The Heart is a Lonely Hunter -- Carson McCullers
I'd just like to admit now that until about a year after I graduated college, I thought that Carson McCullers was a man. (In my defense, I think it was because I kept mixing her up with Cormac McCarthy).
I know that after reading this book, everybody gushes about the same thing--that Carson McCullers wrote it when she was twenty-two years old. Let me just jump right on the bandwagon. It's amazing. The book is amazing and the fact that she wrote it so young is amazing. (Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, you can suck it. Because you'll never, ever write like this).
Josh and I talked about it a bit, and we figure that a lot of writers learn how to be good writers, while some people just are. (Obviously the "just are" people have to work at it, too, but I think you know what I mean). Carson McCullers clearly falls into the "just are" category. Her language is spare and simple--she didn't use any unnecessary words--but vivid.
Of the five main characters, I loved Mick Kelly best:
These nights were secret, and of the whole summer they were the most important time. In the dark she walked by herself and it was like she was the only person in the town. Almost every street came to be as plain to her in the night-time as her own home block. Some kids were afraid to walk through strange places in the dark, but she wasn't. Girls were scared a man would come out from somewhere and put his teapot in them like they was married. Most girls were nuts. If a person the size of Joe Louis or Mountain Man Dean would jump out at her and want to fight she would run. But if it was somebody within twenty pounds her weight she would give him a good sock and go right on.
It took me three days to read, which is a long time for me--but it's the kind of book that you read slowly and savor. I finished it yesterday morning before work and I thought about it all afternoon. And evening. And this morning. I'll be thinking about it for a good while longer. It's a book that stays with you.