Mrs. McCullers and perhaps Mr. Faulkner are the only writers since the death of D. H. Lawrence with an original poetic sensibility. I prefer Mrs. McCullers to Mr. Faulkner because she writes more clearly; I prefer her to D. H. Lawrence because she has no message.
- – Graham Greene
[Her work is] one of the few satisfying achievements of our second-rate culture.
- – Gore Vidal
Carson's major theme: the huge importance and nearly insoluble problems of human love.
- – Tennessee Williams
I believe it is the worst book I have ever read.
- – Flannery O'Connor on Clock Without Hands
Although McCullers's style is often described as "Southern Gothic", she produced her famous works after leaving the South. Her eccentric characters suffer from loneliness that is interpreted with deep empathy. In a discussion with the Irish critic and writer Terence de Vere White she said: "Writing, for me, is a search for God". Other critics have variously detected tragicomic or political elements in her writing.