Reflections in a Golden Eye (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 29 Mar 2001
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"The greatest prose writer that the South produced" -- Tennessee Williams "Again [McCullers] shows a sort of subterranean and ageless instinct for probing the hidden in men's hearts and minds."The New York Herald-Tribune"The novel is a masterpiece . . . as mature and finished as Henry James's THE TURN OF THE SCREW." Time Magazine
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main characters are Captain Penderton and his wife Leonora, and her lover Major Morris Langdon who is married to Alison. It’s an overheated tale as Penderton becomes obsessed with an enlisted man, Private Ellgee Williams and the undertones of homosexuality are emphasised by Williams’ provoking habit of riding the horses while he is naked. This is a short book 125 pp., but it is remarkable for the beauty of the writing. McCullers leaves many things unspoken, but the atmosphere is sultry. Meanwhile Ellgee enters the house of Captain Penderton and watches Leonora sleeping. This act of voyeurism has implications, but they are not acted upon.
There is a culminating scene in which Ellgee is caught and the final violence is perpetrated. There are echoes in this book of The Member of the Wedding, her first and most loved book, when a young girl imagines that she will form part of the wedding service and even go away with the young couple. In this book, however, it is young Ellgee, who has been fed all sorts of ugly nonsense about the corrupt nature of women, whose passionate nature is tradduced.
This is sensuality and violence in this novel, but at heart it is sad, if not mordant. In some ways it lacks agency, because of the lack of fulfilment in the emptiness of these rich lives that remain unfulfilled.
I believe McCullers was attempting alchemy with this work (and succeeded), the grotesque characters glittered with promise and fascinated me so that I kept reading, and this is all because of McCullers' handling of them, as they really are unpleasant characters. Yet, I found the characters beguiling and vivid. They are hard and cold like gods turned into metal statues, and they are all trapped. Yet they can see the reflection of something they bury in themselves in the behaviours of others.
McCuller's Midas' touch extends to readers too because we are also distracted by these reflections of capacities that we have ourselves. But like in the myth of Midas one has to wonder where the characters and us as readers will get our nourishment with all the famous 'golden' descriptions of golden food and drink in this book, McCullers was aware what kind of literary feast she is offering us in a golden imitation of life. Reading can be a charmed state that offers a dangerous nostalgia for lives we never lived. There is also this dangerous nostalgia in obsessing over missed or denied opportunities as the characters do in this book. Attempts to recapture or understand joy is fool's gold, it distracts us from the real golden moment.Read more ›
Carson McCullers works with six characters, none especially perceptive or intelligent people, all of whom feel that life has let them down. And, when put together, these individuals relentlessly drive each other up the wall, deliberately playing on each other's nerves. We quickly learn there are unspoken tragedies behind it all: like the death of an infant child which they don't speak about. Unconfronted grief scars this tale.
Tennessee Williams praised this 1941 book highly as the work of a great artist. It is an assessment I agree with. Williams even felt this astonishingly accomplished work was a core text in forming the Southern Gothic (it sits alongside William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor) because the book revolves around that intuition, that sense of "an underlying dreadfulness in modern experience." Then add to the psychological depth of the book, the quality of the prose.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Carson McCullers, I have read most of her books and this one did not disappoint me either. Excellent readPublished 7 months ago by Amelia Ofori
Very atmospheric film which is quite true to the Carson Mc Cullers novel. Marlon Brando is superb as the lonely , brooding and sexually ambivalent army officer who becomes... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Marie
Wonderful book ; I arrived at Carson McCullers because she was in love wiht Annemarie Schwarzenbach to whom the book is dedicated.Published 20 months ago by rita
Ancient Greek drama in the 1940s deep america. The Aristotelician unity of place is respected: a military camp. Read morePublished on 7 Dec. 2012 by french reader
This short novel, like the author's more successful 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter', is about loneliness and failed relationships. Read morePublished on 18 Mar. 2010 by Phil O'Sofa