Baam I saw Magnolia recently and found the Aimee Mann sing-along part REALLY jarring.


Melanie Insightful review made all the better by the reference to my all-time favourite film Magnolia. Great correlation.


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