The Modern Library 100 Best Novels Challenge discussion

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100 Best Novels - Discussion > The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers

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message 1: by LynnB (new)

LynnB The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

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message 2: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 8 comments My initial impression: this book is somehow nothing like what I thought it would be.


message 3: by Elena (new)

Elena That is what everybody says about the book. It is intriguing and I'll read it. But I have to be in mood for this kind of reading.


message 4: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 8 comments By the end, I really liked it. It took me awhile to get into the characters and grasp where the story was headed, but once I did, I thought it was an incredible examination of isolation and frustrated dreams.


message 5: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 24 comments This book has stayed with me for a long time. It is one of those that can hit you deeply or it can make no sense at all or maybe even both. I was hit deeply and I think there are many layers to this story. I can't help but feel the pain of the author at times.


message 6: by LynnB (new)

LynnB I just started the book and I haven't figured out the direction of the story yet, but it is better than I had thought it might be, so far at least!


message 7: by LynnB (new)

LynnB Looking at little notes I made on the book, so far (I'm 1/3 of the way through)...

I love it when Mick describes wanting to be an inventor. You have to realize this book was published in 1940. One of Mick's ideas: "She would invent little tiny radios the size of a green pea that people could carry around and stick in their ears." Hmm!!

Singer is such a strong character. It amazes me how Carson McCullers makes him so very "there" in the story. I don't know if he continues as a main character, but I think I am beginning to see the thread of loneliness and isolation weaving through.

Jake's comment to Singer: "When a person knows and can't make others understand, what does he do?" What an eye-opening question for Jake when he understands that Singer, more than anyone, does understand that question.


message 8: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 8 comments I'm not sure Jake does understand anything about Singer. I think he projects himself on Singer.


message 9: by LynnB (new)

LynnB Chinook wrote: "I'm not sure Jake does understand anything about Singer. I think he projects himself on Singer."

That may be. I'm only part way through, so maybe I am misunderstanding what is going on. I am enjoying the story, though! Who would you say the main character of the story is? I can't really tell yet. Or are more than one main characters?


message 10: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 8 comments I think the main character ends up being Singer, with those around him being the rest - Jake, Mick, the doctor, and the restaurant guy.


message 11: by LynnB (new)

LynnB Chinook wrote: "I think the main character ends up being Singer, with those around him being the rest - Jake, Mick, the doctor, and the restaurant guy."

That makes sense. He seems to be the focus in what I've read so far. I wasn't sure if more characters would come into the story.


message 12: by LynnB (last edited Mar 13, 2011 11:40PM) (new)

LynnB Although I liked the stories centered around the theme of the universal loneliness found in each of us, I thought that the author tried to pull in too many different themes to this one story. She interspersed thoughts on Marx, God, civil rights, poor vs. rich, and eventually there were just too many themes going. I found myself very interested in the story at times and yet, a few pages later, I would be considering jumping ahead in the book because of tiredness with the current topic and wanting to get back to the main story and the relationships between the characters. I gave it 3 stars.


message 13: by April (new)

April | 2 comments I just finished the book today. I really enjoyed it, but did not "love" it. I gave it 4 stars. I feel all the characters are main characters. Actually, maybe isolation and loneliness are the main characters? Don't we all struggle with this to some extent? What I found truly remarkable about the book was the fact that it was published in 1940 yet it felt like a modern book. Also, McCullers was only 23 when she wrote this book, too young for an individual to deal with such misery. She was such an insightful girl!


message 14: by Garlan ✌ (new)

Garlan ✌ I believe she suffered from depression and had a lot of physical "illnesses" as well.


message 15: by April (new)

April | 2 comments Garlan wrote: "I believe she suffered from depression and had a lot of physical "illnesses" as well."

Yes, you are correct. Thank you for pointing that out. It led me to do some further research. She was also an alcoholic. Interesting. I also read that there is a movie based on the book. I had no idea! I would like to see it.


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