The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers // I started this book a couple of years ago, but for some reason I didn’t get into it & abandoned it before the end. recently I picked it up again and took it on a solo train journey (the perfect setting in which to read it imo), and was completely blown away. it’s a wise, melancholy, unflinchingly honest novel, set in the deep American South just before World War II. the plot centres on John Singer, who is a deaf-mute living in an unnamed town. over a year, he becomes the object of fascination for four different people: an adolescent girl, a doctor, an alcoholic working as a mechanic and a café owner. through their interactions with Singer, we come to understand their characters, obsessions and dreams. each of them projects their own desires — particularly each of their longings for companionship and understanding — onto Singer, who patiently listens to them. it raises questions of whether you can truly understand another person, and explores the way that people can mould others into a shape to satisfy their own needs, and the tragedy that occurs when people fail to make connections with one another. the plot-lines of each of the characters are distinct, but they collectively weave together to tell a story of profound humanity, compassion and intelligence; but one that is impossibly sad, too. I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time.