Alexis's Reviews > The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Jul 16, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: moreimportantthanfood

this book should be required reading for every American. I have no idea how I made it thru the school system never hearing of this book - that is an educational crime. The jacket's got a quote saying it's a book about the "ultimate inconsolability and incurability of the human soul," but I think it's about our country as well. And how, for all it's fancy ideas, it doesn't want to be better. It likes itself just how it is: broken, isolated, mad, faithlessly awaiting its salvation without the courage to actually save itself.

Quotes:
"And the way he gravitated around the deaf-mute and picked him out and tried to make him a free present of everything in him./ Why?/ Because in some men it is in them to give up everything personal at some time, before it ferments and poisons - throw it to some human being or some human idea. They have to."
"Wonderful music like this was the worst hurt there could be. The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen."
"Even on the coldest nights the Sunny Dixie Show was open. The people dreamed and fought and slept as much as ever. And by habit they shortened their thoughts so that they would not wander into the darkness beyond tomorrow."
"He had walked in the neighborhood where he might see Mick. And there was something about it that was - not quite right. Yes. Wrong. ...Always he wanted to set her up to something, to give to her. And not only a sundae or some sweet to eat - but something real. That was all he wanted for himself - to give to her. Biff's mouth hardened. He had done nothing wrong but in him he felt a strange guilt. Why? The dark guilt in all men, unreckoned and without a name."
** "He waited for the black, terrible anger as though for some beast out of the night. But it did not come to him. His bowels seemed weighted with lead, and he walked slowly and lingered against fences and the cold, wet walls of buildings by the way. Descent into the depths until at last there was no further chasm below. He touched the solid bottom of despair and there took ease. In this he knew a certain strong and holy gladness."
[anyone who knows me will get a big kick out of this one. so...i guess i didn't invent this theory:] "Harry believed that after you were dead and buried you changed to plants and fire and dirt and clouds and water. It took thousands of years and then finally you were a part of all the world. He said he thought that was better than being one single angel. Anyhow it was better than nothing."
[proof - day jobs kill artists:] "But now no music was in her mind. That was a funny thing. It was like she was shut out from tthe inside room. Sometimes a quick little tune would come and go - but she never went into the inside room with music like she used to do. It was like she was too tense. Or maybe because it was like the store took all her energy and time. Woolworth's wasn't the same as school. When she used to come home from school she felt good and was ready to start working on music. But now whe was always too tired."
"...For in a swift radiance of illumination he saw a glimpse of human struggle and of valor. Of the endless fluid passage of humanity through endless time. And of those who labor and of those who - one word - love. His soul expanded. But for a moment only. For in him he felt a warning, a shaft of terror. Between the two worlds he was suspended. He saw that he was looking at his own face in the counter glass before him. Sweat glistened on his temples and his face was contorted. One eye was opened wider than the other. The left eye delved narrowly into the past while the right gazed wide and affrighted into the future of blackness, error, and ruin. And he was suspended between radiance and darkness. Between bitter irony and faith. Sharply he turned away."
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
July 16, 2007 – Shelved
July 23, 2007 – Shelved as: moreimportantthanfood

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