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Carson McCullers Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Member of the Wedding (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Square Root of Wonderful (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clock Without Hands (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

with Lois Mark Stalvey
Sucker (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud (By: Lois Mark Stalvey) (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Haunted Boy (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sweet As a Pickle and Clean As a Pig (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mortgaged Heart (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Shorter Novels And Stories Of Carson Mc Cullers (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Collected Stories (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Illumination and Night Glare (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

50 Great Short Stories(1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Short Story Masterpieces: 35 Classic American and British Stories from the First Half of the 20th Century(1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
50 Great American Short Stories(1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Short Stories 1964(1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ten Modern American Short Stories(1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hey-How for Halloween!(1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Women and Fiction(1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories of the Modern South(1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Autumn Light: Illuminations of Age(1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Early Sorrow: Ten Stories of Youth(1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Among Sisters: Short Stories by Women Writers(1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Growing Up in the South(1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
First Fiction: An Anthology of the First Published Stories by Famous Writers(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon

Carson McCullers was a literary fiction author from Columbus who made her name writing some very popular collections of short stories and novels. She was born in 1917 to jewelry store owner Lamar Smith and his wife Vera Marguerite Waters.

Since she was never a remarkable student, she was encouraged to study the piano which she did starting from age ten. But when she got ill with rheumatic fever, she had to give up the dream of becoming a concert pianist. She no longer has the strength for a concert career or the rigors of practice.

While she was recovering from her illness, she got into reading and it was this time that she started dreaming of becoming an author. Surprisingly, she moved to New York City and attended the Juilliard School of Music as a seventeen year old.

But what her parents did not know is that she was studying creative writing at New York University’s Washington Square College and New York’s Columbia University.
She published “Wunderkid,” her first short story, in 1936 and has never looked back since.

In 1937, Carson McCullers got married to James Reeves McCullers who she met while he was stationed at Fort Benning. However, the marriage was doomed from the start by sexual ambivalence and alcoholism. Things were made worse by the fact that her husband was always envious of McCullers’ creative capacities.

During a separation from Reeves in 1940, she started living at Brooklyn Heights where she met the likes of WH Auden the British poet and the literary editor of “Harper’s Bazaar” George Davis.

The residential building would then become the center of a bohemian artistic and literary constellation that included Oliver Smith, Gypsy Rose Lee, Richard Wright, Peter Pears, and Benjamin Britten.

In 1941, Reeves and McCullerw who were both bisexual fell in love with David Diamond, the American composer. The love triangle is expressed in the love triangle theme in several of her short stories and plays.

When she lost her father in 1944, McCullers moved to Nyack, New York with her mother and sister. It was here in a house purchased by her mother that spent much of the rest of her life.

Carson McCullers’submitted six chapters and an outline of her debut work “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” and got an advance of $500 and a contract from Houghton Mifflin in 1938.

The story that had themes of isolation and loneliness that would be prominent in her later work was published in 1940. The work was immediately successful and critics lauded it as one of the best literary fiction works ever written.

McCullers second novel was “Reflections in a Golden Eye” that she published in 1941. Known for her predilection for suprising her readers, this novel focused on the themes of infidelity, voyeurism, repressd homosexuality and obsession.

The work would go on to become popular on the bookshelves even though it received mixed critical reviews.

“The Ballad of the Sad Cafe” which she published in 1951 would be one of her finest creative works that marked her rise to fame.

Carson McCullers’ novel “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” is a work set during World War II in a very small town in Georgia. Mr. Singer a mute and deaf man who has been known to dine at the same New York Cafe every day, provides solace to four people who could not be any more disparate.

His best friends are a black doctor, the cafe’s owner, an alcoholic communist, and a young tomboyish girl eager to bring change to her community in her own way. All of them feel very much out of step with the people around them as they operate at very different levels of vibration.

They typically find solace in talking to Mr Singer who plays chess, shares food and reads their words on their lips. The work follows the five characters over several months, as their lives take unexpected and strange turns that result in some incredible outcomes.

The author and the characters’ stories seem to assert that while some things might not seem like much, it is the intimate, quiet and tiny events that often have the biggest impact on our lives.

Carson McCullers’ work “The Member of the Wedding” is a compelling story that follows the life and times of a twelve year old named Frankie Addams.
The girl has spent much of her life in a small town in rural Georgia where her father was for the most part missing. She is something of an older Scout Finch as her mother also died in childbirth and she is brought up by a father who decided to never get married again.

Since her father is at a loss on how to bring up a girl, much of her upbringing is done by Berenice, their colored housekeeper who provides the cookies and hugs Frankie needs. Still Berenic largely shields her from the world and when she is about to become a young adult, she remains naive.

Nearing puberty, she can still be found going on all manner of adventures with John Henry West, her younger cousin. Since she does not have any family members or female members that could bring her up to speed on the bees and the birds, she soon finds herself in the unfamiliar role of the misfit in town.

All Berenice Can do is hope that she gets a female friend as soon as possible just so she could live a normal life. It is in this context that she gets involved in the planning of her brother’s wedding.

Her unbridled imagination sees her planning and getting invited to her brother’s honeymoon abroad, where she believes she will have some awesome adventures.

Carson McCullers’ “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Other Stories” is a classic collection of some of her best stories that have intrigued readers for generations. Some of these include the titular work that tells the haunting tale that culminates in an explosive ending.

It was this novel that introduced readers to the inimitable and formidable southern woman named Miss Amelia.

Among other exceptional works in the collection include her first ever published short story Wunderkind. It was a story that she penned as a seventeen year old that featured a musical prodigy who comes to the realization that she is destined to become a great pianist.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Carson McCullers

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