Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Woman of the Week - Carson McCullers

I just started re-reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and I'm remembering what a wonderful book it is. Carson McCullers wrote it when she was only 23 years old. I recommend that everyone read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at least once. It's a novel about misfits who struggle with loneliness and finding their place in society.

McCullers had a difficult life filled with illness and emotional turmoil. At the age of 31, she suffered two strokes which left her completely paralyzed on her left side. Around the same time, she married James Reeves McCullers, but she divorced him in 1941, and then remarried him in 1945. Three years later, Carson attempted suicide during a bout of depression. In 1953, her husband tried to convince her that they should commit suicide together. Carson refused, but her husband took his own life by overdosing on sleeping pills. At the age of 50, Carson suffered a stroke that left her in a coma for 47 days. She never woke up, dying on September 27, 1967.

It seems that many writers have troubled lives, but sometimes it can add to the depth of their work. After Carson McCullers' husband committed suicide, she wrote a play called The Square Root of Wonderful, which was inspired by these traumatic events. In addition to my personal favorite, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers wrote three other novels: Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, and Clock Without Hands. I'm definitely adding McCullers' other three books to my ever-growing reading list.

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