Carson Mc Cullers


mccullers1There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.

Carson McCullers

Carson mc Cullers pubblica The Heart is a Lonely Hunter a 23 anni e il suo talento è immediatamente riconosciuto e apprezzato. Ambientato in una cittadina del profondo sud degli stati Uniti negli anni trenta, è un romanzo corale in cui come in una composizione musicale la trama e l’ordito del racconto sono intessuti dalle voci di quattro personaggi. Elemento unificante, vero e proprio perno attorno a cui ruota la narrazione, è il solitario Singer, il sordomuto che diventerà il confidente di ognuno. Con il suo ascolto silenzioso permetterà ad ognuno di loro di giungere a inaspettate rivelazioni.

There are five characters but the novel ‘pivots’ on one, a deaf mute called John Singer. The other four ‘impute to him all the qualities they would wish for him to have’. They ‘sing’ to him the songs they believe no one else will listen to. In choosing the four ‘satellites’, McCullers highlights different kinds of loneliness or alienation – depending  on race, class, age and sexuality. Thirteen-year-old Mick Kelly confesses her growing passion for music; fifty-one year old Doctor Benedict Copeland talks about his frustrations  at raising the consciousness of the town’s black people (starting with his family); Jake Blount a twenty-nine-year-old itinerant labour agitator and drunk reveals his plans for   revolution; only Biff Branno, the fourt-year-old café owner, recognizes that Singer is a ‘home-made god’ for them all.

In some ways we seem to be encouraged to think of Singer as Christ-like. He is a good listener, attracts disciples and is thirty-three  when he dies. On the other hand, he does not understand, or even care much about, what the others tell him. some prefer to think of Singer as a kind of Moby Dick figure – a blank canvas on to which just about anything can be projected.

Kasia Boddy on The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

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‘I like freaks’, Biff said.

‘ I reckon you do! I just reckon you certainly ought to, Mister Brannon – being as you’re one your self.’    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers