Reflections in a Golden Eye
Short novel + day off = a perfect match 😀
And not a bad novel, either, the first one by Carson McCullers I’ve ever read. When I heard that she wrote it when she was only 24, I was quite amazed, since her characters are so alive and yet si sick and twisted. We have two couples: Leonora and Weldon Penderton and Morris and Alison Langdon. Leonora, a spoilt brat, cheats her husband with Morris Langdon; Alison is mentally unstable and Weldon is a latent homosexual. Plus, a soldier obsessed with Leonora, who unconsciously becomes the object of Weldon’s repressed desire, a devoted and quirky Filipino servant and a horse. The atmosphere is tense, there’s a lot of desire disguised as hatred, a lot of silent suffering and overall, a haunting unhappiness since no one is living the life they wished they’d lived. Actually, no one consciously wants to live a different life (except perhaps Alison, who, when finally finding the strength to do it, is rendered insane). Or maybe there’s just something fundamentally about the South, something that makes everyone seem destined for misfortune.
Like I said, I found her characters somewhat surprisingly alive for the author’s age, but, when I read a bit about her, I realised that a lot of the situations described in the book – she may have found in her own turmoiled life: she divorced after both she and her husband had homosexual affairs, she had suffered strokes from her early youth, and, after she and her husband remarried, he tried to convince her to commit suicide together. He didn’t succeed, but he killed himself on an overdose of sleeping pills. She died 13 years later, at the age of 50. Well, you can find it all on Wikipedia, I just wrote it here, because the novel seems to have pretty strong autobiographical features.
In the end, I was left with a somehow bitter aftertaste…but I’m definitely, definitely going to read “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” 🙂
Oh! And a bit of trivia, which I find interesting (but I might be the only one 😉 ): the beginning of Jarvis Cocker’s song “Big Julie” (the narrated part that is featured only on the album, not on the live versions) is part of a narration Ms. McCullers did for “The member of the wedding” (again, very grateful to the faithful Wiki 🙂 )