[BOOKS] ⚣ Reflections in a Golden Eye By Carson McCullers – Uroturk.info
This morning, I wrote an erudite, detailed review for this book describing the individual characters and all their angst and complications, but somehow deleted it Then I realized it was full of spoilers anyway, so here s my abbreviated take away from this dynamite book You mean, Captain Penderton said, that any fulfillment obtained at the expense of normalcy is wrong, and should not be allowed to bring happiness In short, it is better, because it is morally honorable, for the square peg to keep scraping around the round hole rather than to discover and use the unorthodox square that would fit it Most readers will consider the six characters in this novel undeniably square pegs These people are very strange, and they do some shocking things But, as many others have said long before me, in the hands of Carson McCullers, it all works You sense a catastrophic ending from the very beginning of this book and so, like rubbernecking past a terrible accident on the interstate, you cannot pull your eyes away This is NOT The Member Of The Wedding, with a lovable Frankie Addams, because there s really no one to love in this book But it holds some magnificent writing from one of the best and makes you appreciate McCullers willingness to embrace the square pegs of this world 4.5 stars, rounded down only because the ending, for me at least, was too abrupt and somewhat anticlimactic after all the tension and foreshadowing Highly recommend this to any McCullers fan. I am humbled once again by the familiarity of Carson McCullers with pain, loneliness and alienation the dark thread that ties together her novels and stories, the silent scream of despair that unites the patrons of a sad cafe with the unsuccesful hunters for love in a mill town, and now with the officers and their consorts on an army base somewhere in GeorgiaI am so immersed in my characters that their motives are my own When I write about a thief, I become one when I write about Captain Penderton, I become a homosexual man I become the characters I write about and I bless the Latin poet Terence who said Nothing human is alien to medeclares the author in an interview about this novel It makes me wonder though, when she claims to be familiar with all forms of human emotion, if she ever came across happy people Because her characters are struggling in vain for peace and contenment They are, as described by Captain Pendleton, square pegs trying to fit into round holes, pushed to the fringes of acceptable behaviour by a moralistic society much too concerned with normalcyYou mean, Captain Penderton said, that any fulfilment obtained at the expense of normalcy is wrong, and should not be allowed to bring happiness In short, it is better, because it is morally honorable, for the square peg to keep scraping about the rounded hole rather than to discover and use the unorthodox square that would fit itAn army camp is a world in miniature, a diorama here for the study of human behaviour in isolated conditions the boring routine of military life needs to be compensated by emotional adventures, whose appeal relies on secrecy and the forbidden fruit than in actual passionate feelings Some people are better suited for this game than others predators who are only concerned for their well being, and prey who get their hearts broken like fine porcelain vases dropped casually from the common table view spoiler They found Mrs Langdon unconscious and she had cut off the tender 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will happen I was surprised at how the characters and what they did ended up making complete sense What was strange to me in the beginning made complete sense What this says to me is that if we don t understand people, it is simply because we lack adequate information For me this is a mystery because you want to figure out what has happened and why and how the people are as they are.It is through McCullers talented writing that you become curious The writing is sensual and tantalizing It is important to note that McCullers herself was bisexual and here she is writing about homosexuality She writes well of the pull, the physical attraction between people, and how you might act if how you feel is not acceptable The writing is not graphic She was ahead of her time, not that that influences my rating My rating is purely personal The audiobook I listened to is narrated by Christopher Kipiniak I understood him, but I disliked his dramatization I do not think his intonations fit the characters speaking I will give the narration two stars it is just OK I like the book It kept my attention Details and lines are thrown in that had me thinking Why did the author put in that Why did she express herself in that way What is she trying to have us think There is a conversation between two men, discussing whether if you are a square peg should you try to shove yourself into a round hole or should you look for a square hole The men disagree This says a lot about the two men. Reflections in a Golden Eye starts plainly enough, easing into the lives of a Captain, a Major, their wives and a strange, compulsive observer, a soldier portrayed part innocent child and part insidious interloper.The story plays out calmly but at times is like a feverish dream full of nervous, fearful, desiring creatures a mix of human and animal impressions adding to the overall surreal quality I am continually startled by the Carson McCullers work, and her intuitive handling of human frailty It is a disturbing talent Rating this one high because although it is told distantly, the characters are as memorable as those in the popular works The Ballad of the Sad Cafe The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.31 12 2012 this reading was very different from the first, I noticed how simple the prose is compared to Member of the Wedding, which has become my favourite McCullers novel Despite the prose being a lot less poetic and character driven than MOTW, it still earns its five stars Also just wanted to share this McCullers quote Does anyone know which short story she refers toThis fear is one of the horrors of an author s life Where does work come from What chance, what small episode will start the chain of creation I once wrote a story about a writer who could not write any, and my friend Tennessee Williams said, How could you dare write that story, it s the most frightening work I have ever read I was pretty well sunk while I was writing itCarson McCullers I love the way McCullers s work is overrun with the most vivid queens Some closeted, like Lieutenant Penderton here, but others gay and carefree, like Anacleto, Mrs Langdon s Filipino houseboy This is a story of sexual derangement, of what happens when the love impulse is forced underground, in an age when it dare not speak its name The novel is in its way almost unutterably sad It makes us glad that we live in comparatively happier times Despite the fact that McCullers has these moments of marginally questionable usage say, four or five instances where another word choice would have been better the book is a wonder And at 127 pages you can read it in one sitting The book holds us in thrall Highly recommended. A novella set in an army camp in the US south, presumably around 1940, when it was written, though it felt like the 50s or 60s It concerns six characters two officer couples, a servant and a conscript , each with an obsession with one of the others Unlike some of her books, race barely comes into it, but rank and sexuality do It s slow, painful, a little weird and beautiful As with all her writing, there are literal and metaphorical lyrical aspects to the writing reflecting her musical training. Upon finishing this, I checked McCullers biography online to see whether she committed suicide It turns out she didn t Instead, she tried and failed, and somehow that is even fitting.I don t know if I ve ever read anyone who has a both flatter and bleaker view of people Her writing ranges from the very good to the spectacular The people in her world are grotesques who would fit into other Southern Gothic writers books They would be right at home in Flannery O Connor or Faulker, for example And her power of observation and insight borders on the uncanny And yet, everything is so distant She writes about her subjects as if she were an entomologist and they were just so many beetles that she could skewer with pins and affix to the page.And then, in the midst of all this, there is one extraordinary scene of a near suicidal ride on a horse through a forest The energy, the life, the fear and exhilaration that she captures in this scene shows that all that distance is knowing and deliberate For some reason, she s holding something back, and the power she could deliver was extraordinary, if only that s what she had wanted to do so.This book is her account of the events leading up to a real murder on a pre World War 2 army base Compared with some other details most notably the desperate woman who tries to stab herself with garden shears but somehow manages to cut off both of her nipples instead the murder seems fairly ordinary and bland It s almost as if the ordinary veneer of daily life was so horrible that McCullers needed to maintain this rigid distance just to bear through it all.One of the mystical aphorisms at the end of Wittgenstein s Tractatus is that The world of the happy man is different from that of the unhappy man Reading McCullers makes me think this is true than I had imagined, and it makes me glad that I don t live in her world Apparently, she felt the same at least at times but was unable to get out of it so easily Very sad stuff. An impending sense of dread interlaces the lives of five characters set on an army base in the American South of the 1930s They are all prey of the remorse that goes along with secret liaisons, inner frustrations and repressed sexual preferences With the rigidness of the secluded military system and the inherent loneliness in hermetic marriages imposed by social convention as a backdrop, resentments and obsessions will fester in contained aggressiveness and will inevitably escalate towards a virulent eruption.Captain Penderton wrestles against his strong attraction to men in self loathing while his wife Leonora has an affair with Major Morris Langdon Officer Williams performs nocturnal voyeuristic rituals in a state of trance revealing his suppressed fascination for the female sex.Alison Langdon s mental state is fragile after a traumatic event and is repelled by her husband s dalliance with Leonora.Worthy of a Tennessee Williams play, these excessively temperamental, anomalous and aimless characters drawn in opaque languidness live locked within self imposed isolation and disguise their torments with overwrought refinement and menacing politeness The title of this novelette Reflections in a Golden Eye evokes the mismatched glances, the missed opportunities of crossed looks that never found each other It s in the eye where the seed of unresolved passions remains embedded, where a primal and inexplicable fixation for the other is fostered, where unconsummated lust clouds discernment in the threshold of desireA peacock of a sort of ghastly green With one immense golden eye And in it the reflections of something tiny and grotesque 86 The symphonic motifs played inThe Heart is a Lonely Hunterare revisited in this novella They might be accused of lacking in thematic magnitude if compared to McCullers opera prima but the dismal melody of her prose seeps in relentlessly, subjugating the reader, taking him to the pit of human desolation and leaving him alone with the discordant echoes of characters who live trapped within themselves and are incapable to communicate in a claustrophobic setting, which in turn gives shape to the ongoing metaphor that condemns the societal hierarchy of the American South of the thirties Yes, we have encountered this theme before but the masterful precision in design and the deliberate structure of the work at hand that leads to a dramatically distilled outcome offers a nuanced reading experience of a reflective order than McCullers famous masterpiece The result is this brutal short story, which is much than a Greek Tragedy played by misshapen creatures It is a mirror refracting the Sense of absolute Dread that plagues mankind s existence and dyes inexorable darkness with forged gold. Carson s biographer tells us that her family got an anonymous phone call just after this novel was published An alleged Ku Klux Klansman called to say that he and his friends were going to get her that night She had been a nigger lover in her first book, he said, and now she had proven herself a queer as well Carson s indignant father waited all night on the front porch of their Starke Avenue home to greet the Klansman with a loaded shotgun and was disappointed when no one attempted to carry out the threat.Here is the very house and the very porchThis novel is a novella 124 large font pages stuffed with lurid characters and incidents including one which some readers will find most upsetting a man shoves a live kitten into a mail box and it was written when Carson was 23.In fact she had a career quite similar to some notable musicians from the 1960s who did almost everything before the age of 30 and kind of coasted after that I m looking at you, Ray Davies, John Sebastian, Brian Wilson and others, you know who you are And like some of those guys, Carson did have legitimate reasons, because she was really ill a lot of the time So, this is a bonkers little tale of closeted gay men and horrible marriages, and I did like it but I kind of thought, as I do when I listen to the magnificent run of Kinks singles from You Really Got Me to Lola , what could this writer not have done if only, if only.