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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers it takes a while before you understand Truman Capote's assessment, 'Carson McCullers, so skillful, died so tragically young'. McCullers, who was a child prodigy musician, and then was fairly unproductive artistically speaking, then began to bring out literary masterworks in her late thirties/forties, but she was already experiencing the effects of her strokes, and so her death at 51 took away what statistically is the most productive decade for writers (and painters, actually), one's fifties, as opposed to the rock musicians and actresses who peak at twenty-six, athletes and mathematicians who peak in their thirties, forties the decade of cooks and professors and so on.

there are exceptions of course. J.D. Salinger's One Hit came when he was thirty-two, Francoise Sagan wrote her best work at eighteen, T.S. Eliot was all of twenty two when he whipped out "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." but of course these are exceptions that prove the rule.

I grow old, I grow old
I shall wear the bottom of my pants legs rolled

sometime I'll relate the story of the computer science guy who insisted "that poem is obviously written by an old man," and could not convinced otherwise.... [sigh]... I sat there for about five minutes looking at him, trying not to call a guy who had a master's in Computer Science a moron, but of course any first year art's degree student could have tried to explain it to him...

anyway, McCullers was on the upswing from her traumatic upbringing as an overburdened Wunderkind as illness arrived and took her away. what brilliant unwritten novels will never be read now? ask the heavens... elegantly styled, Southern-paced, bordering on allegorical, Hunter works as a peek into a gothic life, is written with terseness and absolute necessity of incident, and manages to say something about god, race, the south, small towns, etc. professional, terse, and a valuable addition to the literary canon 4/5