The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

by Carson McCullers

NOOK Book(eBook)

$9.99 View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now
LEND ME® See Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 198 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.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a coming-of-age novel, but it is atypical given that it's told from the perspective of four very divergent characters: a young girl, a drunken socialist, a black doctor and a sympathetic deaf mute. Each of the characters share similarities: they are yearning for something that will help them "grow" emotionally. The delightful young girl, Mick Kelly, shifts between being a playful tomboy and a proper young lady. Her "journey" is a heartfelt one: a poor girl who has an amazing amount of creative energy but doesn't know how to channel it in a fulfilling way. It's not until she has some kind of "awakening" that she realises she is growing up and that her destiny is in her hands. The deaf mute was portrayed brilliantly by Alan Arkin (nominated for an academy award) in the 1968 film.
RobinDawson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's amazing to think this book was written by a young white girl of 23. It paints a vivid picture of life in a poor mill town in the south following the Depression. She shows such a breadth of understanding - both genders, all age groups, black and white. Given the prejudices prevailing at that time her tolerance, compassion and humanity are all the more remarkable. The story focuses on five main characters. All are underdogs, oddballs or battlers. Each has a dream, but each finds themselves frustrated, and sadly these dreams turn to ashes - and in some cases death.
lauralkeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in the American south in the 1930s, this classic novel is an intense character study. Each chapter focuses on one of five characters: - Mick Kelly, a teenage girl shouldering the burden of caring for younger siblings, and hoping for better things in life- Biff Brannon, a local restaurant owner, who as a result of his profession observes the comings and goings of the town's white population- Jake Blount, a loudmouth alcoholic working at a local amusement park frequented by the town's African-American population- Benedict Copeland, an African-American doctor and passionate advocate for "negro rights"- Mr. Singer, a deaf man who lives as a boarder in Mick's houseMick, Biff, Jake, and Dr. Copeland each befriend Mr. Singer independently, and visit him regularly in his rooms. Each in their own way reveals their soul and their dreams. Singer lip-reads and occasionally comments in writing, but mostly he is a blank canvas. Each of the five is terribly lonely and isolated, but they find solace in Mr. Singer. He is, for each person, whoever they want him to be. Singer himself is fulfilled by periodic visits to a former roommate, another deaf man who has been placed in an institution.This makes for an intriguing story and it's quite well-written, and yet I found it difficult to read. Each individual's story is depressing and holds out little hope. And it may have just been a bad time for me to read something like this. I can understand its place in the canon of classic literature, and would even recommend it to others. Just be prepared for it and consider having something more uplifting to read concurrently.
siafl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I find this book a bit boring honestly. There would be moments when I think it would pick up, and then it falls back down to the serene and stagnant pace that it carries throughout. No doubt it carries important messages and revelations, which I am not quite sure to be for me necessarily. I think I prefer something a bit more modern, but it's not the first time that I find Southern literature hard to comprehend. On that note, this book does remind me a bit of Faulkner, whom I find hard and dull to read too.
mscott1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The disparate lives of five people come together when a gay, deaf man takes a room in a boarding house and befriends them all. Set in a southern mill town during the 1930's, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, explores the desperation that we all experience when we feel that we are alone in the world.I first read this book when I was in high school, about thirty-three years ago. Although there were some subtleties that I didn't pick up on (such as the fact that the character John Singer is gay), I was profoundly moved by the lives of each character and the loneliness and hopelessness they all felt. For a book in which very little happens, the story is gripping. Every character - from an elderly African-American doctor to a thirteen-year-old white girl - is written with such compassion and insight that I felt that I knew them all intimately.Unfortunately, the book is heartbreaking, and the end leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness. It's a book that stayed with me back when I was fourteen, and a book that continues to live within me all this time later.
speedy74 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I nearly gave up on this novel, when 150 pages into it, I still wasn't completely immersed in the world of the characters, but I'm glad I didn't. McCullers creates beautifully complex characters each seeking to find a "cure" for their feelings of isolation in Singer, a deaf mute, that the three main characters visit regularly. I felt the most intriguing, optimistic and in the end, heroic character was Mick Kelly who has musical aspirations, but is limited by the poverty that surrounds her. I love how McCullers writes about Mick's "inner room" where her thoughts reside and her "outer room" where she interacts with the world around her. Mick seeks to share her love of music with Singer, who's name is ironic as he can't sing or even talk to her. Another interesting character is Dr. Copeland, an African-American doctor, who is well educated and seeks to raise the black people up out of oppression with Marxist teachings and education. He finds solace in sharing his ideas with Singer, because he thinks that Singer may be one of only a few enlightened white people.Another social reformer, Jake Blount, appears in Singer's room at the Kelly house often to rant and rave about the working class and the need to reform. The reader gets the impression that Jake may suffer from some mental illness--dressing, speaking and acting as two different people at times, and drinking large amounts of alcohol throughout the novel. Jake and Dr. Copeland have similar beliefs but cannot see past each of their races to fully unite with the other's cause.Last, is Biff the owner of the New York Cafe. Biff enjoys Singer's company, but doesn't seem to share this thoughts and ideas with him. One gets the feeling that Biff is just lonely, keeping his cafe open 24 hours a day for no other reason that to meet a few individuals one might miss if it was closed. Biff is mysterious in the end. The reader finds out that he has no great love for his wife and that he would like to have kids, but the deeper story of their marriage's demise and why he begins to delve into his feminine side upon his wife's death is left untold. Ultimately, Singer, himself feels isolate from what he wants most out of life--the friendship of another deaf mute. He isn't really as the others perceive him either. Perhaps the novel's timelessness is the fact that we all have "inner rooms" we feel no one can penetrate, which in its isolation, is a strange kind of beauty.
Brasidas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a novel of the American South in the decade or so preceding the Civil Rights Movement. The central character is a deaf mute of almost saintly demeanor, Singer. His story constitutes the narrative spine along which the stories of his fellow characters are strung. These include Mink Kelley, who is dealing with late Depression Era America from the point of view of a 13 year old girl. Dr. Copeland, the unnamed town's "negro" doctor who knows that civil rights for his "people" is in the offing, but is frustrated and angry that his own efforts toward that end have been ineffective. There is alcoholic Jake Blount, a carney whose narrow ideological Communism leaves him also frustrated and angry. Blount is in many ways the white counterpart of Copeland. Their thinking is similar on many issues, but their meeting of the minds is not a productive one. Biff Brannon is the owner of a local restaurant, the New York Cafe. He is probably gay, as may be Singer, whose mute roommate Antonapoulis is committed to an asylum in the early going because of anti-social behavior. The storyline has a wonderful, almost unflagging narrative sweep that is rare. McCullers wrote this when she was 21 and 22. The result is impressive. I think her greatest gift as an author is her deep empathy for her characters. It is this empathy that gives the book its powerful emotional appeal. In that respect I cannot at this moment think of anyone who is quite like McCullers; in other words, she seems to me in this respect utterly original. The method of the novel is for the most part straightforward chronology. There are some flashbacks, but McCuller keeps these to a minimum. The action takes place in an unnamed mill town in what is perhaps Mississippi between two distinct historical events: British PM Chamberlain's appeasement of Nazi Germany at Munich (30 Sept. 1938) and Hitler's demand for Danzig from Poland (late August 1939). But these events are only meant to provide context, and the immediate threat they represented to the nation is not a major concern. It is the South. The hot, humid, muggy, buggy American South. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER is a classic American novel and I recommend it strongly.
EBT1002 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Our mission is to walk with strength and dignity through the days of our humiliation. Our pride mus be strong, for we know the value of the human mind and soul. We must teach our children. ... For the time will come when the riches in us will not be held in scorn and contempt. The time will come when we will be allowed to serve. When we will labor and our labor will not be wasted." Wow. This is the wrap-up of a breathtaking speech by Doctor Copeland. More to follow......
lit_chick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Richly drawn characters. However, the story did not inspire.
kambrogi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read this book, published in 1940, twice in the past few decades. It is a stunning novel, even more so when one realizes it was written by a young woman in the starting gate of her 20¿s. It tells the story of four deeply frustrated characters in a small southern town, each of them fixated upon a mute man whom they believe to be their one, true friend. The truth behind their illusions is heartbreaking, and the story may be the finest portrayal of loneliness in the English language. It is essentially easy reading, but astonishingly deep in both style and purpose. One of the great classics of southern American fiction.