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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

Heard mixed responses about Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding, but the negative views suggested it was too slow, introspective and the key character wasn't engaging.  So I approached it with some anxiety, especially as I was a fan of McCullers' superbly titled The Ballad of the Sad Cafe when I read it at uni many years ago (although I can't remember much about it). 

Anyway, I have to say not only did I enjoy every page (despite it being inward-looking in many respects), but her use of language is so rich I was hanging on every sentence  - it's stunning.  Although it's a little pointless to take phrases out of context, without the rhythm of preceding lines, voices, insights, there are startlingly visual sentences like:
"At last the summer was like a green sick dream, or like a silent crazy jungle under glass" and "the minutes of the afternoon were like bright mirrors."
Not only that, but I did engage with Frankie, the central character, and couldn't help but get caught up in the flow of words and ideas so that the pages turned very well indeed.   So much so, that I've dug out my copy of The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (dusty and page-darkened) and placed it on my pile of books waiting to be read.

     

4 comments:

Tallulah said...

You, as well as other readers, might want to know about the Carson McCullers Conference coming up in mid-February, in her hometown of Columbus, Georgia. Read about the conference, as well as the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, at http://www.mccullerscenter.org
-- Cathy Fussell, Director, Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, Columbus, GA

Paul said...

@Tallulah: many thanks for visiting and leaving this information and link. It is indeed of interest and I'll flag it in a post of its own in a couple of days in order to spread the word.

All the very best,
Paul

Gary said...

I loved The Ballard of the Sad Cafe, Paul. I think I might give this one a go

Paul said...

Cheers, Gary. I'll be interested to hear your response. I'm a bit of a sucker for American fiction, I must admit - just love the quality of writing in so many of the "modern classics".