wisteria in Columbus, Georgia

“The first days of April were windy and warm.  White clouds trailed across the blue sky.  In the wind there was the smell of the river and also the fresher smell of fields beyond the town.”

from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers was born Lula Carson Smith in 1917 in Columbus, Georgia.  Her first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, was published in 1940, when she was just 23 years old.

I first read this novel in high school and didn’t particularly like it.  I’ve read it three times since then, amazed at the genius of the character of the deaf mute, the many threads of the theme of loneliness, and the depth of the writing.  Amazed that it was a first novel.  Amazed that it could have been written by a 23-year-old.

McCullers’ childhood home is located about fifteen minutes from where I live.  We’ve had a lot of rain in these early days of April 2009, sixty-nine years after she wrote these words:  “The sound of the rain was like the swelling sound of the sea.”