The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) is the debut novel by the American author Carson McCullers; she was 23 at the time of publication. It is about a deaf man named John Singer and the people he encounters in a 1930s mill town in the state of Georgia, US. When published it created a literary sensation, enjoying a meteoric rise to the top of the bestseller lists in 1940; it was the first in a string of works by Mccullers that give voice to those who are rejected, forgotten, mistreated or oppressed.
The Modern Library ranked the novel seventeenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included it in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. In 2004 the novel was selected for Oprah’s Book Club.
The majority of the narrative centers on the struggles of four of John Singer’s acquaintances: Mick Kelly, a tomboyish girl who loves music and dreams of buying a piano; Jake Blount, an alcoholic labor agitator; Biff Brannon, the observant owner of a diner; and Dr. Benedict Copeland, an idealistic black physician.