Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" by Carson McCullers 1951

So far since I began The Reading Life I have posted on Carson McCuller's classic novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and two of her short stories.  I am currently working my way through The Collected Short Stories of Carson McCullers.  

The publishers of this collection should be ashamed of themselves.   It is riddled with ridiculous typos, ones that any proof reading would have found.  I would hesitate to endorse purchasing  the collection as the publisher should not be rewarded for this production.  Carson McCullers deserves better and so does the book buying public.  

Some classify The Ballad of the Sad Cafe as a novella.  In my edition it is fifty five pages.  I have found most of the short stories in the collection as down a level from two other Southern USA Gothic writers whose full short story collections I have read, Flannery O' Connor and Eudora Welty, maybe way down.   The Ballad of the Small Cafe is a miniature master piece.  Set in a small rural community in Georgia,  there are only three central characters in the story.  One is Miss Amelia, a very interesting unique character.  She is six foot two and sort of economically dominates the town.  She is very strange and McCullers does a flat out brilliant job bringing her to life for us.  She marries briefly for ten days and it was a total disaster. Her husband winds up in prison for a few years.  A strange four foot tall hunchback, Lymon, who says he is her cousin, plays a very big part in this story.   

This story is just so wonderful.  I do not want to spoil any of the plot action.  The conclusion shows us a stunning turn of events that I bet has produced lots of good class room conversations.   A movie was made of this a while ago and I hope Turner Classic Movies will show it soon.

I have begun to read her novel, The Member of the Wedding.  



Anonymous said...

I liked it very much, though I prefer The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which I must have read 3 times

Mel u said...

Wordsandpeace- it has been several years since I Read her The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- I greatly admired it-thanks as always for your comment and visit