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Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

Old 06-15-13, 08:21 PM
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Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

Is there a good starting point w/ him or must read novel? I must say though that I have read THE ROAD, and know the story of NO COUNTRY and ALL THE PRETTY HORSES.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Old 06-15-13, 08:39 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

Out of the 4 McCarthy books I've read, (The Orchard Keeper, Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men, and The Road), Blood Meridian was my favorite. If you liked The Road, you'll probably enjoy it as well.
Old 06-15-13, 11:47 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

Thanks...I was looking at that one. BTW, if I choose to read a novel in his trilogy, does it matter if its out of order?
Old 06-20-13, 07:24 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

I'd suggest starting with No Country...you know the story, but the film never quite captures McCarthy's prose (and the character of Chigurh is more nuanced and believable).

All the Pretty Horses is gorgeously written and is far superior to the film.

I tackled (and fell in love with) McCarthy in this order:

The Road
No Country
Pretty Horses
Blood Meridian (one of the most challenging and beautifully written books I've ever read)

The Crossing is on my summer reading list.
Old 06-23-13, 07:29 AM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

I read Suttree for an American fiction class in college and hated it so much that I wouldn't touch McCarthy for a decade. I haven't revisited it since, so I can't say if I'd still hold the opinion, but at the time it struck me as extremely pretentious prose written by someone who checked his thesaurus for the most obscure option at every turn.

I waded back in for The Road, and loved it. Followed it up with Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing and No Country for Old Men and enjoyed them all to varying degrees. I'd say if one starts with The Road, it's probably easiest to follow it up with Blood Meridian or No Country for Old Men.
Old 06-24-13, 04:14 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

All The Pretty Horses was my first, and a good starting point. But Blood Meridian is probably his best, but also most intense if you're new to him.
Old 07-10-13, 08:44 AM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

reading Blood Meridian and its my first cormac mccarty book and its a hard read. I have found its been difficult to get into his style of writing.
Old 07-10-13, 09:21 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

The Road was my first and it's among my favorite post-apocalyptic works, which is one of my favorite genres. He is very difficult to read however. It's like he believes quotation marks belong in the kitchen and not in his pages.
Old 07-11-13, 08:06 AM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

North Country for Old Men is definitely the place to start for beginners to him. It's probably his most accessible work (except for the
Spoiler:
non-existent climax
) moreso than All the Pretty Horses. Next would be The Road.

Blood Meridian should definitely not be a starting point.
Old 07-14-13, 02:08 AM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

I think you already started with the best starting point in The Road. Blood Meridian is my favorite of his work, and it is challenging, but also very rewarding.
Old 07-23-13, 05:15 AM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

After reading this, I'm going to pick up a copy of Blood Meridian. I've read All the Pretty Horses and The Road - both of which are very good novels. Of the two, I prefer Pretty Horses (though his post-apocalyptic world made me cry several times). There is imagery and descriptions from both novels that has stayed with me for years.
Old 08-12-13, 09:41 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

I've only read the Road and I blasted through it because it was so amazing. I'll have to check out some of the other books mentioned here though because I really did enjoy the work of this author.

PS, I sort of liked the no quotation mark thing.
Old 09-09-13, 10:43 AM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

All the Pretty Horses. Or Outer Dark!
Old 06-13-23, 03:26 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

RIP
Cormac McCarthy Dead: 'No Country for Old Men' Author Was 89 - Variety

[b]Cormac McCarthy, Author of ‘No Country for Old Men,’ Dies at 89[/b[Cormac McCarthy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who endured decades of obscurity and poverty before film versions of “All the Pretty Horses,” “No Country for Old Men” and “The Road” brought him a wide readership and financial security, died Tuesday in Santa Fe, N.M. His publisher, Penguin Random House, said his son John McCarthy announced his death from natural causes. He was 89.

Extremely reclusive, McCarthy shunned publicity so effectively that one critic observed, “He wasn’t even famous for it.” But Joel and Ethan Coen’s 2008 adaptation of 2005 novel “No Country for Old Men” put him momentarily in the limelight; the crime thriller, which starred Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin, won Oscars for best picture, director, adapted screenplay and supporting actor.



While McCarthy’s first novel, “The Orchard Keeper,” was published in 1965, commercial success eluded him until his 1992 National Book Award-winning “All the Pretty Horses” and the film version in 2000 began to turn his career around.

Set in west Texas between 1949-1951, “Pretty Horses” was the first in McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, followed by “The Crossing” in 1994 and “Cities of the Plain” in 1998. But the film, directed by Billy Bob Thornton and starring Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz and Henry Thomas, opened to mostly negative reviews.

Peter Biskind reports in his book “Down and Dirty Business” that Thornton had been forced to cut an hour from the film by producer-distributor Harvey Weinstein, though critics questioned whether the additional footage would have improved the movie’s “arty imagery and leaden pace.”



In 2009 John Hillcoat directed a powerful film version of McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel “The Road.” A post-apocalyptic father-son story, the film starred Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall. Critical reception was largely favorable, but the bleak movie opened to modest returns at the box office.

In 2013 director Ridley Scott turned out crime drama “The Counselor” based on an original script by McCarthy. Critics were divided on the film, about the disastrously violent results of a drug deal gone bad. The movie sported A-list actors such as Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz but for many viewers McCarthy’s excessive philosophical verbiage undermined what was essentially a simple genre exercise.

The same year saw James Franco direct and co-script what Variety called an “extremely faithful” and “suitably raw” adaptation of McCarthy’s chilling 1973 novel “Child of God” that, like the book, was awash in the violence and degradation of its central character, courageously played by Scott Haze.



A bigscreen adaptation of McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian,” the novel considered by many to be his masterpiece, was long in development. In April, it was announced that Hillcoat would return to direct the adaptation with McCarthy’s son John as executive producer.

McCarthy’s work for television includes 1977’s “The Gardener’s Son,” a two-hour episode of the PBS anthology series “Visions.” Directed by Richard Pearce, it starred Penelope Allen, Ned Beatty and Kevin Conway. The author adapted his own 2006 play for the 2011 HBO telepic “The Sunset Limited.” Before filming commenced, McCarthy spent weeks in rehearsal with director Tommy Lee Jones, who starred with Samuel L. Jackson. Critics found the adaptation alternately claustrophobic — it takes place in one room — gritty and light on plot.

McCarthy also penned the five-act play “The Stonemason,” first performed in 1995.

In 2022, he published two novels, “The Passenger” and “Stella Maris.”

Born Charles McCarthy in Providence, R.I., McCarthy was 4 when his family moved to Knoxville, Tenn. He acted in high school, later drifting in and out of the U. of Tennessee as a liberal arts major without taking a degree. While stationed in Alaska with the Air Force in the 1950s, he hosted a radio show.

McCarthy was married three times. He has two sons: Cullen McCarthy, born in 1962 to his first wife Lee Holleman, and John Francis McCarthy, born in 1999 to third wife, Jennifer Winkley. He divorced his second wife, Annie DeLisle, in 1981.
Old 06-13-23, 03:31 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

I absolutely loved The Road. I need to branch out and read some of his other books. RIP Cormac McCarthy
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Old 06-13-23, 04:36 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

I've read seven McCarthy novels, and The Road was the only one I didn't like.

He left us a good collection of work. He was 'discovered' before he died. I'd call that a successful life.
Old 06-13-23, 05:27 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

the Road is my favorite book . RIP Mr. McCarthy.
Old 06-13-23, 06:45 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

I loved The Road. Iím struggling to get through Blood Meridian right now. Iíve started and stopped several times to read other things.
Old 06-13-23, 07:21 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

Sad to hear. I loved The Road, I'll give Blood Meridian a shot, I've heard great things about it. RIP.
Old 06-15-23, 04:52 AM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

It’s rare to encounter such a beautifully-written obituary, but here’s one by Dwight Garner in today’s New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/13/b...rthy-dead.html

Some choice quotes from the obit:


“There’s no such thing as life without bloodshed,” he told The New York Times magazine in 1992 in a rare interview. “I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea.”

His characters were outsiders, like him. He lived quietly and determinately outside the literary mainstream. While not quite as reclusive as Thomas Pynchon, Mr. McCarthy gave no readings and no blurbs for the jackets of other writers’ books. He never committed journalism or taught writing. He granted only a handful of interviews.

Writing in The New Yorker in 2005, James Wood praised Mr. McCarthy as “a colossally gifted writer” and “one of the great hams of American prose, who delights in producing a histrionic rhetoric that brilliantly ventriloquizes the King James Bible, Shakespearean and Jacobean tragedy, Melville, Conrad, and Faulkner.”

But Mr. Wood accused Mr. McCarthy of writing sentences that sometimes veered “close to nonsense,” of “appearing to relish the violence he so lavishly records,” and of being hostile to intellectual consciousness.

The language and tone of Mr. McCarthy’s novels changed markedly over the decades. Among academics and Mr. McCarthy’s legion of obsessive readers, the essential question about his oeuvre has long been: What’s better, early McCarthy or late?

Mr. McCarthy wrote for many years in relative obscurity and privation. After his first marriage, to a fellow University of Tennessee student named Lee Holleman, ended in divorce, he married Anne DeLisle, an English pop singer, in 1966. The couple lived for nearly eight years in a dairy barn outside Knoxville.

“We lived in total poverty,” Ms. DeLisle once said. “We were bathing in the lake.” She added: “Someone would call up and offer him $2,000 to come speak at a university about his books. And he would tell them that everything he had to say was there on the page. So we would eat beans for another week.”

In the same interview, Mr. McCarthy said he had never voted: “Poets shouldn’t vote.”

In 2007, Mr. McCarthy took part in one of the most unlikely cultural collisions of the new century when he agreed to be interviewed on daytime television by Oprah Winfrey. She had chosen “The Road” for her book club.

He seemed uncomfortable in the spotlight. “I don’t think it’s good for your head,” he told Ms. Winfrey about being interviewed. “You spend a lot of time thinking about how to write a book, you probably shouldn’t be talking about it. You probably should be doing it.”

Old 06-15-23, 10:10 PM
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re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

My favorite American-born writer

RIP
Old 06-17-23, 11:02 AM
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Re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ
I loved The Road. Iím struggling to get through Blood Meridian right now. Iíve started and stopped several times to read other things.
I thought Blood Meridian grabbed me and pulled me along. After reading it, The Road seemed kind of flavorless. But if you find Blood Meridian a struggle, I suggest you put it back on the shelf for a few years. It doesn't get any easier as you get deeper into the book, whether you're talking about the extreme violence, the lectures on philosophy, or the peculiar grammar.
Old 06-18-23, 08:49 PM
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Re: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) - Books and News

Originally Posted by Nick Danger
I thought Blood Meridian grabbed me and pulled me along. After reading it, The Road seemed kind of flavorless. But if you find Blood Meridian a struggle, I suggest you put it back on the shelf for a few years. It doesn't get any easier as you get deeper into the book, whether you're talking about the extreme violence, the lectures on philosophy, or the peculiar grammar.
Itís more that. McCarthyís writing style for BM isnít grabbing me. Iíve had to go back and re-read whole pages because something happens (usually abrupt violence) and I have to go back to see what I missed because it happens so fast. One second theyíre riding horses, the next second theyíre slicing a manís face up in a bar room brawl.

I donít recall having the same problem with The Road.

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