Behind the Bleak, Beautiful Stories of Cormac McCarthy | Smart News

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy attends premiere of film adaptation road in 2009
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Cormac McCarthy became famous in his later years.until his novel was published all beautiful horses In 1992, just before his 60th birthday, few people outside the literary world knew his name. But this comes after the author, who died on June 13 at the age of 89, is now recognized as one of the giants of American fiction.

“McCarthy is our greatest stylist, if not our greatest novelist,” as JT Babasa literary scholar at Rutgers University, told Wade Goodwin NPR.

A preeminent chronicler of humanity’s darkest period, McCarthy has won some of the highest awards in literature, including national book award 1992 and Pulitzer Prize In the 2007 novel. In honor of his passing, here is a brief look at some of his most influential work.

Blood menstruation (1985)

Published before McCarthy became famous, the novel was called West and Anti-Western; that is, readers seem unsure whether it glorifies or subverts the trope about the West. either way, Blood menstruation According to Jonathan Yardley, it earned the title of “the bloodiest novel ever written” in 1985 Washington post.

blood cover

Title page of the hardcover first edition Blood menstruation (1985)

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

This sprawling production follows a boy who escapes from his Tennessee home and joins a band of soldiers terrorizing the American Southwest. tough and lively, Blood menstruation Matches (or maybe exceeds) the unflinching brutalism of McCarthy’s other novels.

While some critics initially thought the violence in the book was gratuitous, over time the novel became one of McCarthy’s best.Literary giant Harold Bloom praised Blood menstruation, compare it the person I like Moby Dick and Faulkner.

“While Cormac McCarthy’s fifth novel is hard to read, it’s even harder to ignore. Every page of his work reveals his ingenuity, a passionate voice as equally ugly as it is lyrical, ” Caryn James for New York Times 1985. She added, “Blood menstruation Clearly, McCarthy has been asking us to witness evil, not to understand it, but to confirm its unexplainable reality. “

all beautiful horses (1992)

The National Book Award-winning novel showed McCarthy “at his most accessible and classic,” Washington postAnother Western, it follows a boy who faces eviction from his childhood Texas ranch and travels to Mexico with friends.

Compared with some of McCarthy’s other works, all beautiful horses Has a relatively simple plot and a lesser degree of was a commercial success and was his first bestselling novel More than 5,000 copies.

The novel is a meditation on the dying frontier of the American Southwest—a theme that runs through much of McCarthy’s work.

“While its subject matter and approach are superficially more accessible, the essence of his unusual vision remains,” wrote Second-rateMadison Smart Bell said after the novel was released.

All the Pretty Horses: Book 1 of the Borderlands Trilogy

All the Pretty Horses is the story of John Grady Cole, who at age 16 found himself at the end of a long line at a Texas rancher, cut off from the only life he ever imagined for himself . With two companions, he sets off for Mexico, embarking on an at times idyllic, at other times comedic journey to a place where dreams were paid for in blood.

Old Men (2005)

Old Men What started as a screenplay and ended up being a best picture winner 2008 OscarsMcCarthy just published it as fiction somewhere in the middle.

It follows the fallout from a drug deal gone wrong, particularly a cat-and-mouse game between two men over a bag of money, with the aging sheriff caught in the middle.

As Walter Kirn puts it in Second-rate In 2005, the book came from the tried-and-true crime-fiction tradition with “no intention of breaking new ground, only burning rubber on the hard old ground to squeeze it tighter”.

The Coen Brothers’ 2007 film adaptation is now widely available considered become Among The best movie of the 21st century.

No Country for Old Men (Vintage International)

A time of our own, when thieves give way to drug dealers and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, a good old boy named Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by dead bodyguards. A load of heroin and two million cash is still behind. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of disastrous violence that not even the law – on the aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell – can stop.

road (2006)

road It would be pure misery if it weren’t for its stunning, savage beauty,” Second-rateJanet Maslin in 2006.

This book is probably the one most closely associated with McCarthy’s name. His tale of a father and son roaming a post-apocalyptic America remains haunting for readers even though it offers an ending that was unusually hopeful for McCarthy.

road This isn’t McCarthy’s first novel to be made into a movie – adapted from all beautiful horses Starring Matt Damon and Penélope Cruz, it was released in 2000—but when road After its release in 2009, McCarthy’s popularity rose to a new level.

Among fans of the novel is Oprah Winfrey, whose enthusiasm prompted McCarthy to extremely rare interview in 2007. In it, she asks him, “Where did this apocalyptic dream come from?”

“Usually,” he replied, “you don’t know where a book comes from. It’s there—some kind of itch you can’t quite scratch.” But road, he explained, are different. The idea came to him during a trip to El Paso with his young son. As the boy slept soundly in the hotel, McCarthy looked out at the surrounding scenery.

“I just had what this town will look like in 50 or 100 years,” he said. “I just saw the fire on the mountain and everything was leveled, and I thought a lot about my little boy.”

Road (Vintage International)

A father and his son walk alone through a burnt America. Nothing moves in the ravaged land except ash in the wind. It’s cold and the rocks are cracked, and it’s snowing and gray. it’s dark. Their destination is the coast, though they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They had nothing; just the pistols to fend off the outlaws on the road, the clothes they wore, the truckloads of food they picked up — and each other.

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