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The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories

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A classic work that has charmed generations of readers, this collection assembles Carson McCullers’s best stories, including her beloved novella “The Ballad of the Sad Café.” A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose café serves as the town’s gathering place. Among other fine works, the collection also includes “Wunderkind,” McCullers’s first published story written when she was only seventeen about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist. Newly reset and available for the first time in a handsome trade paperback edition, The Ballad of the Sad Café is a brilliant study of love and longing from one of the South’s finest writers.

152 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1951

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About the author

Carson McCullers

121 books2,451 followers
Fiction of American writer Carson Smith McCullers explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South; her novels include The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940) and The Member of the Wedding (1946).

She from 1935 to 1937 divided her time, as her studies and health dictated, between Columbus and New York and in September 1937 married Reeves McCullers, an ex-soldier and aspiring writer. Reeves found some work at Charlotte, North Carolina, where they began their married life.

In Fayetteville, North Carolina, she at 23 years of age wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter in the southern gothic tradition. Editor of McCullers suggested the title, taken from "The Lonely Hunter," poem of Fiona MacLeod. Carson McCullers and many other persons, however, claim that she wrote in the style of southern realism, a genre that Russian realism inspired. People interpreted the novel as an anti-fascist book. Altogether, she published eight books.

People best know Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941). The novella The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951) also depicts loneliness and the pain of unrequited love. Yaddo in Saratoga, New York, graduated her, an alumna.

People filmed The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter in 1968 with Alan Arkin in the lead role.

John Huston directed Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. People shot some of the film in city of New York and on Long Island, where the Army permitted Huston to use an abandoned installation. People filmed many of the interiors and some of the exteriors in Italy. "I first met Carson McCullers during the war when I was visiting Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith in upstate New York," said Huston in An Open Book (1980).

"Carson lived nearby, and one day when Buzz and I were out for a walk she hailed us from her doorway. She was then in her early twenties, and had already suffered the first of a series of strokes. I remember her as a fragile thing with great shining eyes, and a tremor in her hand as she placed it in mine. It wasn't palsy, rather a quiver of animal timidity. But there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life. And as her afflictions multiplied, she only grew stronger."

After lifelong health problems, including severe alcoholism, McCullers died of brain hemorrhage.

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