Hardcover. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1940. 1st Edition. Very Good.
First edition, later printing (lacking date on title page). Signed and inscribed by McCullers on the front endpaper: "For Arthur Katz / with best wishes / Carson McCullers". Publisher's coarse tan cloth, lettered in maroon. An about very good copy with some wear and light fraying to cloth at spine ends and corners, and toning to spine. Signed copies of the author's first and most well-known novel are very scarce. Published when she was only twenty-three years old, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is McCullers' debut novel and was an instant success. It tells the story of six outcasts in a small town in Georgia. The novel centers on John Singer, a deaf-mute who finds himself alone after his best friend, also a deaf-mute, is sent away to an insane asylum. Singer's presence becomes the focus of four different misfits, including a musically talented tomboy, a soft-spoken diner owner, an idealist African-American doctor, and a violent social reformer who struggles with alcoholism. Each of the characters is burdened by a sense of moral isolation and finds a confidant in Singer, whose silence proves comforting. At the time of its publication, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was revolutionary for its use of social outcasts as main characters and quickly became a best seller. Today, it remains an acclaimed modern novel and one of McCullers' most popular works.