Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Cormac McCarthy and the Southwest

Cormac McCarthy (born Charles McCarthy; July 20, 1933) is an American novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and screenwriter. He has written three short-stories, two plays, two screenplays, and ten novels, spanning the Southern GothicWestern, and post-apocalyptic genres. He is well known for his graphic depictions of violence and his unique writing style, recognizable by its lack of punctuation and attribution. He is regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers.
McCarthy was born in Providence, Rhode Island, although he was mostly raised in Tennessee. In 1951, he began attending the University of Tennessee, but dropped out to join the Air Force. His debut novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. Awarded literary grants, McCarthy was able to travel to Southern Europe, where he wrote his second novel, Outer Dark (1968). Suttree (1979), like his other early novels, received generally positive reviews, but was not a commercial success. A MacArthur genius grant enabled him to travel to the American Southwest, where he researched and wrote his fifth novel, Blood Meridian (1985). Although it garnered lukewarm critical and commercial reception, it is now regarded as his magnum opus, with some even labelling it the Great American novel.
McCarthy first experienced widespread success with All the Pretty Horses (1992), for which he received both the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. It was followed by The Crossing (1994) and Cities of the Plain (1998), completing the Border Trilogy. His 2005 novel No Country for Old Men received mixed reviews. His 2006 novel The Road won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Many of McCarthy's works have been adapted into film. No Country for Old Men was adapted into a 2007 film, which won four Academy Awards, including Best PictureAll the Pretty HorsesThe Road, and Child of God have also been adapted into films, while Outer Dark (1968) was turned into a 15-minute short.
McCarthy currently works with the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), a multidisciplinary research center. At the SFI, he published the essay The Kekulé Problem (2017), which explores the human subconscious and the origin of language. His next novel, The Passenger, was announced in 2015 but is yet to be released.

Clip from No Country For Old Men

Quotable lines from his books -

Encounter with the Judge bottom of page 3

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