The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I almost gave The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter a four star rating instead of five since the description on the back totally misrepresents the story I just finished reading, which really pisses me off. Why would they push the book the way they did on this vintage version that I picked up? It doesn't make any sense. Even the photo on the cover (my cover is different from the one presented here) doesn't truly represent this staggering work. It's strange. While reading the book, I kept turning it over and re-reading the back to see when the "loss of innocence" would occur, or why they say that Mick Kelly, who is important in the overall narrative, would be called the main character, as this is a book where every character is important. It's just really poor marketing on the publisher's part, and I don't get it. Why?
But, moving on.
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter is a masterpiece as it clearly represents a collage of loneliness. Every character suffers from it, and in a sense, you get the feeling that whole world suffers from it as the characters represented here are about as diverse as you can get. You get the educated black doctor who was born too early since the things he wants out of life are outside of his reach for another 20 years. You have the loner Communist who doesn't entirely know what he wants, but he avidly thinks he needs to get it and soon. You have the aforementioned, Mick Kelly, a 13 year old girl who has music in her heart and dreams of the future, but lives in abject poverty and searching for something more. And then, you have arguably the most complex character, Biff, who is most likely a homosexual, but not really sure or even desiring to confirm it in himself. They are all tied together by a deaf mute named Mr. Singer, who is also most likely gay, but also just as lonely, if not even lonelier, than the rest of the cast. His one true love, a fellow deaf man who may or may not even understand his only friend, is the glue that keeps Mr. Singer together. Every last character is essential to telling this story, which is one of the most depressing and beautiful I've ever read. There is hope at the end, but you wonder if it's justifiable hope. In the end, who's to say?
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter is a rich, complex, layered novel and one that I will never forget. Its stature as a novel has only risen over the years, and for good reason. It's a true masterpiece.
View all my reviews