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Book Title: The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories|
The author of the book: Carson McCullers
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 22.55 MB
Date of issue: July 1st 1983
ISBN 13: 9780553272543
Read full description of the books:“The Ballad of the Sad Café”, title of the story that gives name to this collection, includes seven short, in some cases, almost minimalistic tales. Each one of them enhances a different aspect of thematic lines recurrent in McCullers’ works: the isolation and the loneliness juxtaposed to selfless love in implausible triangular relationships.
What distinguishes these stories from others is the musical quality so idiosyncratic of McCullers’ voice along with the silent incursion of her evenly paced words into the minds of her figurative, and often outlandish, characters. The inner lives of these protagonists shape the dismal world they inhabit, breathing life into a reality that seems more feasible than if obtained from direct, plain observation or detailed description. And so the line separating fiction from reality softens, the vision becomes illumination, and maybe through exaggeration, maybe through the projection of a profoundly poetic prose, McCullers creates a universe built on ambiguity where melancholy abounds and an impending sense of loss intoxicates the senses of the reader.
Following the tune of an unhurried narrative; characters are introduced, stripped naked, given distinctive traits that stir the lethargic child still hidden inside us who eagerly awaits to be swept off his feet by the end of a fantastic tale. But McCullers’ ballads turn out to be composed for an adult public, for there is nothing tender or childish in the succession of desperate voices that sing to the stigmatized, the rejected, the abandoned who feed off their past failures and unrequited love.
And so the sound of picks falling on stone marks the rhythm that unfolds the story of Miss Amelia, the androgynous owner of the Café that is built upon her irrational devotion to her cousin Lymon, a destitute hunchback whose eyes bask on Marvin Macy’s handsome features.
Beethoven’s Sonata No. 12 marks the end of Bienchen’s future as a child prodigy with the piano in Wunderkind while Bach’s prelude and fugue plays as a redeeming melody that allows The Sojourner to make peace with a lost love that still burns his soul in silence.
The tapping of raindrops on a forgotten streetcar café sets the pace for the story of a vagrant who has taught himself to love A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud with utter selflessness, a “science” that might alter the course of the life of a newspaper delivery boy for good.
The micro-cosmos of the solitary singer expands and soaks the mood of the casual bystander, who can’t help but remain glued to the desolate voices that interweave in a fugue of mismatched glances that search each other in vain. McCullers’ characters sing in an adult world erected on cheated innocence, a lot of whisky and barren lands where loneliness is the only thing left after the music stopped playing.
Isn’t it incredible, though, that ”the music, catalyst for this tumultuous anarchy, was so serene and clear” and soothed a discomfited reader in spite of the desolate landscape? Not when McCullers is playing.
Read information about the authorCarson McCullers was an American who wrote fiction, often described as Southern Gothic, that explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South.
From 1935 to 1937 she divided her time, as her studies and health dictated, between Columbus and New York and in September 1937 she married an ex-soldier and aspiring writer, Reeves McCullers. They began their married life in Charlotte, North Carolina where Reeves had found some work. There, and in Fayetteville, North Carolina, she wrote her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, in the Southern Gothic tradition.
The title, suggested by McCullers's editor, was taken from Fiona MacLeod's poem "The Lonely Hunter." However, many (including Carson McCullers) claim she wrote in the style of Southern Realism, a genre inspired by Russian Realism. The novel itself was interpreted as an anti-fascist book. Altogether she published eight books.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), written at the age of twenty-three, Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), and The Member of the Wedding (1946), are the best-known. The novella The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951) also depicts loneliness and the pain of unrequited love. She was an alumna of Yaddo in Saratoga, New York.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was filmed in 1968 with Alan Arkin in the lead role. Reflections in a Golden Eye was directed by John Huston (1967), starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Some of the film was shot in New York City and on Long Island, where Huston was permitted to use an abandoned Army installation.
Many of the interiors and some of the exteriors were done in Italy. "I first met Carson McCullers during the war when I was visiting Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith in upstate New York," said Huston in An Open Book (1980).
"Carson lived nearby, and one day when Buzz and I were out for a walk she hailed us from her doorway. She was then in her early twenties, and had already suffered the first of a series of strokes. I remember her as a fragile thing with great shining eyes, and a tremor in her hand as she placed it in mine. It wasn't palsy, rather a quiver of animal timidity. But there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life. And as her afflictions multiplied, she only grew stronger."
After lifelong health problems including severe alcoholism, McCullers died of brain hemorrhage.
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