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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Paperback – 5 Aug 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 359 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; 1st Mariner Books Ed edition (5 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618526412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618526413
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 467,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"To me the most impressive aspect of THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER is the astonishing humanity that enables a white writer, for the first time in Southern fiction, to handle Negro characters with as much ease and justice of those of her own race. This cannot be accounted for stylistically or politically; it seems to stem from an attitude toward life." -- Richard Wright "When one puts [this book] down, it is with . . . a feeling of having been nourished by the truth." --May Sarton "A remarkable book . . . [McCullers] writes with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming." The New York Times "Quite remarkable . . . McCullers leaves her characters hauntingly engraved in the reader's memory." The Nation "To me the most impressive aspect of 'The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter' is the astonishing humanity that enables a white writer, for the first time in Southern fiction, to handle Negro characters with as much ease and justice as those of her own race." -- Richard Wright New Republic "One cannot help remarking that this is an extraordinary novel to have been written by a young woman of twenty-two; but the more important fact is that it is an extraordinary novel in its own right, considerations of authorship apart." -- Saturday Review of Literature Saturday Review "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter has remarkable power, sweep and certainty . . . Her art suggests a Van Gogh painting peopled with Faulkner figures." The New York Times Book Review "Sensitively conceived and expertly told . . . Its quality as writing and the intensity of its theme combine to make it one of the outstanding novels of recent years." --Times-Picayune "Besides telling a good story, the author has peopled it with a small group of characters so powerfully drawn as to linger long in memory." Philadelphia Inquirer "[McCullers] writes with a calm and factual realism, and with a deep and abiding insight into human psychology. She does so without an iota of vulgarity and bawdiness, in a manner which many a present day novelist would do well to study." Boston Globe "There is not only the delicately sensed need that one might expect youth to know but an even more delicately sensed ironic knowledge." The Chicago Tribune "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is a miracle of compassion, pity, and irony. Form and matter are perfectly blended in the novel." --Virginia Quarterly Review

About the Author

Carson McCullers was born in 1917. She is the critically acclaimed author of several popular novels in the 1940s and '50s, including The Member of the Wedding (1946). Her novels frequently depicted life in small towns of the southeastern United States and were marked by themes of loneliness and spiritual isolation. McCullers suffered from ill health most of her adult life, including a series of strokes that began when she was in her 20s; she died at the age of 50. The Member of the Wedding was dramatized for the stage in the 1950s and filmed in 1952 and 1997. Other films based on her books are Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967, with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968, starring Alan Arkin) and The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991). --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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IN THE town there were two mutes, and they were always together. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Feb. 1999
Format: Hardcover
BORING?!?! Good heavens. I read this book years ago (in high school) and I loved it. I re-read it recently, and found it even more beautiful. It takes us to the meaning of loneliness and love in ways that other books don't. If you can appreciate works that pack a lot of meaning into the limited actions of characters (It's not a thriller, gang) and ask the reader to associate rather than merely see, you'll love this book. My favorite book is a toss up between this and To Kill a Mockingbird.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Robin Ruinsky on 4 Feb. 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In her brilliant debut, Carson McCullers explores what may be the central core of human existence. The pursuit of love, understanding,our connection with humanity and the devastation of lonelieness when the connection is severed or misdirected.
What if the object of your affection, the focus of your friendship, the keeper of your confidences, is an illusion?
John Singer is the means by which McCullers brings to life this conundrum. A deaf mute living in the Depression era American South, Singer only commmunicates with his deaf room mate. The problem is, his room mate has no more understanding of Singer's dreams than Singer will have of the people in the town who, because of his silence, see in him reflections of themselves.
Singer's increasing isolation leads to a devastating and heartbreaking conclusion.
There is far more to this novel than I can describe here, so get a copy and discover the beauty of this book for yourself.
The writing is beautiful, the characters exquisitely realized and it is my favorite novel of all time. It is a book I picked up when I was 13 and still revisit.
McCullers speaks for all of us and our very human condition. Her insight is made more remarkable when the reader remembers that the book was published when the author was only 23 years old.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Jan. 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a book about the lives of a handful of very different characters in a small American town. If you had to pick a link between them you would say they were all lonely in different ways because they don't fit in with the norm. They revolve around the central character of John Singer, a deaf mute, whom they are drawn to, perhaps because he fits in least of all. This is a deep, clear look inside people's heads, its understanding of the human condition in all its various forms is all the more remarkable when you consider that the author was just 23 when it was published. She captures the life force of a drunken socialist, a young girl, a black doctor and so on, right there for you on the page. Perhaps there are one or two moments of excessive sentimentality which let this otherwise remarkable book down but for the most part it is a treasure. And in the end it pulls no punches. Having come to know the basically decent, honest people who pass through its pages you want a fairytale ending for them but there is none. Yet it's not a depressing read, not really. The language is bright and involving, there's much to identify with, and the book's faith in the power of the human spirit is infectious.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Blue Yates on 14 Jun. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First published in the early 1940s, 'The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter' is an originally written story of small-town America with its poverty and prejudice at the core of the story. The narrative moves from one character to the other, drawing different views of the town and its people from chapter to chapter. We see the town from the perspective of a deaf-mute, an adolescent girl, a bar owner, a drunk and a black doctor. The numerous central characters are drawn into focus by a number of grim incidents that change the town and the relationships of its inhabitants. The novel is a great example of fine prose writing that draws the reader into its fragile world and is an essential text for anyone interested in 20th century American literature.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Dent on 2 April 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The lives of a number of outsiders in a small town in the American south cross and recross without the character's alienness or isolation ever being relieved. Watch for the comical clash between the two Marxists: an intellectual doctor and a radical worker who can't agree on anything.
At the novel's heart is John Singer (a desperately ironic choice of name), a deaf man who choses also to be mute. The eyes of his blind companion, he is also the confessor of the town's other lonely people, who find fruitless comfort in his patient attention.
The prose is astonishingly beautiful and the mood of the novel stays with the reader for days afterwards. Deeper and more moving than "The Ballad of the Sad Café", this is probably Carson McCullers's best work.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "rachelemoss" on 29 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply one of the most beautiful novels I have read, and a great work of modern American literature. Carson McCullers' writing is deft yet delicate, and she paints a portrait of small town life with brilliant clarity. The characters, whilst being ordinary people, are shown to be extraordinary in simply being who they are. A very moving and intelligent work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jules on 18 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To give "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" just one star is perhaps misleading. It is one of my favourite books and ordinarily would receive four or five stars from me. However, I was very disappointed by the poor standard of the Kindle edition. The far too numerous mistakes in the text were off-putting and frustrating, marring my enjoyment of the novel. In one memorable instance, the character Bubber is dubbed 'Rubber'! My annoyance is exacerbated by the fact that I paid more for the Kindle edition than I would have done for a physical copy.
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