Author: Allison Geller

image: pink silhouette of a human figure overlaid with a collage of subtle gray outlines of a suitcase, guitar stem, button down shirt, and shoes.

Love in a Sad Café: Carson McCullers’ Forever Dilemma

The Ballad of the Sad Café takes place in the Deep South where McCullers grew up, in the kind of sparse, dried-up town where I imagine some former, blighted America used to reside—a town linked to other towns only by swamps and roads worked by chain gangs and where, in McCullers’ words, “there is absolutely nothing to do.”

Both starting and ending with the image of a boarded-up house, the site of the “sad café,” the story fills the role of the Gothic spinster, moving about her rooms alone like a mournful ghost, with a decidedly un-feeble female. Miss Amelia, a “dark, tall woman with bones and muscles like a man,” is equal parts respected and feared in the town. Read More