July 16, 2012

Talkin' Cormac McCarthy

Since my last post on Ernest Hemingway was so popular I would like to take this time to talk about another one of my favorite authors, Cormac McCarthy.

A few years back I watched the Oscar winning film 'No Country For Old Men'. I loved the movie and decided to read the book. By reading the No Country For Old Men book I've been on a Cormac McCarthy kick ever since.

The 2nd book I've read of McCarthy's was his masterpiece Blood Meridian. It's easy to see why Blood Meridian is not only considered McCarthy's greatest work, but one of the greatest books ever written. McCarthy's prose is brilliant, his painting of the setting is beautiful, and the characters (especially the judge) are griping.

After Blood Meridian I read Outer Dark, Child Of God, and Suttree. In all of these novels, even Suttree in some parts, the theme is violence. McCarthy doesn't use violence as a cheap trick to give the audience a reason to read his books. McCarthy uses violence to demonstrate that we live in a violent world.

Now it's important to remember all of McCarthy's books are set in two area's of the country where McCarthy has lived, Knoxville and near the Texas border. This is important because not only are the settings in these areas but the dialect McCarthy uses is spoken in these areas.

The violence and dialects and how McCarthy writes (he doesn't use quotation marks for dialogue) can make his novels hard to read. And while McCarthy is a brilliant writer I haven't liked all of his novels, especially the ones set around Knoxville, Tennessee. Child of God is very disturbing, Outer Dark is also disturbing and a little gross, and Suttree just drags on to me. These McCarthy books should be acknowledge for his perfection of the settings and dialects but they don't have to be liked or loved.

McCarthy's second half of his career his novels have been set near the Texas-Mexico border. You can tell McCarthy has refined his writing approach because while Blood Meridian and No Country Of Old Men are violent, they're not as disgustingly disturbing like Child Of God.

I'm about to start reading McCarthy's Pulitzer winning novel The Road. I haven't read McCarthy's border trilogy because I've heard the first book is great but the last two books aren't that great. I might try reading the first book in that trilogy to see if I like it and might then read the rest of the trilogy.

So while I have read and liked a few McCarthy books, there are definitely books he's written that I didn't enjoy. I still suggest reading a couple of his books just to read how brilliant McCarthy writes. You might or might not enjoy the violence that are in his books.

What McCarthy books have you read? Which of his books did you enjoy? And if you don't enjoy McCarthy, explain why?

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