Books

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers

'The way I need you is a loneliness I cannot bear'

Making its twenty-three-year-old author an overnight literary sensation, this story of isolated, lost lives intersecting in a small town in the American South is a masterpiece of humane sensitivity.

Ten new titles in the colourful, small-format, portable new Pocket Penguins series

Wunderkind

Carson McCullers

'A Wunderkind - a Wunderkind a Wunderkind. The syllables would come out rolling in the deep German way, roar against her ears and then fall to a murmur...'

Writing about outcasts, dreamers and misfits in the Deep South, Carson McCullers was acclaimed for her sympathetic depictions of loneliness, the need for understanding and the search for love. These four masterly stories of eccentrics, failed prodigies, injustice and hope, written when she was in her twenties, explore the human condition with humour and pathos.

This book includes Wunderkind, The Jockey, Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland, A Tree, A Rock and A Cloud.

The Member of the Wedding

Carson McCullers (and others)

With delicacy of perception and memory, humour and pathos, Carson McCullers spreads before us the three phases of a weekend crisis in the life of a motherless twelve-year-old girl. Within the span of a few hours, the irresistible, hoydenish Frankie passionately plays out her fantasies at her elder brother's wedding. Through a perilous skylight we look into the mind of a child torn between her yearning to belong and the urge to run away.

Reflections in a Golden Eye

Carson McCullers

McCullers' second novel, REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE, is 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.

The Ballad of the Sad Café

Carson McCullers

Few writers have expressed loneliness, the need for human understanding and the search for love with such power and poetic sensibility as the American writer Carson McCullers, and The Ballad of the Sad Café collects her best-loved novella together with six short stories, published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Miss Amelia Evans, tall, strong and nobody's fool, runs a small-town store. Except for a disastrous marriage that lasted just ten days, she has always lived alone. Then Cousin Lymon appears from nowhere, a strutting hunchback who steals Miss Amelia's heart. Together they transform the store into a lively, popular café where the locals come to drink and gossip. But when her rejected and dangerous ex-husband Marvin Macy returns, the result is a bizarre love triangle that brings with it violence, hatred and betrayal. Among other fine works, the collection also includes 'Wunderkind', McCullers'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.

Carson McCullers (1917-1967) was the critically acclaimed author of several popular novels in the 1940s and '50s, including The Member of the Wedding (1946), adapted for the stage in the 1950s and filmed in 1952 and 1997. Her novels frequently depicted life in small towns of the southeastern United States and were marked by themes of loneliness and spiritual isolation. Other films based on her books are Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967, with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968, starring Alan Arkin) and The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991, starring Vanessa Redgrave).

If you enjoyed The Ballad of the Sad Café, you might like McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Unexpectedly moving, grimly amusing, intensely atmospheric'
The Times

'The work she has accomplished is note eclipsed by time but further illuminated'
Tennessee Williams

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers (and others)

Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is a powerful exploration of alienation and loneliness in 1930s America, published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Carson McCullers' prodigious first novel was published to instant acclaim when she was just twenty-three. Set in a small town in the middle of the deep South, it is the story of John Singer, a lonely deaf-mute, and a disparate group of people who are drawn towards his kind, sympathetic nature. The owner of the café where Singer eats every day, a young girl desperate to grow up, an angry socialist drunkard, a frustrated black doctor: each pours their heart out to Singer, their silent confidant, and he in turn changes their disenchanted lives in ways the could never imagine. Moving, sensitive and deeply humane, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter explores loneliness, the human need for understanding and the search for love.

Carson McCullers (1917-1967) was the critically acclaimed author of several popular novels in the 1940s and '50s, including The Member of the Wedding (1946), adapted for the stage in the 1950s and filmed in 1952 and 1997. Her novels frequently depicted life in small towns of the southeastern United States and were marked by themes of loneliness and spiritual isolation. Other films based on her books are Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967, with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968, starring Alan Arkin) and The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991, starring Vanessa Redgrave).

If you enjoyed The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, you might like Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'She has examined the heart of man with an understanding ... that no other writer can hope to surpass'
Tennessee Williams

'A remarkable book ... [McCullers] writes with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming'
The New York Times

Clock Without Hands

Carson McCullers

In this thoughtful and moving novel, four men find themselves inextricably bound together by their past histories. The aged Judge Clane dreams of resurrecting the confederacy, while his grandson, Jester, is involuntarily drawn to Sherman, a volatile black orphan who feels the sharp sting of racial injustice, especially when he finds out the truth about his parentage. Through the eyes of these individuals Carson McCullers explores the roots of racial prejudice and the dual moralities of the town's leading whites.

The Mortgaged Heart

Carson McCullers

The Mortgaged Heart is an important collection of Carson McCullers"s work, including stories, essays, articles, poems, and her writing on writing. These pieces, written mostly before McCullers was nineteen, provide invaluable insight into her life and her gifts and growth as a writer. The collection also contains the the working outline of "The Mute," which became her best-selling novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

Biography

Carson McCullers was born in 1917. She is the critically acclaimed author of several popular novels in the 1940s and '50s, including The Member of the Wedding (1946). Her novels frequently depicted life in small towns of the southeastern United States and were marked by themes of loneliness and spiritual isolation. McCullers suffered from ill health most of her adult life, including a series of strokes that began when she was in her 20s; she died at the age of 50. The Member of the Wedding was dramatized for the stage in the 1950s and filmed in 1952 and 1997. Other films based on her books are Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967, with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968, starring Alan Arkin) and The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991).