Reflections in a Golden Eye

Reflections in a Golden Eye

by Carson McCullers


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A new trade paperback edition of McCullers' second novel, REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE, immortalized by the 1967 film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and John Houston.
Set on a Southern army base in the 1930s, REFLECTIONS tells the story of Captain Penderton, a bisexual whose life is upset by the arrival of Major Langdon, a charming womanizer who has an affair with Penderton's tempestuous and flirtatious wife, Leonora. Upon the novel's publication in 1941, reviewers were unsure of what to make of its relatively scandalous subject matter. But a critic for Time Magazine wrote, "In almost any hands, such material would yield a rank fruitcake of mere arty melodrama. But Carson McCullers tells her tale with simplicity, insight, and a rare gift of phrase." Written during a time when McCullers's own marriage to Reeves was on the brink of collapse, her second novel deals with her trademark themes of alienation and unfulfilled loves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618084753
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/08/2000
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 340,968
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.41(d)

About the Author

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.

Date of Birth:

February 19, 1917

Date of Death:

November 29, 1967

Place of Birth:

Columbus, Georgia

Place of Death:

Nyack, New York


Columbia University and New York University, 1935

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Reflections in a Golden Eye 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
McCullers' Reflections in a Golden Eye was a wonderful yet depressing book about the complexity of human relationships. Although McCullers' writing style is simple, there is so much meaning underlying the story. Many sentences struck me as exquisitely beautiful and eerily truthful. Her insight into human tendency and the workings of the human mind is unlike any author I have read yet. It is a short book and I could not put it down. This book is definitely worth your attention.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a subtle book, but one I wanted to read again as soon as I finished. The story is somewhat simple in its structure, but extrordinarily complex once you consider the motives and interactions of the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The previous critic needs to learn how to review a book-- that review was insipid, lousy, and unclear-- give the book a chance, it's an edgy classic
librarianbryan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was itching to read this after seeing John Huston's adaptation as part of the Belcourt's Visions of the South. In a career of brave roles Brando's Captain Penderton had to be one of his bravest, and the same for Elizabeth Taylor¿s Leonora.So I had high hopes.I fear the lashing I will get for writing this, but this may be one of those rare examples where the film adaptation is more interesting than source material. I was not particularly entranced by McCullers prose. Thematically, I¿m not sure that letting Penderton be unconscious of his own homosexuality was a wise choice. Or perhaps the film just ruined my interpretation. Or perhaps it is just impossible for me to put myself into the 1941 mindset regarding homosexuality. Maybe McCullers could not, because of social taboo and censorship, openly write that Penderton was gay but in denial. Ironically enough, she does come out and say Leonora Penderton may have a slight disability. In Huston¿s film this is never revealed and therefore Taylor¿s Leonora just comes off like a first class bimbo. (I thought it was brave for Taylor to take the role because it could be read as so demeaning.) I don¿t know how readers in the 1940s would have interpreted the work. Would it have been obvious to them that Penderton was homosexual? Even though McCullers makes it pretty explicit, I never felt that roiling sexual tension Brando expresses in the film and therefore it lacked emotional intensity.I can¿t say that the ending was the surprise I think it was supposed to be either.
kidzdoc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reflections in a Golden Eye is McCullers's follow up to her wildly successful and brilliant debut novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Her sophomore effort was written in 1939, and was based on a story about a peeping tom at an Army base that her husband told her. It originally appeared in Harper's Bazaar at the end of 1940, and was published in book form the following year.The novel takes place at an Army base in a small Southern town in peacetime, and McCullers tells us in the first paragraph that a murder will take place. The main characters are a major and his wife, who are friends with a captain and his wife who live nearby; the Filipino manservant of the major's wife; a private; and the spirited horse that belongs to the captain's wife.The characters are all dislikable and odd, in keeping with McCullers's Gothic style. However, unlike those in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, I could not feel any sympathy toward any of them, even those that suffered or met tragic ends. The story is well written and McCullers kept me guessing and curious as to what would happen, which saved the novel for me. I would guardedly recommend it, but only for those interested in Southern Gothic literature or McCullers's work.
charlie68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Short, but sweet. Finely wrought characters and a plot that keeps you guessing till the end, not the what, but the who. Well-written too in the bare bones style of Ernest Hemingway without the machismo.
LynnB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a murder involving two couples (Captain Weldon Penderton and his wife Leonora; Major Morris Langdon and his wife Allison), a soldier, a Filippino servant and a horse. This, we are told early in the book. The characters are finely drawn, and the writing draws you into an atmosphere so strong you feel you are there. The plot keeps you know a murder is coming, but until it happens, you can't predict how it will play out. Wonderful writing.
chichyJakMysz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A definite favorite. McCullers' work usually gets 5 stars from me.
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novella was a bit slow and a bit unbelievable, but not a bad story to escape into for a few hours. At times it did seem somewhat heavyhanded though, particularly for McCullers' standards. In general, I'd say it's an intersting work, worth reading if you're looking for a piece of southern literature to escape into or if you enjoy her other works (as I do), but probably not something you'll come back to for a second or third read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book lacked a plot, and failed to capture my attention. The character development was poor and the symbolism was very poorly used. The symbolism was also very confusing. For example, a man's sexuality was somehow related to a horse. I would strongly suggest not wasting your time on this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an incredibly strange and unexpected book. I do not know really what to say about it except that it was not too good, and the storyline was uneven and did not seem to have too much of a point.