Sunday, October 3, 2010

Paperback 358: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter / Carson McCullers (Bantam A1091)

Paperback 358: Bantam A1091 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Author: Carson McCullers
Cover artist: Uncredited [faint signature on crease in bottom right corner looks like that of Mitchell Hooks]

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • Wow, that guy is selling it. Least appreciative audience Ever.
  • I read this book twenty years ago and though I largely forget the plot I remember really liking it. I do, however, remember the first line, verbatim. "In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together." I think those are the mutes there: Tevye and the Undertaker.
  • Little girl demonstrates that peculiar paperback phenomenon whereby people appear to be looking at things they could not possibly see from that angle—that man is both behind her *and* blocked by a man's belly.
  • I like how the human beings are painted naturalistically but the surroundings are kind of surreal. I mean, look at that gray and white smear of a sidewalk. And that fire&brimstone sky.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Easy, girls, there's enough of me for both of you."
  • LOVE her "Holy F*&^" expression.
  • Not generally a fan of the multiple-scene cover—pick a scene and depict it, dammit, don't try to cram so much action into such a little space. Here, however, the paintings are discrete enough, and large enough, that there's not the usual feeling of chaos.
  • No Pasadena Star-News blurbs here. All top tier publications.

Page 123~

"No. There was some definite thing you did that for. We been knowing each other a pretty long time, and I understand by now that you got a real reason for every single thing you ever do. Your mind runs by reasons instead of just wants. Now, you promised you'd tell me what it was, and I want to know."


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Miss Maggie said...

One of my all-time favorite books. My cover doesn't look like that, though! Awesome.

DemetriosX said...

I'm not familiar enough with this book to tell, but was the artist going for a crucified Jesus thing? If so, he failed. It looks more like a bad rock star pose or a drunk laughing at his own joke. Or maybe he's stealing John Belushi's Joe Cocker imitation.

Also, the guy on the left looks a little like a young Nixon.

JamiSings said...

Dang, I like musicals too much because the first thought I had was, "The guy looks like he just burst out in song about being in love with the new teacher."

Anonymous said...

I live in a Southern town and I've never seen anybody act like a danged fool on the sidewalk like that guy.

Anonymous said...

In your review you said that you think the two men in center of the front page are the two mutes.
I don't think so...I think that the tall man in black is indeed Singer but the emoting man is Blount, the loud-mouth labor agitator. Remember how in the book he was always screaming and yelling and railing against social injustices.
Just my opinion....
Thanks for posting these images; I'd never before seen this particular printing.