Book Review: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers



‘The way I need you is a loneliness I cannot bear.’

Making its twenty-three-year-old author an overnight literary sensation, this story of isolated lost lives intersecting in a small town in the American South is a masterpiece of human sensitivity.

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

A book of sad endings and probably, one of the most complex and heavy reads that I have read in recent times. That is how I would describe Carson McCullers’ debut novel. All of 23 when she wrote this, she explored the themes of adolescence, loneliness, isolation, and racism with utmost elan.

McCullers entwines the lives of 5 incongruent people during the Great Depression. Mick Kelly is a teenager who loves music and takes solace in her thoughts to escape the distressing realities of her family’s condition. Then we have the deaf and mute John Singer who acts as the sponge for all the other characters to pour their hearts out. Biff Brannon is stuck to his all-night café which plays the hub for many a conversation. We have then the alcoholic Jake Blount who wants to lead a socialist uprising in alliance with Dr. Benedict Copeland, a man dedicated to serving the Blacks but is too bitter for words. These are supported by many other characters who aid to the making of multiple little tragedies which the book is interspersed with.

McCullers is clearly not the one who writes about feelings. She leaves that to the readers to figure out based on the situations these characters go through! And boy, does she succeed? At more times than one, she managed to put me in despair making it difficult for me to discuss the book with my fellow readers. The book is intense in the messages it delivers and the way it makes you feel. I would only recommend this to you if you are in the mood for some gut-wrenching sadness coming your way!


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