One of the most amazing books I ever read was The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
. McCullers was southern, and I'm southern. I wonder how much a non-southern person can appreciate some of the nuances that I consider very specific to that part of the country. In the subtlest, most unconscious ways, I'm able to get her description of, I don't know, humidity
in a way that somebody who lives near the Great Lakes will never really know. It was published when McCullers was, what—23 years old? I was still taking hour-long naps when I was 23. How remarkable that she had all that talent at her disposal at that age.