Published in 1961, this is McCullers’ final novel. She died aged 50 in 1967, leaving an unfinished autobiography.
Clock without hands is a novel about death. It starts with Malone the chemist being told he is dying. Malone goes to visit his friend the Judge, a comic, corpulent Republican former senator in his eighties who drinks and pontificates on his own greatness, while fearing death and mourning his son, dead of suicide in his twenties. Most of the novel is concerned with the Judge, his grandson Jester and his amanuensis, Sherman the African-American with blue eyes.
This quote sums up the Judge and McCuller’s humour:
When the odour in the bathroom rose, he was not annoyed by this; on the contrary, since he was pleased by anything that belonged to him, and his faeces were no exception, the smell rather soothed him. So he sat there, relaxed and meditative, pleased with himself. (81)
McCullers is brilliant in being both humorous and profound. The Judge is a glorious character, so hilarious in his arrogance, in his grand scheme to revalidate Confederate currency (he has millions stored in the attic).
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