Richard's Reviews > The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the debut novel by Carson McCullers, written when she was just 23.
This classic American novel, set in 1930’s Georgia, sees a disparate group of characters make their solitary way amid the teeming life of an unnamed mill town. A world of ten cent stores, crumbling tenements, gin soaked alleys, raucous fair grounds and cheap neighbourhood boarding houses.
This is a tale of the lonely, the dispossessed and those, who for various reasons feel like outsiders.
The main players are Biff, the sad and thoughtful owner of the local diner, Blount, an alcoholic drifter full of rage, Mick, a 13 year girl fast approaching womanhood and Copeland, a disillusioned doctor to the black community. At the centre of this group is Singer, a deaf mute - an intelligent and sympathetic receptacle for their hopes, anger and fears.
Singer is a wonderful character, a quiet urbane gent who when not tending to the spiritual needs of his friends, is visiting his lifelong soulmate in a mental institution.
This is a story primarily about ordinary, unremarkable people and their daily struggles, but it is also a book about bigger issues ............ grinding poverty, the great racial divide between the black and white communities and raw politics, as the hot seam of anger bubbles over in the minds of those who rail against the injustice that surrounds them. Anger that often deflates into a sense of hopelessness.
This is a melancholy, often heartbreaking novel but the narrative is full of incident, the characters fully realised and the writing enriched by the lyrical, painterly eye of the author.
An engrossing, classic read and very much recommended!
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Reading Progress

August 28, 2018 – Shelved
August 28, 2018 – Shelved as: current-lit-us
August 28, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 26, 2019 – Started Reading
June 29, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-49 of 49 (49 new)

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Markus Thanks, Bill. I also read this book with pleasure and a feeling of melancholy.


message 2: by Peter (new) - added it

Peter Excellent review, Richard, gives a real sense of the location and the number of characters depicted in the story. I loved your line "the writing enriched by the lyrical, painterly eye of the author." :):)


message 3: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Excellent review Richard! I too love that line that Peter mentioned.😊


Anni Fine review as always Richard. I read this long long ago when I was too young to appreciate it. I reckon I should read it again now.


message 5: by Maureen (new) - added it

Maureen Superb review Richard, I’ve added to my massive TBR pile! 😂


message 6: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Fabulous review, Richard! I read this quite a long time ago and your review made me remember why I enjoyed it!


Richard Markus wrote: "Thanks, Bill. I also read this book with pleasure and a feeling of melancholy."

Thanks Markus .......... yes, sad but very good :)


message 8: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Beautiful review Richard! This is one of the books I'm hoping to read at some point...


Richard Peter wrote: "Excellent review, Richard, gives a real sense of the location and the number of characters depicted in the story. I loved your line "the writing enriched by the lyrical, painterly eye of the author..."

Thanks Peter ........ very good of you :)


Richard Nicola wrote: "Excellent review Richard! I too love that line that Peter mentioned.😊"

Many thanks Nicola :)


Richard Anni wrote: "Fine review as always Richard. I read this long long ago when I was too young to appreciate it. I reckon I should read it again now."

Cheers Anni - I can imagine reading this one again in the future.:)


message 12: by Wyndy (new) - added it

Wyndy Excellent job summing this one up, Richard. You have inspired me to give this a reread! McCullers is a personal favorite. You might also enjoy ‘A Member Of The Wedding.’


Laysee "This is a tale of the lonely, the dispossessed and those, who for various reasons feel like outsiders."

You touched the pulse of this novel, Richard. Great review.


message 14: by Beata (new)

Beata I love novels that tell stories of ordinary people .... This is a classic that I should read and your grand review encouraged me to look for this book on my Dad's shelves :)) Thank you!!


message 15: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Love the review! Agree with all the comments! Will surely check this one out! Thank you for sharing!


Candi A splendid write-up, Richard. This book is a favorite!


Richard Maureen wrote: "Superb review Richard, I’ve added to my massive TBR pile! 😂"

Thanks Maureen .......... I definitely think it’s worth adding :)


Richard Meredith wrote: "Fabulous review, Richard! I read this quite a long time ago and your review made me remember why I enjoyed it!"

Thanks Meredith ......... it is a lovely book :)


Richard Nadia wrote: "Beautiful review Richard! This is one of the books I'm hoping to read at some point..."

Thanks Nadia ........ I think you would love it :)


Jenna Excellent review, Richard. I had forgotten what this is about and enjoyed reading your review, remembering why I loved reading the book!


message 21: by Paromjit (new)

Paromjit Loved reading this review, Richard.....so compelling! :)


Richard Wyndy wrote: "Excellent job summing this one up, Richard. You have inspired me to give this a reread! McCullers is a personal favorite. You might also enjoy ‘A Member Of The Wedding.’"

Thanks Wyndy ......... and thanks for the recommendation. I’ll certainly read more by Carson McCullers.


Richard Thanks Laysee ....... really appreciate it :)


Richard Beata wrote: "I love novels that tell stories of ordinary people .... This is a classic that I should read and your grand review encouraged me to look for this book on my Dad's shelves :)) Thank you!!"

Cheers Beata ........ I think you would love this one :)


Paltia This is a beautiful review of a classic story. One of the few books I’ve re read.


Richard Katy wrote: "Love the review! Agree with all the comments! Will surely check this one out! Thank you for sharing!"

Thanks Katy ......... it’s well worth a read :)


Richard Candi wrote: "A splendid write-up, Richard. This book is a favorite!"

Thanks Candi .......... much appreciated :)


Steven Godin Fine review Richard, brings back the memories of when I read this.


message 29: by Heidi (new) - added it

Heidi I recently read the first chapter— your wonderful review reminded me I need to get back to it.


Richard Jenna wrote: "Excellent review, Richard. I had forgotten what this is about and enjoyed reading your review, remembering why I loved reading the book!"

Thanks Jenna :)


Richard Paromjit wrote: "Loved reading this review, Richard.....so compelling! :)"

Cheers Paromjit ........ very good of you :)


Richard Paltia wrote: "This is a beautiful review of a classic story. One of the few books I’ve re read."
Thank you Paltia :)


Julie Richard,
This is one of the most influential books of my youth. I love to see it reviewed on here. Thank you.


message 34: by Ron (new)

Ron I really liked reading this review Richard. It's in the way that you touch on the small things and the heart of a book. Very good.


Richard Steven wrote: "Fine review Richard, brings back the memories of when I read this."

Thanks Steven .......... I’m late to this book, but I can imagine a re-read.


Richard Heidi wrote: "I recently read the first chapter— your wonderful review reminded me I need to get back to it."

Thanks Heidi ......... well worth returning to I think :)


Richard Julie wrote: "Richard,
This is one of the most influential books of my youth. I love to see it reviewed on here. Thank you."


My pleasure ......... It was a wonderful book Julie :)


Richard Ron wrote: "I really liked reading this review Richard. It's in the way that you touch on the small things and the heart of a book. Very good."

Very good of you Ron ....... much appreciated.


message 39: by Pedro (new) - added it

Pedro Brilliant review, Richard. Carson McCullers’ ‘The Ballad of the Sad Café’ it’s perhaps my oldest memory of a book. We had (and still have) a beautiful hardback copy of it at home. It’s a tiny little book and I remember staring at it and wondering what was inside while trying to pronounce “Carson McCullers”. 😁Ironically I have never read it or anything else by McCullers. Adding this one. 👍


Dolors Thanks for reminding me of this distressing but beautifully crafted novel, so full of sensitivity and ache...


Henry A fine review of a great twentieth century classic.


Richard Pedro wrote: "Brilliant review, Richard. Carson McCullers’ ‘The Ballad of the Sad Café’ it’s perhaps my oldest memory of a book. We had (and still have) a beautiful hardback copy of it at home. It’s a tiny littl..."

Thanks Pedro - Love the picture you spin of the beautiful book on the shelf ......... the kindle just doesn’t cut it in some situations :)


Richard Dolors wrote: "Thanks for reminding me of this distressing but beautifully crafted novel, so full of sensitivity and ache..."

It was certainly an exceptional read Dolors!


Richard Henry wrote: "A fine review of a great twentieth century classic."

Cheers Henry :)


message 45: by N (new)

N D Interesting review, Richard. I think Sally has read this classic and now I need to! Isn't Biff the son in Death of a Salesman? Popular protagonist name from the mid-20th century. Not so popular today, is my guess.


message 46: by JanB (new)

JanB Great review Richard and a book I feel I should read!


Richard N wrote: "Interesting review, Richard. I think Sally has read this classic and now I need to! Isn't Biff the son in Death of a Salesman? Popular protagonist name from the mid-20th century. Not so popular tod..."

Thanks Nick ........... I’m not sure about the history of Biff’s in US lit :) but, I do think you would love this novel.


Richard JanB wrote: "Great review Richard and a book I feel I should read!"

Thanks Jan ...... you should definitely give it a go.


message 49: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Remarkable and wonderful review, Richard. This takes me back to high school English. I think I need to re-read.


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