I'm a GoodReads user testing new waters after the serious website changes. I mostly read fiction, usually Anglophone classics/ modern classics; I like nonfiction (mostly social and cultural history), good fantasy and graphic novels. For guilty pleasure, I read advice and how-to books. I made at least two reading resolutions recently; 1. read less, live more; 2. read books which give me more pleasure. I have poor filters, and books I find stylistically pleasing tend to be depressing, so I need to do something about that; if you think you know a book that is very well written, but won't make me weep, please drop me a line.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers I know The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is considered a masterpiece, but - despite McCullers' astonishing maturity, sensitivity and attention to detail (she is a chameleon, able to speak in many voices, and construct very private and very full lives for her characters, male and female, White and Black alike) it failed to move me on some fundamental level.

There is the sadness, the tiredness, the bleakness of poverty, and the two major, yet invisible characters: Economy and Prejudice. The characters speak in turns, without being able to communicate or understand much; it is frequently repeated that McCullers presents them in a fugue-like manner, in a composition which culminates in a nightmarish, sequenced ending, days before the outbreak of the WW II. The ending itself is not as gruesome as some of the earlier events of the novel, but each of the characters ends up in his or her private hell, and we realize that *this* is life - there's no escaping Racial Prejudice or Economy, which ultimately defeat everyone.

The book's other theme is the cult of the individual and unfounded hero worship, which reminds me of what was going on at the same time in Europe. At the time of racial and economic turmoil, lost - or careworn - individuals were in desparate need not only of understanding, but also being told what to do.

I feel that structurally, aside from the fugue-and-culmination composition (think Requiem for a Dream), the novel is not very interesting. Singer's secret (or lack thereof) is too strongly explained rather than shown; the dream sequences are rather weak, excluding perhaps Jake's final dream; there are moments where the 'confessing to a deaf-mute' composition seems to be merely a plausible way of facilitating character presentation through monologues.

On the whole: while I appreciate the content, it's just 'another sad novel' to me, and I just cannot push myself to give the book four stars - perhaps I'll raise the rating later.

Review based on thoughts recorded for 2015: The Year of Reading Women group read.

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