USA. NYC. 1947. US writer, Carson McCULLERS.

You know that curious spark that lights your interest in something when come across a reference, a song, a picture?

Well, I have had a moment like that a couple of weeks ago when I checked out Suzanne Vega’s latest album Lover, Beloved, which as it turns out is about Carson McCullers. I’ve always been curious about McCullers and her characters, but Vega’s album finally kicked my interest into gear enough to do something about it.

What I knew about McCullers, was not a lot. I had read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and, as it was dedicated to another one of my favourite writers, Reflections in a Golden Eye, knew she suffered a lot of ill health, alcoholism, depression, but not much else, except that she once gave a luncheon for Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen which also included Marylin Monroe and Arthur Miller.

What a party that must have been!

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There is a fab article about the meeting in The Rumpus, but just the idea of these people hanging out sounds awesome. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of Blixen’s/Dinesen’s work, but I bet she was a great teller of stories in person.

Anyway, what I am getting to is that I am looking to learn more about Carson McCullers and her work, which seems to explore the life of the outcast, the outsider, the one not fitting in. Apparently, Graham Greene was a fan, which makes this little project even more intriguing.

Reading List – with links to reviews added:

Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941)

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

The Member of the Wedding (1946)

The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951), a collection comprising:

  • the eponymous novella and six short stories:
    • “Wunderkind” (Story, 1936)
    • “The Jockey” (The New Yorker, 1941)
    • “Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland” (The New Yorker, 1941)
    • “The Sojourner” (Mademoiselle, 1950)
    • “A Domestic Dilemma” (New York Post magazine section, September 16, 1951)
    • “A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud” (Harper’s Bazaar, 1942)

Clock Without Hands (1961)
The Mortgaged Heart
(1972) – a posthumous collection of writings
Illumination and Night Glare (1999) – unfinished autobiography
“Sucker”, a short story

Other Works by CM that not on my Reading List:

The Square Root of Wonderful (1958), a play
Sweet as a Pickle and Clean as a Pig (1964), a collection of poems

 

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