The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: And Other Stories

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Overview

This collection assembles Carson McGuller's best stories, including her beloved novella "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe." A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose cafe serves as the town's gathering place. Among other fine works, the collection also includes "Wunderkind," McCuller's first published story, written when she was only seventeen, about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go...
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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe

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Overview

This collection assembles Carson McGuller's best stories, including her beloved novella "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe." A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose cafe serves as the town's gathering place. Among other fine works, the collection also includes "Wunderkind," McCuller's first published story, written when she was only seventeen, about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553180718
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1991
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 160

Meet the Author

Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers (1917-1967) was the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Heart is a Lonely Hunter , The Member of the Wedding , Reflections in a Golden Eye , and Clock Without Hands . Born in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19, 1917, she became a promising pianist and enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York when she was seventeen, but lacking money for tuition, she never attended classes. Instead she studied writing at Columbia University, which ultimately led to The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter , the novel that made her an overnight literary sensation. On September 29, 1967, at age fifty, she died in Nyack, New York, where she is buried.

Biography

Carson McCullers, novelist, short story writer, and playwright, was born Lula Carson Smith on February 19, 1917, in Columbus, Georgia, the daughter of Lamar Smith, a jewelry storeowner, and Vera Marguerite Waters. Best known for her novels The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Ballad of the Sad Café, Reflections in a Golden Eye, and The Member of the Wedding, McCullers also won awards for her adaptation of The Member of the Wedding for the Broadway stage. After completing high school, Carson studied for two years in New York before marrying James Reeves McCullers and moving to New York permanently upon the publication of her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, in 1940 when McCullers was only 23. Heralded as a wunderkind by critics, McCullers' most significant was published between 1943 and 1950. Plagued by a series of strokes attributed to a mis-diagnosed and untreated case of childhood rheumatic fever, McCullers died at age fifty in 1967. With a collection of work including five novels, two plays, twenty short stories, over two dozen nonfiction pieces, a book of children's verses, a small number of poems, and an unfinished autobiography, McCullers is considered among the most significant American writers of the twentieth-century.

Author biography courtesy of The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University, Columbus, GA.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Lula Carson Smith (birth name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 19, 1917
    2. Place of Birth:
      Columbus, Georgia
    1. Date of Death:
      November 29, 1967
    2. Place of Death:
      Nyack, New York

Table of Contents

The ballad of the sad cafe 1
Wunderkind 73
The jockey 91
Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland 101
The sojourner 113
A domestic dilemma 127
A tree, a rock, a cloud 141
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2004

    Enjoyed this Book

    I really liked this book. It was somewhat dreary and depressing, and hard to get through at places, but I thought the story was very interesting. Recomended if you like her style of writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    It's called a classic for good reason.

    McCullers was an extraordinary writer. There is some truly beautiful work in here, lush and poetic . Philistines will see no merit, but even references to daily life in that region and era are of interest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2010

    Freakish characters who transform when they love but never get love back

    Miss Amelia is a masculine acting weatlhy loner in a small town who knows only how to use people for a profit. until she falls for an unappealing stranger who comes to town and claims kinship. The deformed cousin Lymon, who is about two feet shorter than her (Huh?-) coughs, is scared of the night, chatters, stirs up quarrels and seems to develop an arrogant air of entitlement. Miss Amelia's love transforms her from her recluse stingy ways and she opens a Café at her General Store and years pass as she loves and favors Lymon. Told in flashback, we then see how Miss Amelia herself was the object of love, several years ago, by a Marvin Macy who himself had reformed his nefarious ways when he inexplicably falls for her. After only a ten day marriage, during which Miss Amelia refuses a normal marital physical relationship and kicks Macy out, Macy returns to crime. The story shifts back to the present and we see how Macy returns to the town with a vindictive attitude. Cousin Lymon develops obsessive love (What? Macy is insulting to Lymon!) Contemptuous onlookers in the small southern town enjoy gossip about the past/ present miseries. With their voices readers see how the "beloveds" exploit those who love. Miss Amelia and Macy have a fist fight and Lymon interferes so Macy can live. Then we flip to a sene about a chain gang of prisoners who work and sing cooperatively together. Wow! I get it, there is no requited love in this world, except for brotherly love and harmony and only when people are bound together in chains and have no choice.

    Clearly author Carson McCullers really was a mixed up sort of gal. It is no surprise to read her personal history. If this is an example of the best of any genre, mankind is as troubled as the author apparently was. Why do school districts require this as reading? The constant references to Cousin Lymon's unfortunate deformity were unnecessary and insulting, since that same deformity is present in my own family history, but more importantly, it did not illustrate any great thoughts about anything. Perhaps this book fulfills a need to get reluctant students to write vividly about something. The "Ballad of Sad Café" a "classic", and movies and plays have been made about this grim story. The flawed exaggerated characters don't garner lasting interest and the plot is hugely implausible. Perhaps the book could evoke discussions of gender reversals in doomed multi-sexual love triangles. (a narrow draw!) 73 pages should go quickly, right? Not so. Read this story only if you must.

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    Posted August 31, 2012

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    Posted May 3, 2011

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    Posted November 9, 2010

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    Posted September 30, 2013

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    Posted July 25, 2011

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    Posted May 16, 2010

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