The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) is the debut novel by the American author Carson McCullers; she was 23 at the time of publication. It is about a deaf man who does not speak named John Singer and the people he encounters in a 1930s mill town in the U.S. state of Georgia.
The book begins with a focus on the relationship between two close friends, John Singer and Spiros Antonapoulous. The two are described as deaf-mutes who have lived together for several years. There are homosexual overtones to their intimate friendship, though there is nothing overt. Antonopoulous becomes mentally ill, misbehaves, and despite attempts at intervention from Singer, is eventually put into an insane asylum in Chicago. Now alone, Singer moves into a new room.
The remainder of the narrative centers on the struggles of four of John Singer's acquaintances: Mick Kelly, a tomboyish girl who loves music and dreams of buying a piano; Jake Blount, an alcoholic labor agitator; Biff Brannon, the observant owner of a diner; and Dr. Benedict Mady Copeland, an idealistic black physician.
On his second trip to visit Antonapoulous, Singer found that he had died. No one had told him. After returning home, Singer kills himself.
When published it created a literary sensation, enjoying a meteoric rise to the top of the bestseller lists in 1940; it was the first in a string of works by McCullers that give voice to those who are rejected, forgotten, mistreated or oppressed.
The Modern Library ranked the novel seventeenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included it in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. In 2004 the novel was selected for Oprah's Book Club.
A stage adaptation of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter premiered on March 30, 2005, at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The show ran until April 24 of that year, and then toured. The play was an Alliance Theater presentation done in association with The Acting Company out of New York. The play, adapted by Rebecca Gilman, was directed by Doug Hughes.
British artist Joe Simpson referenced McCullers' book in his painting of the same title 'The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter' in 2014. The painting shows two characters both reading the book on the London Underground, it is taken from his ongoing series 'London'.
- Lacayo, Richard (2005-10-16). "Best Books of ALL TIME | All-TIME 100 Novels". TIME.com. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
- http://thefastertimes.com/theatertalk/2009/10/14/the-new-york-theater-workshop-vs-the-deaf-a-modest-proposal-for-casting-plays/ | For a discussion of some of the issues raised by this production, both for directors and actors
- Heart Tour Program: The Acting Company www.theactingcompany.org
- Variety http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117926738.html?categoryid=33&cs=1
- Joe Simpson "Joe Simpson - The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Oil on Canvas" "2014"