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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
     

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

3.8 164
by Carson McCullers
 

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With the publication of her first novel, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At

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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 164 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
eliza_c More than 1 year ago
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.
overxdramatic More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. :)
David Riedel More than 1 year ago
Certainly belongs in the 100 greatest novels of all time.
Tamara87 More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is one of the best books I have read. I was forced to read this because it was either McCullers or Sense and Sensibility, which my mom labeled as a ¿Girly book¿. Once I started reading the book I was hooked by Carson's messages hidden within the stories of five main characters, all linked to one deaf-mute who lost his one and only friend. Although this book lacks metaphors and similes, McCullers still draws the reader with the appeal to pathos by telling the depressing story of the main characters. While I was reading this book, I wanted to stop because it was so dramatic and depressing, but the individual stories of the characters gave me an urge to continue reading. I connected with this book because it mainly dissects the life of John Singer, a deaf-mute, and through his hardships, I saw a new concept of love and friendship that strengthened my connection with my friends. Although I have never read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, I am grateful that I chose The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good read because it has definitely helped me appreciate my life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it's really great. is a bit slow, but it makes up for it in the writing. simple.
dwayneandpeggy More than 1 year ago
nookgeekCD More than 1 year ago
Just awful.  It was really hard to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWESOME LOOOVE IT IM YOUR BIGGEST FAN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
anonomas More than 1 year ago
This book is a classic, but rather dull. Hard to get through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simone24 More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book as a child in literature class. I am so glad to find it again after all these years.