I wanted to write something about The Heart is a Lonely Hunter before it fades from mind...
You can tell that McCullers wants you to like John Singer, and I do. Every other character, every other situation in the book is uncomfortably earthy or grubby or a bit too kitchen-sink-realistic to be pleasant: Biff mashing the tip of his nose with his thumb, the drunk anarchist, the fat deaf Greek, the awkward teenage girl, the uptight doctor, etc. All those characters have their fine and memorable qualities, but you don't really want to get too near to them.
John Singer is a breath of fresh air. He's always cool. He doesn't have any odd personal habits (that McCullers mentions, anyway). He floats above the action -- even the sections that are narrated from his point of view are a bit distancing, a quality I found refreshing after the hot and sweaty intensity of everyone else. Perhaps this is because Singer is originally from the cool North, though I don't think that McCullers views the North as being a particularly admirable place. But Singer is set apart from the novel by more than just his disabilities. It's like he's stepped out of another book and another setting: Brideshead Revisited or The Remains of the Day or something by Henry James. He's a character from a different world, dropped into this Southern setting but still retaining his alien nature.
That's fine. I like Brideshead Revisited. But would a character like John Singer really inhabit a world like Carson McCullers has created?
Life in Lent
1 day ago