The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers, is one of the saddest books I've ever read, so sad that it was hard for me to read much of it at a time. I felt for each and every one of the characters and the frustration over how people who have much in common still cannot take comfort in each other. Because of this inability to connect and see things as they really are, everyone is very alone. Each character has a dream, a purpose, or something he or she looks forward to, and without this, life seems pointless. Unfortunately, these dreams are unattainable and become torments. Mick Kelly is a particularly tragic character, an unusually bright girl growing up with a clear idea of what she would love to do in life, but no means of attaining that goal. There are four troubled and thoughtful personalities who are captivated with John Singer, the deaf man who is boarding at the Kelly's. Singer seems to listen to each of them with a wise ear, but none of them can know for sure what he is thinking, since he does not speak. He just listens, which proves to be exactly what each of them needs. Unfortunately, though, Singer has no outlet, himself. He lives for those rare visits with his old friend, another deaf man who has been committed to an asylum. Singer's relationship with this man, Spiros Antonapoulos, however, is the same: Singer has no idea how much Antonapoulos understands or listens, but he has put him on a pedestal, all the same. Antonapoulos has become the vision and inspiration Singer needs to live. This cannot end happily.
We open our mouths, we talk, but we don't really listen to each other, because we are too full of our own inner discourse. Lonely, indeed.
In other news, I've now watched two seasons of Monk, and find this show to be highly addictive. Adrian Monk is an OCD detective savant who lost his police badge because of his psychological disorder. His many phobias make it impossible for him to function alone in the world, so he is always accompanied by his nurse. We are led to think that he has always been this way, but clearly, the murder of his wife, who provided him with love and security, pushed him off the thin ledge he was standing on.
Monk is very likeable and I'm always pulling for him, as he struggles to do the things he needs to do in order to solve these crimes. His powers of observation and his hyper-attentiveness are both fascinating and humorous. Monk may be the most endearing character I've seen on television.
I've been chosen to receive an Early Reviewers book from LibraryThing! It's called Rocket Man, by William Elliott Hazelgrove. I don't know when it will come, but I'm thrilled.
NEXT UP: I will be watching Fanny and Alexander, a film I saw back in college, but remember finding confusing, but interesting. It will be interesting to see if the intervening years have made me into a smarter movie-watcher. On that subject, TLP gave me a book called The Film Club, by David Gilmour, a memoir about a father who allowed his son to drop out of school, on the condition that he see and discuss three films a week. Sounds good to me.