Monday, March 19, 2012

Cormac McCarthy - a biased view

When once asked to explain why Cormac McCarthy was my favourite author, I uttered two words: 'The Road'. This forlorn candle of hope in a post apocalyptic world was my first experience of McCarthy's work, a random purchase at my favourite bookshop.

That evening, in bed, I thought to read a few pages...and finished the book some time after midnight. The following day I read it again, just to make sure I hadn't dreamt the whole thing.

So began my ongoing relationship/obsession. Returning to my bookshop, I raided the shelves, purchasing 'All The Pretty Horses', 'No Country For Old Men' and 'Blood Meridian'. After that, I had to start ordering in McCarthy's remaining titles. My bedside table towered. I wouldn't read anything else.

Then the movies started appearing: 'No Country For Old Men' and 'The Road carried the weight of a McCarthy groupie's expectations well. Now there's word that 'Blood Meridian' is also to be immortalised on the big screen.
'Blood Meridian' is brutal. I'm intrigued to see how they handle all the violence, which is intrinsic to the central story.
My friend Mat and I still argue over whether the main character, a young man, is finally dealt to by his God-like and twisted older companion. He is, but Mat still blindly clings to the ideal that evil (or, in this case, a greater evil) doesn't win.

Most of McCarthy's characters are either twisted, or become that way due to the circumstances they find themselves in. And, nearly always, a harsh and endless landscape is backdrop to their turmoil.

I haven't really justified my reasons for liking McCarthy so much. The muted internal dialogue of his characters, set against a nicely overplayed external environment lights my fire - that's about it I guess. Maybe, it's tied up somewhere with my father making me watch too many 'yippees' (cowboy movies) when I was young.

My favourite McCarthy novels:
1. The Road
2. All The Pretty Horses
3. Cities Of The Plain
4. Blood Meridian
5. No Country For Old Men
6. The Sunset Limited (novel in dramatic form)

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