Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Read: "Reflections in a Golden Eye" by Carson McCullers

Read: Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers, 1941 (2000 paperback), 0618084754.

The movie version of this was mentioned in the comments for the Abbott-Gran blog post about Elizabeth Taylor. I'm not sure what drew me to reserve the novel, but the blog comment mentioned 1940s "pervs" and I'll bet that was it.

Southern Gothic set on an Army base in the South. There is a Captain and his wife, a Major and his wife, a Private. The Captain's wife is slightly retarded and carrying on an affair with the neighboring Major. The Major's wife is in very poor mental and physical health. The Captain is a closeted gay. This is not explicitly made clear. The Private is a weirdo who rarely talks. The Major is a bit of a self-involved doofus.

Captain has mixed love-hate feelings for the Private. His sexual urges seem so sublimated he tamps down what he really feels. The Private falls for the wife and stalks her. He enters the house and night and squats next to her bed to stare at her.

Captain knows about his wife and the Major having sex. He does not really care except for feeling that he should care. Major's wife also knows about the affair but unwilling to leave since she is mostly bedridden and without job skills. Things progress. People drink a lot. Late nights. Lots of hidden sexuality. Introspective looks at characters. Violent death at the end. "Passions and jealousies."

1. This was the second book in a row I have read that had nipples cut off.
2. This might be the only Southern Gothic I have read except for that Tomorrow River novel.
3. This was short at 127 pages.
4. This edition had an afterword by Tennessee Williams. I tried reading the afterword but decided I did not give a flying fuck.

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