The Member of the Wedding Clock Without Hands b…

The Member of the Wedding

Clock Without Hands

by Carson McCullers

“The writing was great, but if I wanted to hear a thirteen year old complain about life, I would read my old diary from middle school.”

In keeping with my theme of quoting my friends about the books I’ve just read the above is the only comment I had heard about “The Member of The Wedding” before I read it. This was stated by Miss Abigail on a mailing list earlier this year.

Abby always lets me stay at her house when I’m up that way on roadtrips. She even offers me a homecooked meal as well (“It might be Campbells soup but it’ll be heated up in a home.”) I can’t think of any of her other quotes at the moment since the only one that comes to her mind is her quoting me with, “So many cargo pants, so little cargo.”

But I digress.

I read “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” back when I was in college and I had put off reading the rest of McCullers works because I knew I would love them so and it gave me something to look forward to. However, now that I’ve completed all of her novels I definitely feel a bit empty, though I do plan to relive the love by rereading Lonely Hunter again. The novels were written in this order:

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter – 1940

Reflections In A Golden Eye – 1941

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe – 1943

The Member of The Wedding – 1946

Clock Without Hands – 1960

If you didn’t want to read the entire McCullers catalogue systematically, then I would recommend “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” as a *must read* and then “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe” with the emphasis that your life will be emptier if you weren’t to throw in a little “Reflections in a Golden Eye” too. The first two I absolutely loved (though The Ballad could be detrimental if left to the hands of anyone emo. I shudder to think of the repercussions of such an act. Hide all your copies now!) Of course, as soon as I typed that I started thinking of all the things I loved about “Reflections in a Golden Eye” and “The Member of the Wedding”. In fact, the only story which I have luke warm feelings about was her last effort and I still liked it.

In the back of the Library of America edition of her collected novels, there is a short chronology of her life and major events. I like these timelines so much more than actual biographies.

Eerie Notings:

Both Carson McCullers and Dorothy Parker married men who they split up with and then remarried later. Both of these men were in the Army, heavy drinkers, and ended up committing suicide before either of their wives died.

Both Carson McCullers and Dorothy Parker died in the same year – 1967

I found note where Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams (the next author whose works I wish to devour) were close and did a lecture series together. I also found notes of McCullers meeting with several other writers but no where have I read of McCullers and Parker coming into contact with each other. They were both popular writers of their time though I suppose McCullers was 24 years younger than Parker. It’s a shame both died ten years before I was even bore.

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