Books

What James Iha Is Reading: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter


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Yep, Faze has been around a long time, and this column had us asking the stars of the time what books they were reading or had recently read AND that they were super-excited about. Then we’d tell you a little more about the book. In this installment we put the question to James Iha, guitarist for the Smashing Pumpkins.

James Iha

James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins is a big fan of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, written by American Carson McCullers.

The Heart is A Lonely Hunter

This richly detailed work is set in the south and explores the lives of four lonely individuals who collect about a single deaf-mute with whom they share their deepest secrets.

“When she was only twenty-three this, Carson McCuller’s first novel, created a literary sensation. She is very special, one of America’s superlative writers who conjures up a vision of existence as terrible as it is real, who takes us on shattering voyages into the depths of the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition.

This novel is the work of a supreme artist, Carson McCullers’s enduring masterpiece. The heroine is the strange young teenager, Mick Kelly. The setting is a small Southern town, the cosmos universal and eternal. The characters are the damned, the voiceless, the rejected. Some fight their loneliness with violence and depravity, some with alcohol, and some — like Mick — with a quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.” (1981 Bantam paperback.)

John Singer, the deaf-mute, comes to symbolize the person whom all human beings yearn for, someone who will listen, understand without condemnation, to whom we can unburden our hearts of its deepest fears and longings. There is no plot as such, but the characters throb with life, and a deep sense of compassion and empathy for the underprivileged and the social misfits shimmers throughout the novel.

James Iha



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