Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Healthy lambs are one of
the many joys on a farm.
I was wwoofing* at a farm in the French countryside in 2004. The place was a bed and breakfast operated by a gay British couple. They had a well-stocked library and I had plenty of time to read. The following notes about The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter are from a journal entry made during my time there.

Gay classic. Five different people coping with loneliness. Also a commentary on social, economic and racial situation in the American deep South.

Recommend this to people who liked To Kill a Mockingbird, but it's darker and grittier.

Beautifully written. I liked McCullers' absence of judgement.

I also copied down an excerpt from the final page of the book:
"The silence in the room was deep as the night itself. Biff stood transfixed, lost in his meditations. Then suddenly he felt a quickening in him. His heart turned and he leaned his back against the counter for support. For in a swift radiance of illumination he saw a glimpse of human struggle and of valour. Of the endless fluid passage of humanity through endless time. And of those who labour and of those who - one word - love. His soul expanded. But for a moment only. For in him he felt a warning, a shaft of terror. Between the two worlds he was suspended. [...]
And he was suspended between radiance and darkness. Between bitter irony and faith. Sharply he turned away."

*World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Volunteer farm work in exchange for food, accommodation and learning. Visit the WWOOF international site for more info.

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