Commandé en même temps que "the heart is a lonely hunter"et même appréciation: envoi très rapide et livre très bien protégé
Ce livre en anglais comprend plusieurs très bonnes nouvelles dont la 1ère , cette ballade du café triste, est un chef d'œuvre; Carson avait alors 34 ans, toute jeune femme donc. On y retrouve ses célèbres phrases sur "aimer ou être aimé" Je le conseille sans réserves
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In the Company of Greatness6 mars 2004
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This is a limpid, beautiful story, wonderfully told. The whole setting exemplifies Southern Gothic from the word go: "The town itself is dreary; not much is there except the cotton-mill, the two-room houses where the workers live, a few peach trees, a church with two coloured windows, and a miserable main street only a hundred yards long." I was hooked by the beginning, evoking dilapidation, isolation, heat, distress and latent fear/weirdness. Much has been written on McCullough's "lover and beloved" theme, well explored here. The characters are an unforgettable collection of weirdos, still, somehow, typically American; the descriptions are poetic. In general the writing rings true, is economic yet lyrical - nothing is wasted. Great as "The Great Gatsby", in its way. Much better than "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter". It lives up to its title, truly a "ballad" - a songlike story. And the ballad of the mixed-race chain gang that ends it ties the story to the South. I was sorry to finish it! Utterly compelling.
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Unrequited Love, McCullers' Theme of Life16 août 2005
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In The Ballad of the Sad Café, McCullers displays her most vivid example of unrequited love with the triangle created by the story's three main characters. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a ballad as "a narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a recurrent refrain." Miss Amelia's love for Cousin Lymon, Cousin Lymon's love for Marvin Macy, and Marvin Macy's love for Miss Amelia can be seen as this refrain. It is with this love triangle that McCullers delineates her brilliant observation of the relationship between the lover and the beloved. She describes love "as a joint experience between two persons," but explains that the experience is often very different for those involved. The lover has a store of love that needs to be projected; the object of this love is incidental. It is the love itself that must be spent, and "the value and quantity of any love is determined solely by the lover himself."
She writes: "It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare the beloved."
The lover is the Enthusiastic Taker, while the beloved is expected to be the Reluctant Giver. The three characters in the story are doubly tragic, because they inhabit, at one time or another, both roles. Miss Amelia is the most sympathetic "point" of the triangle. Because her harsh treatment of Marvin Macy is in the past, she is unable to undo it. Her role as beloved came about without the lesson she learns as the lover of Cousin Lymon. Following this logic, it would seem that Marvin Macy, then, is the least sympathetic "point." One considers his spiteful treatment of Cousin Lymon abhorrent, especially since he was treated the same way by Miss Amelia. But the reason he is not the least sympathetic is because he can be somewhat forgiven for forgetting his experience as the lover, considering the gap in time and his stay in the penitentiary. What one is left with, then, is Cousin Lymon, who becomes the least sympathetic of them all. His experiences as lover and beloved are happening concurrently. His behavior is not redeemable; one gets the feeling that he should know better. The symmetry McCullers displays with this triangle creates a memorable and educational structure, indeed.
So, the question begs to be asked: Can anything be done, in McCullers' view, to attain mutual love, or are we perpetual slaves to immutable biology and the fundamentals of human relationships? McCullers gives one hope with her short story "A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud." In this story a man in a bar stops a young boy by telling him he loves him. He then proceeds to explain that "`With me [love] is a science.'" He believes that the reason love fails is because men "`start at the wrong end of love.'" Without guidance of any kind, men "undertake the most dangerous and sacred experience in God's earth. They fall in love with a woman.'" He states that men should learn to love step-by-step, by first learning to love these objects of nature, before moving on to the treacherous endeavor of loving a woman. Love should be practiced, reflected upon, spread around. The lover must learn how to love one step at a time; and then, perhaps, it becomes possible to attain beneficial love that feeds the soul rather than love that eats it away. This is the last hope, it seems, for McCullers in her search for mutual love. One gets the impression of a cautious optimist, protecting herself diligently from the pains of unrequited love, but nonetheless unwilling - or perhaps incapable - of giving up the endeavor altogether.
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Masterful storyteller of the human condition8 décembre 1998
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McCullers' captures the essence and delicacies of love in "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe." Three highly unusual lovers attempt to understand their feelings and desires. Each lover becomes a beloved and nothing seems to work positively. But look more closely: The real lover is the unidentified narrator, who painfully (as experienced by a lover) tells the story. The other stories included in the book magnify and enhance McCullers' universal concept of love and the loneliness and isolation of every lover. This is truly a book to read and enjoy. Then, think about it!
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Ill-fated love6 septembre 2002
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Carson Mccullers was a writer who had a confused, dramatic personal life, from a psychological as well as physical perspective. The feelings of alienation and suffering were prevalent in her life and had a direct influence on her writing. "The Ballad of the Sad Café" is a direct reflection of her personal suffering. The story could be categorized as simple and to a certain extent grotesque, centred around three main characters: Amelia Evans, her cousing Lymon, and ill-natured Marvin Macy, all of them eccentric individuals. The setting is a small town alienated in time and space. McCullers writings should be interpreted in an allegorical way. In this particular story she deals with her pessimistic outlook on the nature of love, which according to her is bound to bring tragedy (as much as her own love life was involved in failure). The story abounds on symbolisms and metaphors. Many of her stories are set in the American South and she addresses, in a beautiful allegorical way, the reality of racial bias (in the case of "The Ballad of the Sad Café" she uses the song of the chain-gang men). Despite this expressionistic stage, the reader cannot help feeling empathy for the characters and their drama, which is exactly what McCulleres is willing to achieve through her writings. Highly criticized as well as praised by her contemporaries, McCullers has been somehow forgotten. Many certainly have watched the film "The Heart is a lonely Hunter" but few remember her as the creator of such a beautiful and touching story.
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A Meditaiton on Unrequited Love27 novembre 2010
P. J. Owen
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The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories collects Carson McCullers's classic novella with the unfortunately small number of short stories that she wrote in her short life.
The novella is set in a small Georgia town and McCullers sets the tone of the place right away, with her first words: "The town itself is dreary;..." We are introduced to Miss Amelia, a hard-nosed and solitary woman who owns a general store. Miss Amelia was married once, long ago, to a man named Marvin Macy. Marvin was town's trouble-maker, but his love for Miss Amelia transformed him. He turned into a kind and gentle soul with her. But the marriage only lasted ten days, after which she ran him off. He then reverted to his old ways, running around the state robbing and stealing, until he ends up in the penitentiary.
In the present day, a hunchback named Lyman walks into town and tells Miss Amelia that he's her cousin. To the surprise of the town's residents, she takes in Cousin Lyman. Soon, the town begins to see changes in her. Like her ex-husband under the influence of love, she too becomes a kinder and gentler person. She turns her store into a café where the townspeople can meet. A sense of pride develops in the small town. But then one day a bitter Marvin Macy returns to town for his revenge.
This meditation on love is wonderful, McCullers's writing clear and poetic. I love how she often pauses to muse on a theme to better ground her story in them. She writes openly and beautifully of love, ("Often the beloved is only stimulus for all the stored-up love which has lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto....The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him pain.") the value of human life, ("What is it (life) worth? If you look around, at times the value may seem to be little or nothing at all. Often after you have sweated and tried and things are not better for you, there comes a feeling deep down in the soul that you are not worth much.") and the isolation of living alone. (Once you have lived with another, it is great torture to have to live alone. The silence of a fire lit room when suddenly the clock stops ticking, the nervous shadows in an empty house--it is better to take in your mortal enemy than face the terror of living alone.) McCullers has a deep understanding of life, and it seems sometimes as if she wrote solely to share her revelations of pain and isolation.
The novella is a gem on its own, but this collection also contains six short stories. Two of the first three ("Wunderkind" and "Madame Zelinsky and the King of Finland") use music as a motif, which is another trait of McCullers that I love. (She was a promising pianist and was even enrolled in Julliard, though she never attended. Her classic novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was structured after the form of a fugue.) My favorites were "The Sojourner" and "A Domestic Dilemma". In the first, a single man approaching forty realizes how empty his life is when he visits his ex-wife and meets her new husband and child. Again, McCullers writes beautifully and with deep intelligence: "His own life seemed so solitary, a fragile column supporting nothing amidst the wreckage of years." In the second, a man comes home from a hard day's work to find his alcoholic wife drunk and their two children uncared for. His anger builds as he feeds and bathes and puts his children to bed while his wife is passed out drunk. Yet as he lies down next to her to go to sleep, his mood changes. As he watches her sleep peacefully, he remembers his love for her: "His hand sought the adjacent flesh and sorrow paralleled desire in the immense complexity of love."
This is a short collection--just over 150 pages--but it is filled with so much. This is a must buy for anyone who loves literature, especially the kind that reaches for the deepest understanding of human emotions.