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The Ballad of the Sad Café: Wunderkind; The Jockey; Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland; The Sojourner; A Domestic Dilemma; A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 29 Mar 2001

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The Ballad of the Sad Café: Wunderkind; The Jockey; Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland; The Sojourner; A Domestic Dilemma; A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Member of the Wedding (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (29 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141183691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183695
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Carson McCullers was born at Columbus, Georgia, in 1917. She published The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at the age of twenty-three. Her other works include Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), The Member of the Wedding (1946), The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951), The Square Root of Wonderful (1958), a play, Clock Without Hands (1961), Sweet as a Pickle, Clean as a Pig (1964) and The Mortgaged Heart (published posthumously in 1972). She died in 1967.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The town itself is dreary; not much is there except the cotton-mill, the two-room houses where the workers live, a few peach trees, a church with two coloured windows, and a miserable main street only a hundred yards long. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Msfeelesopher on 30 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gorgeously written with as Keats said, 'no designs upon us.' I found the title story somewhat baffiling because
of the little piece that comes at the end. But each one of them, from the semi-autobiographical "Wunderkind", to
the poignant "The Sojourner", every story is a joy to read. On finishing a single story, one has to sit back, take
a deep breath and continue to enjoy the fragrance that is wafting around us.
McCullers' training in music always comes across, whether in her figures of speech or the rhythm of her language,
and the imagery in inimitable! They leave an indelible imprint.
These stories could well be minute meditations on life, with incredible interest in character and setting, and little
or no commitment to a didactic end. They all have a delicate sense of funereal humour. A reminder of what tiny
little beings we are in this infinite and invincible universe, and yet how incredibly fascinating!

"Mrs. McCullers and perhaps Mr. Faulkner are the only writers since the death of D. H. Lawrence with an original poetic sensibility. I prefer Mrs. McCullers to Mr. Faulkner because she writes more clearly; I prefer her to D. H. Lawrence because she has no message." – Graham Greene (WIkipedia)

Now buy it already! You'll be the richer for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Whatif on 20 July 2012
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All the stories in this book are good ..... they vary a bit in quality though. But 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe' is absolutely wonderful; I would go so far as to say it was the best story I read last year. It's quirky and surprising and full of atmosphere. It conjured up very clear pictures for me, right from the first page. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julia M. Wherlock on 15 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Had been meaning to read for many years, ever since picking up second hand copy of Reflections in a Golden Eye. A short story, as so much of McCullers work, beautifully crafted and charactered. A story of trust betrayed, and the sometimes appalling behavour of people in a small town, close knit community.
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McCullers' voice in this haunting tale, like that of Ngugi wa Thiong'o in A Grain of Wheat, often takes on a folk balladish posture of an anonymous community member. She labours over the authenticity of this tone, fleshing it with a complete vocabulary of cultural experience available in the town, emphasising its remote status and insularity without superiority. Despite this refusal to retreat to the default god-author positition, she is able to create filmic moments, particularly with the final coda describing the music of the chain gang.

McCullers foreshadows compulsively; almost everything that occurs in the story is hinted at, and sinister inevitability dogs the halcyon days of the middle section. Surprisingly then, the denouement still astonishes; the folk myth tapestery is completed by a dramatic climax, a (literally) monstrous twist, and a lingering mystery.
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Great book. I read it decades ago and had remembered the story but not the name or the author. Carson McCullers is an excellent writer. Her characters are unique and vividly described. She conjures up an eerie atmosphere which kind of seeps into the memory, leaving indelible images of places, people, action. The ballad of the sad cafe could be set any time. One particular image, of the dwarf climbing up onto the back of the tall woman and being carried around all day. I have always wondered where I'd read that. Sometimes it is hard to see the structure of her short stories but they linger, long after a plot might have been forgotten.
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By GeordieReader on 28 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The long title story is clever but didn't really work for me, perhaps because I didn't believe in the strange love triangle that is central to it. The rest of the book consists of more conventional short stories, less lyrical, but with understated emotions that I could engage with. 'Wunderkind' is beautifully written and is one of the best short stories I've read in ages, although the collection as a whole is uneven.
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