Reflections in a Golden Eye - Carson McCullers,  Tennessee Williams Ebook, read online, via Open Library.I was reading an essay which led me to wikipedia, and then, well as soon as I found this online I thought I'd just read a little, and then a little more - and then 30 pages into it I figured I should just give in and admit I'm reading the book. Which is odd, because originally I'd set out to read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.The setting is an army base in peacetime Georgia (US). For a quick version - the wikipedia page. There's a love triangle, but there's also more than that with onlookers (who also love/hate), and a sort of hate triangle, or square, or...actually since there's too much love and hate going on I'll pass entirely on using emotional geometry.I haven't seen the movie, so I had no idea what to expect, besides that there would be portrayal of homosexuality in it, since this was cited as one of the early 20th century Lost Gay Novels. (Note that's a book link, another to add to the list!)It was a struggle to figure out how many stars to give this - because I didn't like any of the characters, nor do I want to read it again. But there was a lot going on in the plot (in an interesting, good kind of way), and the quality of the writing was very, very good. The writing itself gets 3 stars from me, if I'd been able to enjoy the people this would have been an easy 4. However this is the kind of story that makes for a rousing discussion in a literature or criticism class, and makes me wonder why I never had McCullers on any past reading lists. (Because I definitely remember studying Southern Gothic.)Random thoughts and quotes:This started out as - well, as what I thought was going to be the story of Private Ellgee Williams, but we've hopped into multiple other lives and perspectives.At this point I really wasn't expecting this, at all, p. 32 - actually, no, I can't bring myself to quote it, let's just say that Mrs. Langdon cuts pieces off of herself - her nipples. Ugh. I don't like gore (and actually the one sentence didn't supply it, that was my brain), but that act really just came out of nowhere, and was related in the same matter-of-fact way everything else has been. Wow, with that one sentence, suddenly this is a very different book than I thought I was reading a few seconds ago. (Yes, I am now awake and paying attention.) But the event is told as something that happened a few months ago, so it's not immediate - yet it's still shocking because nothing violent has happened plot-wise. There was another, earlier one sentence shocker that Williams had gotten away with 'a crime' - but just that much, no more detail. Unrelated, but regarding the maiming - later we find out that Mrs. Langdon had wanted to commit suicide rather than just maim herself....I'm afraid this is going to be one of those stories where I dislike all the characters, and yet I keep reading. Here's one of them, Major Langdon, a man who's just said (when asked) that he had no idea what was wrong with his wife, p 40:"...He was looking up at the stars and thinking that life sometimes was a bad business. He remembered suddenly the baby who had died. What bedlam all the way through! In her labor Alison had clung to Anacleto (for he, the Major, could not stand it) and she had screamed for thirty-three solid hours. ...Then when it was over, they found the baby's index and third fingers were grown together, and the Major's only thought was that if he had to touch that baby he would shudder all over."Anacleto is their houseboy. Who is closer to Alison than her husband, probably because he's been with her since age 17 (he seems more like her child), and - oh right, the husband is having an affair that the wife knows about. Because he's kind of obvious about it, yet pretends his wife doesn't know.The writing is good though, and there's an undercurrent of - well, I think it's horror? Or just the "something bad is coming" sort of foreshadowing. ...Just to point out again, why I'm hating on characters, p. 41, still the Major grumping about the baby:"...When the whole business was over he could feel nothing except relief. But not Alison! How bitter and cold it had left her! And how damned, damned finicky. Yes, life could be sad."Nice guy, huh? Plus he hates Anacleto and never tries to hide it. Anacleto is Filipino, takes great joy in speaking French that the Major doesn't know, loves clothes and ballet, and is of course a foil to the hyper-masculine Major.And since I'm getting in a nice stew of irritation with him, this is how the man "reads," p. 48:"...On the Major's beside table there was an open book - a very recondite and literary book. The place was marked with a matchstick. The Major turned over forty pages or so, a reasonable evening's reading, then marked the new place with the match again. Then from under a pile of shirts in his bureau drawer he took a pulp magazine called Scientification. He settled himself comfortably in the bed and began reading of a wild, interplanetary superwar."Who is he pretending to read the other book for?! Or the real question could be - who is he fooling? Meanwhile his wife, in her bedroom, is thinking of divorcing him, and is in physical pain, as she has been all evening....The author likes to drop little one sentence offerings of the past into the present; this example, Captain Penderton, p. 53"...When he was a child of seven he had become so infatuated with the school-yard bully who had once beaten him that he stole from his aunt's dressing-table an old-fashioned hair receiver as a love offering."There are multiple men in this book who are either knowingly in love with other men, or unconsciously in love with them. Penderton's in love with the Major. The Major is having an affair with Penderton's wife....Now we are back to Private Williams, who likes to ride off into the forest to a secluded place and take off all his clothes and then ride the horse naked. I'm pretty sure that isn't a euphemism. But that was an earlier happiness - William's latest happiness is breaking into Penderton's house, going to Mrs. Penderton's room and watching her sleep. And she's naked at the time. And then at dawn Williams leaves....Things from 1940s novels that I don't miss in today's lit, p. 66, Mrs. Penderton:"Why, my God, Alison! My party! I've been working like a nigger for the past three days getting everything ready. I don't give a party like this but twice a year."Said by a woman with at least one servant, so we know she's not really been working herself to death.I will grudgingly admit that her descriptions of the food she's going to serve makes me hungry. Then again, all you have to do is say "Virginia ham" and I'm there, because damn, that stuff is indeed tasty....One of the weirder things in the book is that Leonora Penderton is "simple minded." And the book goes one step further and tells us she is stupid. Apparently this means she has problems writing, counting, and in social situations - but otherwise I'm not entirely sure what's going on with that....Nope, I don't care that Captain Penderton "had never known real love" as a child, I still don't like the man....Captain Penderton has an incident with his wife's horse (which is entirely his own fault), and after getting off of it faints, then wakes up and sees Private Williams standing against a tree, naked. Williams takes the horse away, and the injured and angry Penderton is left to make his own way home.....ANGST! Pages 86-87 didn't scan thoroughly! Dammit....p 100 and we finally find out what crime Williams committed. He "stabbed a negro to death." In "an argument over a wheelbarrow."...Captain Penderton stalks Williams. And isn't exactly sure why....Alison, the Major's wife, dies, and Anacleto disappears. And oddly (or not so oddly? I'm not sure?) the Major seems to miss him more than her. The Major says that he never hated Anacleto and that he honestly felt Anacleto should have joined the army because it "might have made a man of him." Because Anacleto was at 23 years old "dancing around to music and messing with water-colors" (painting) and this of course isn't manly. (I'm being sarcastic there.)Penderton to the Major, about the idea of putting Anacleto in the service, when it obviously wouldn't suit him, p. 125'You mean,' Captain Penderton said 'that any fulfillment obtained at the expense of normalcy is wrong, and should not be allowed to bring happiness. In short, it is better, because it is morally honorable, for the square peg to keep scraping about the round hole rather than discover and use the unorthodox square that would fit it?'And interestingly, Penderton does not agree with the Major about this. Because he looks at this and suddenly sees himself in it....p 139: "...Actually, in a moment when a great but unknown shock is expected, the mind instinctively prepares itself by abandoning momentarily the faculty of surprise. In that vulnerable instant a kalidoscope of half-guessed possibilities project themselves, and when the disaster has defined itself there is the feeling of having understood beforehand in some supernatural way."And at this point to tell the shock would be completely wrong of me.[Someone will let me know if it's too cruel to leave this hanging like that and I'll whip up a spoiler blurb for this. Otherwise I'll just let you find the book on Open Library - it's a quick read.]