I wanted to start reading more books from outside of my general sphere of interest and luckily got given four books for my last birthday. One that I wouldn’t have come across myself was Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter set in a depressed mill town in the south of America in the 1930’s.

It is an amazingly wise novel from a 23-year-old that traces the lives of five troubled townspeople that are all inexplicably drawn to a deaf-mute named John Singer. The lack of explicit character in Singer allows him to become whatever the others want as they project their own ideas onto him and allow him to become a wise sage whom they all turn to for solace in their loneliness.

The novel manages to tenderly express the need for companionship as these five troubled characters come to Singer - who offers little in return apart from being there. In a somewhat ironic way, Singer has a similar relationship with the only one who offers him solace in his troubles; his deaf-mute friend Spiros Antonapoulosalso.

There is a strong strain of political discontent throughout the novel as two characters rally against capitalism in their own frustrated ways. Struggling with the ailing American dream which is slowly revealing itself as a con and another system of oppression.

The themes of alienation in capitalist societies are very relevant today and it is hard not to get on board with a book where one of the characters is so enthralled by the idea of socialism that he has called his son ‘Karl Marx’. Would definitely recommend.

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