Book Report: Lonely Heart Hunting

First edition cover, 1940

First edition cover, 1940

Last week, I finished reading Carson McCullers’ “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.” It’s the sort of book that you might pore through, or you might lose steam, and which of those happens probably has more to do with the reader than the book.

“The Heart” is driven by characters, and McCullers’ are rich, memorable, and tantalizingly underplayed. She paints a beautiful, bleak landscape of the interior life and how we look out from our “inside room” and see (or don’t see) the people looking out from theirs.

This is a beautiful and bleak story- wonderful for readers who enjoy narratives shaped by character rather than plot. McCullers’ insight into human thought and ambition is brilliant, and all the more so because it is delivered so subtly.

Her writing is wonderful and well-crafted, but so clean and so subtle to draw no attention to itself; I soaked it up like the I-miss-lit-class sponge that I am. (And really, it’s the sort of book you want to read in class, or with your awesome-nerdy book club, because there is so much going on underneath the surface.)

I don’t often re-read books, but this is one that I’m sure I’ll come back to. Extra bonus/intrigue: This was McCullers’ first novel; she was 23 when it was published.

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2 thoughts on “Book Report: Lonely Heart Hunting

  1. I really enjoyed the rawness of that book — it is amazing that she was only 23 when she wrote it, but perhaps she was able to write in this manner because of her age. And I’m in the I-miss-lit-class club too. I wish I could find a good book club in these parts.

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