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Clock Without Hands – Carson McCullers
Penguin, 1965, Vintage Paperback – Fiction – 208pp.
An “impeccable” novel about race relations and responsibility set in the civil-rights-era South, by the author of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (The Atlantic Monthly). Carson McCullers first major work of fiction some 15 years after the publication of ‘The Member of the Wedding’.
In a small Georgia town, pharmacist J. S. Malone, diagnosed with leukemia, is given a mere year to live—and a lifetime’s worth of regret over years and opportunities wasted. Meanwhile, Judge Clane, still reeling from the suicide of his son, looks for meaning in the past and judgment in the present. Clane’s grandson, Jester, seeks identity in the wake of his father’s selfish act. And all three of them find their stories inexorably bound together as Sherman Pew, a young black man with blue eyes, looking to uncover the truth about his parentage, moves into a white neighborhood, thus upsetting the fragile balance of the town.
“One of the few first-rate novelists of our time,” Carson McCullers deftly weaves a story of life and death, love and hate, progress and stagnation, a brilliant examination of the universal human experiences that at once bind us together and tear us apart (Kirkus Reviews).