Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cormac McCarthy

One of my favorite authors, Cormac McCarthy was born today July 20, 1933 in Providence Rhode Island.
Everyone raves about his Border Trilogy, All The Pretty Horses, The Crossing and Cities of The Plain, and rightfully so they are all great books, you should try to read them if you get the chance. But my all time favorite is Blood Meridian. Based in part on Samuel Chamberlain's My Confession it recounts, in prose unlike anything since Faulkner, the exploits of the Glanton party who waged war against the Apaches on behalf of Mexico in the mid 1800s. Be warned if violence upsets you, this book is not for you. When they teach this book in college literature classes many students withdraw because they can't stand the violent imagery. But it's not just blood and gore for b&g sake. Blood Meridian is a western, but forget looking for the stand up American cowboy. There is no chivalry, no honor, no truth to be found. Violence here is not to be understood, nor does mean anything, it just is. God is unknowable and hard to find, the devil sits at the campfire and holds court on science and the arts. If that's not an apt depiction of mankind, I don't know what is.
If all this sounds incoherent, it because it probably is. I'll be the first to admit that despite reading Blood Meridian several times I'm not exactly sure what the hell it all means. But unlike Finnegan's Wake, at least it's enjoyable to read.

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