Monday, February 20, 2017

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

I've discovered lately that I'm drawn to reading modern classics, like John Steinbeck, Thomas Wolfe and Carson McCullers.  Their prose is rich and smooth, engaging as well as captivating.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter revolves around a diverse array of characters whose lives intersect while interacting with John Singer, a deaf man.  He allows them to bare their souls without offering any criticism or comment.

Mick Kelly is a 12 year girl experiencing all those adolescent changes.  Mr. Singer rents a room in her family's home.  Dr. Copeland is a black physician who is so driven to improve his race at the expense of driving away his own family.  Jake Blount is intent on spreading his communist mindset in order to save the world.  Biff Brannon owns the cafe where the others appear at different times for a drink, or a meal or in Mick Kelly's case, a cold coke.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is about the diversity in our country that still exists for us even in our current society.  The story is set in the South in the 1940's but it makes it apparent that our differences in skin color, economic standing, age or disability still often separate us.  I'm still thinking about this story, trying to sort it out in my mind.  These characters are rich and vibrant, and I'm still trying to understand what drives them.  More than a half a century later, our struggles still exist and we are still searching for answers.  For me, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is classic novel that is relevant in modern times.  The book has the ability to make me think, maybe reading it should be a must if we are to come together again as neighbors, friends and fellow Americans.

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

Macon is the author of a series of travel guides specifically for business travelers so they can make their limited time in a city as comfortable as possible.  After the senseless murder of his 12 year old son, Ethan, while away at summer camp, Macon finds his marriage and his life falling apart.  When his wife moves out of the house, Macon is left with Ethan's untrained dog, Edward, as his only company and when Edward's usual kennel refuses to board him because of his bad behavior, Macon ends up at the Meow Bow. There he meets Muriel, the quirky dog trainer, who attempts to get him back into reality.

Anne Tyler is the master of character development.  As a writer myself, I've read other novels she's written just to study the characters.  Macon and his siblings eat potatoes at each meal.  All lack a sense of direction and usually become lost while running their regular errands.  And then their mother shows up in her flowing caftan and armful of bangle bracelets.  The family is a study in contrasts.

It's these kinds of things that I love about this book.  The story is funny and often comical which serves to help the characters overcome the tragic loss of Ethan.  But they never really can, the loss is too deep.  Every author finds a way to either tie up the loose ends or leave the ending more open ended much like real life.  I have to say however that I hated the ending.  But in defense of a book that I mostly enjoyed, I have hated the ending of every Anne Tyler book I have read.

Like every book I read, I try to keep an open mind.  Many of my friends loved the ending.  The Accidental Tourist is full of interesting people, places and things.  Find inside these pages a trip that appeals to you and leave the rest to critics like me.  

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...