Customer Reviews for

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Average Rating 4
( 162 )
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(69)

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(21)

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(19)

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(15)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Beautiful work of art.

I read this book sophomore year in high school for my English honors class, and at first I was skeptical, but the characters grew on me, with complex, developed personalities, and although it has a depressing touch, I fell utterly in love with this book, and Singer. Thi...
I read this book sophomore year in high school for my English honors class, and at first I was skeptical, but the characters grew on me, with complex, developed personalities, and although it has a depressing touch, I fell utterly in love with this book, and Singer. This book made me cry, laugh and think about life in a different perspective. I recommend this book to teens and adults. You won't regret it.

posted by 9268302 on December 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommended - Must Read

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is the 2013 selection for the Big Read project that is sponsored by the NEA to encourage reading in communities throughout the US. In an interview, the author, McCullers, stated that the form for this book is inspired by ...
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is the 2013 selection for the Big Read project that is sponsored by the NEA to encourage reading in communities throughout the US. In an interview, the author, McCullers, stated that the form for this book is inspired by a musical form,the fugue. A fugue contains a single motif or several motifs that are repeated over and over again throughout the piece. In the novel, the motif is loneliness which is acted out by the central character John Singer who is deaf and mute. The other main characters, Biff, Mick, Dr. Copeland, and Jake struggle with their individual form of loneliness and seek out Mr. Singer who, ironically, is the only person with whom they can communicate and the only person who also understands them. Set in an unnamed Georgia Mill town, the novel opens up a door to another time and place where attitudes towards people with disabilities, different religions, different ethnicities,and surprising political views are dramatically different from today. Published more than 70 years ago, this book is worth taking a look at in 2013.

posted by eliza_c on February 15, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2011

    Beautiful work of art.

    I read this book sophomore year in high school for my English honors class, and at first I was skeptical, but the characters grew on me, with complex, developed personalities, and although it has a depressing touch, I fell utterly in love with this book, and Singer. This book made me cry, laugh and think about life in a different perspective. I recommend this book to teens and adults. You won't regret it.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2013

    Highly Recommended - Must Read

    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is the 2013 selection for the Big Read project that is sponsored by the NEA to encourage reading in communities throughout the US. In an interview, the author, McCullers, stated that the form for this book is inspired by a musical form,the fugue. A fugue contains a single motif or several motifs that are repeated over and over again throughout the piece. In the novel, the motif is loneliness which is acted out by the central character John Singer who is deaf and mute. The other main characters, Biff, Mick, Dr. Copeland, and Jake struggle with their individual form of loneliness and seek out Mr. Singer who, ironically, is the only person with whom they can communicate and the only person who also understands them. Set in an unnamed Georgia Mill town, the novel opens up a door to another time and place where attitudes towards people with disabilities, different religions, different ethnicities,and surprising political views are dramatically different from today. Published more than 70 years ago, this book is worth taking a look at in 2013.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    the heart is a lonely hunter

    honestly i read this book after watching "a love song for bobby long" in which scarlett johansson's character reads it. i know, not really a good excuse for picking up a book. but it was also on a booklist of books every person should read before they die. so i was really excited to read it.

    overall it was a decent book. worth reading once i guess, but definitely not one i'd be likely to pick up again. it had it's moments where i couldn't put it down (towards the end) and then moments where it literally made me want to take a nap after about 10 pages.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    SAD, INTERESTING, NOT GREAT.

    I read tons of "pulp" novels, and I've started adding some classics to my wish list, largely to see if the books I abhorred in high school would be more enjoyable if they were not assigned reading. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was no better now.<BR/>As a character study it is superb; the main characters are deep, believable, and unique. I understood the characters, or at least why they didn't understand themselves. Each chapter with Mr. Singer made me smile with anticipation while I waited for something magical to happen to make the characters happy.<BR/>That was the problem with the book. Each chapter barely moves the story forward, and in the end nothing happens. There is so much potential for characters to talk and understand and change, but it never happens and the potential hangs over the entire book like a cloud. The book simply ends. No character is better off than they were in the beginning, no character's life path is appreciably changed from those of their next door neighbors. In short, with the exception of Mr. Singer, there was no reason to write about these characters in terms of their participation in events that are worth writing about. <BR/>The book was not a labor to get through, but I was largely unsatisfied with the resolution. I don't need a happy ending, but atleast give me a sense that the previous 200 pages somewhat affected that ending.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2009

    Despised This Novel...

    I read the novel description and thought, "Hey, I think I'll really enjoy this book!" I began reading it with anticipation and an open mind and was overall very disappointed. I thought the dialects were poorly represented and the story progression was incredibly slow. The characters were developed fairly well, but their conflicts petty and solved immaturly if at all. I had to push myself to finish it and when I finally did, I did not get anything out of it. Maybe I didn't look hard enough for the point, but I find the peroiod of my life I spent reading this novel to be a waste of my time.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    Nothing happens....and Everything Happens

    I usually fly through most reads, but this is one novel that took me some time to get through. It was a book that I could easily put down, and yet felt compelled over and over again to pick up again the next day. It seemed little really happened in the book--and yet, EVERYTHING happened. It's difficult to explain. What did I take away from it? We are all looking for that one person, one connection that completely understands us. We yearn for that someone who can see into our souls and understand all those things we can't always even put into words. Four of the main characters each thought they found that person in Mr. Singer. And Mr. Singer thought he found that in his friend, the Greek. And yet they all deluded themselves. No matter how much we reach out to others, the human condition is at its deepest level, a lonely one. Most importantly, I can only touch the surface of what I took away from this story. Much like Mick, who would pound her fists in frustration at what she felt in her heart but could never express, this is a book that calls for understanding on a very different level.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    Southern literature has always fascinated me. From Faulkner to Childress I don't seem to be able to get enough. While I enjoy O'Connor enough, I find McCullers so much more accesible. The story of a lonely girl--a coming-of-age-story really--THE HEART is one of my favorite books. The protagonist lives in a boarding house that her mother runs, and upstairs lives a mute. In the town, there are two of the--mutes--and the main character makes, or rather 'tries' to make friends with the one in the house. She plays records for him and we feel her frustration at trying to make him understand what music is. Since he's deaf, he can't comprehend. The girl is frustrated on so many levels: She feels trapped by the small southern town she lives in, she wants to be a musician and really has no outlet for this, even making a makeshift violin out of a cigar box, she has a bratty little brother, and she feels that no one understands her. I would equate this book to other great southern classics such as 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Lee or McCrae's 'Bark of the Dogwood' as they too are coming of age books, each one totally different. If you have a heart you'll love 'THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER.'

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    First published in 1940

    This is a reprint of a book, first published in 1940. I too, had to read this book in high school. I liked it very much, but even 30 years ago, it seemed dated...oh my gosh.....after thinking about HS being 30 years ago, I feel dated also. GEECH! If you are interested in reading this book ( if you like nice, clean, classical reads) I recommend you save your money and get it from the library or second hand shop. This is rather costly for a book published 85 years ago.

    AD

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Inspired

    This book speaks of the lonely jorney we all take as we try to find that connection with a person who truly understands us, but not just that it goes into each characters dreames, fears and troubles. :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What an Amazing Novel!

    I used to attend college in Columbus (at Columbus State University), the city in which McCullers grew up. Our university owns her house and we often times host events their. We have her books all around the house and I finally decided to read one. I chose The Heart is A Lonely Hunter because I had heard that it was the best representation of McCullers work.<BR/><BR/>It took me a while to get through this particular book but when I finished I was like: Wow, that touched me on a whole other level. Carson McCullers' character development is extraordinary. At the end I really cared for the characters and their ultimate fate. Also, McCullers' dialects, that are present in the novel, proves her strength as a writer. <BR/><BR/>Author Mylene Dressler spent some time living in McCullers' home as part of an upcoming artist program at the university. I have listed some her novels in the "I Also Recommend" section.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    A Very Good Read

    Got this book as a gift from a used book store. I would not have chose it as a read of choice. Now I am glad I did. Sad, but well written. I would recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2007

    Beautifully written!

    This was one of my summer reading books for my sophomore year Honors English class. I also found that the picture of McCullers on the front cover stared me down until I picked it up. When I first began reading, I found the book a little bit difficult to get into. However, in chapter two, the introduction of some new characters grabbed my attention, and held it from then on. McCullers spins a captivating tale of five social outcasts and their struggle against isolation. Each character is searching for someone that will accept and understand them. One thing I liked about this novel was that all of the characters are easily understood, and I was able to relate them to myself or someone I know. McCullers accomplished this through the use of different viewpoints. This book provided an interesting view of the South, covering a wide range of aspects of life in that time, from racial and non-racial prejudices, to the daily struggles of an average family to make ends meet, to the trials and tribulations of growing up. McCullers intertwines all of this beautifully into a melancholy tale, teaching readers about human emotion. She carefully develops characters and their conflicts, which in turn support the themes that shape this story. I recommend this piece of literature to all readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    The Search for a Purpose

    The emptiness, the longing, the loneliness, is portrayed by Carson McCullers through her novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Introducing characters like Mick, Singer, Blount, and Doctor Copeland, she dives into the everyday lives of each, revealing the innermost secrets of their hearts. Rather than giving stories of happenings, she illustrates the struggles and battles of the minds of individuals that draw the readers to connect with the characters. For me, I found pleasure in befriending these characters and getting to know them, finding similarities in which I could relate to. These unique characters are dramatized sketches of humans in reality these feelings of frustration and an unknown probing of the heart do exist commonly among us. It comforted me that these problems were shared by others too, and that I was definitely not alone in my stand. McCullers shows the needs for purpose in life, and portrays the anticipation and excitement of holding a deep passion inside, something to live and die for. As I read this book, without reason, this feeling of renewed freshness aroused within me, and I gained encouragement in my loneliness to continue to strive for something. Even though some of the characters met unfortunate outcomes, McCullers used them to bring me a different kind of hope and strength.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2007

    Great!!

    I read this book for summer reading in my sophmore year of highschool. This was a book that I did not think I would like, but from page one until the end, I was hooked. The cover itself looks very intimidating, but when I picked it up and read the back I thought 'This looks interesting'. One of the last things a kid wants to do is read a long summer reading book, but this one was worth it. Reading for long periods of time, without even realizing the hours that have gone by is just part of this heart felt story. I felt that I could relate to some of the characters in the novel as well. Being a teen girl helped me relate to a lot of the problems that Mick struggled with throughout the story. Also, my little brother happens to be deaf 'but not muted' and often reads lips which helped me understand Singer's character too. When McCullers talks about the intricate designs that Singer makes with his hands, it reminds me of my little brother talking in sign language to his friends at school. In addition, reading about Carson McCullers's life after finishing the book made me more interested in what went on. Carson McCullers has many connections in the novel to her depressing and tragic life, which made me even more interested. The characters, themes, setting, and conflict assisted in supporting and evolving this deep, touching story. I recommend this book to everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2007

    brilliant

    it's really great. is a bit slow, but it makes up for it in the writing. simple.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter-really, it is

    When I first started reading this book, I didn¿t think I would like it very much. Usually, I don¿t like to read books that are based on events that happened in the past. I also don¿t usually like southern based books, but I thought I would give it a try. I actually ended up really liking it. I was educated on ways of the south by reading about the different character¿s lives. I ended up growing with each of the characters as well. I could relate to almost every one of them. It was interesting reading about a time in which there was racial problem and the ways they healed themselves through music. The ending was depressing, but it teaches you about human emotion.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2014

    Too sad for me

    I saw the 1968 film w/ Alan Arkin and Sandra Locke years and years ago. I remember it being a sad story but I did enjoy it. The novel is much more in depth and has many more characters than I remember from the movie. The book was just very very sad and depressing. I found it hard to get through and found myself skimming the last half just to be done w/ it and/or looking for a bright spot that might be uplifting. Too much sadness and for what purpose?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2014

    an historians delight

    Not only an exploration of how people of all ages races and and background are truly only going thru life looking for love (not just sex). and a connection to the world. This is a glimpse into what life was like in the depression years before WWII.

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  • Posted December 12, 2014

    Unusual

    This book is a classic, but rather dull. Hard to get through.

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  • Posted December 12, 2014

    Great read!!

    I had to read this book as a child in literature class. I am so glad to find it again after all these years.

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