The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

Book Notes | ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’

July 21, 2023, at 2pm

The Modern Library ranked The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers seventeenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included it in its 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. In 2004 the novel was selected for Oprah's Book Club.

McCullers was born on February 19, 1917, in Columbus, Georgia. She took writing classes at Columbia University and New York University from 1935 to 1936. She died from a brain hemorrhage on September 29, 1967.

Published in 1940, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was her debut novel; she was 23 at the time of publication. The novel enjoyed a rapid rise to the top of the bestseller lists, although it received a divided reception from the critics. Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Direct, uncompromising, a distinguished piece of writing whose very subject matter will make it almost impossible to sell.”

Set in the 1930s, in a southern town much like the one in which McCullers was raised, the book revolves around the enigmatic figure of John Singer, a deaf-mute who finds himself on his own after 10 years of sharing a silent routine with his only friend and fellow deaf-mute, Spiros Antonapoulos. 

When Antonapoulos, after a stretch of increasingly erratic behavior, is committed to an asylum, Singer finds himself more isolated than ever—until he comes to board in the house of the Kelly family and becomes the confidant of four of the town’s loneliest souls: the café owner Biff Brannon, the heavy-drinking political radical Jake Blount, the Black doctor Benedict Copeland, and a 12-year-old girl with dreams of a musical future, Mick Kelly. These four characters, estranged from family, friends, and community by the remoteness of their longings, find consolation in the hushed politeness of Singer’s company.

We had a good discussion when the UMRA Book Club met on July 21, although members found McCullers’ novel dark and bleak. We questioned why the book was so popular when it was first published, and why it is on so many current lists of best novels. Not many in our group would recommend the book to others.

Diane Madlon-Kay, UMRA Book Club I




Book Club I in July

Fri, Jul 21 2023, 2pm

Event to be held via Zoom.

Diane Madlon-Kay will lead the discussion of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers when the UMRA Book Club meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 21.

Upcoming Events

Event Date: December 4, 2023, at 9:30am

Please join us for an invigorating hike from The Monument located at the intersection of Mississippi RIver Blvd and Summit Avenue in St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and back.  This hike is on paved trails, approximately 5.5 miles in length, and will be at a pace suitable to the weather.

Event Date: December 6, 2023, at 10am

Knowing your family’s medical history is important, especially as we become more aware of the role played by genetics in many medical conditions. This presentation by UMRA member Michelle Casey will include suggestions for finding family death records—despite data challenges—based on Casey’s search for her own grandfather’s record.

Event Date: December 12, 2023, at 11:50am

Andy Whitman's Employee Benefits class will be holding an Oxford style debate on four different topics. During the debate a Board of Distinguished Professionals questions each Team, and finally comments on Team performance after the end of the debates.

Event Date: December 13, 2023, at 11:30am

Topics include tax changes; tax reducing moves required now and tax management in 2024.

Event Date: January 16, 2024, at 11am

It may seem like science fiction, but University of Minnesota researchers are exploring therapeutic interventions to treat aging and prevent age-related diseases. Laura Niedernhofer, MD, PhD, leads the Medical School’s Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism, and will share her work on aging—and how to slow it down—for UMRA’s Living Well Workshop on Tuesday, January 16, via Zoom. 

Event Date: January 23, 2024, at 11am

Pat Miles, former TV news anchor and journalist, lost her husband suddenly and found the financial and legal challenges to be overwhelming during her time of grief. She wrote a book about her experience, Before All Is Said and Done, incorporating wisdom from other unexpected widows, and will share her learnings for the first UMRA Forum of the New Year.

Event Date: January 24, 2024, at 10am

UMRA’s first Armchair Traveler program of 2024 will take us on travels close to home and to the edges of the earth with two fabulous presenters, Carol Urness and Kate Maple.

Event Date: January 31, 2024, at 1pm

Join UMRA members at Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville for an afternoon of comradery, food, and entertainment. After an hour of mingling and nosh, the highlight of this mid-winter event will be an hour of song and music by Twin Cities musicians Dane Stauffer and Dan Chouinard.

Prepayment of $35 per person; or $38 after Jan 5

Event Date: February 7, 2024, at 1pm

If you are curious about insects in their astonishing variety, plan to join the UMRA Cabinets of Curiosity to tour the Insect Collection and Natural History Library in Hodson Hall.