Robert's back from his travels! He joined us for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at Sissy's Southern Kitchen. Sissy's is pricey, but the food is spectacular. We had fried green tomatoes to start, and Megan and I shared their tasty fried chicken bucket with mashed potatoes and squash. The decor is charming--if you consider buck heads interspersed with ornate saucers charming. All in all, we couldn't have met in a more fitting place for the book.
The novel is more character than narrative driven, and each of the characters is coping with isolation and secrets. Though Mr. Singer becomes a sort of friend to each as they unburden themselves before him, none of the characters ever is able to make a significant, human connection with another in the disjointed group. Even their friendships with Mr. Singer are one-sided, and all of them fail to understand the acute loneliness and longing of their dearest friend.
Overall, the book was a fast-paced read, but, at least for me, something was lacking in its style. The novel's author is often touted as a genius for composing her work at the age of 23, but her images fall far short of Faulkner's, and, in the end, her story lacks something of the apocalyptic darkness and intensity of other writers in the Southern Gothic mode.