Cormac McCarthy’s Best Books: A Guide

Cormac McCarthy, who died Tuesday at the age of 89, was known for his rough and violent novels of the American South and West, characterized by unrelenting visions and almost biblical prose. From the outset his writing has been compared to different novelists such as William Faulkner and Mark Twain, but his themes have always and apparently been his own: justice, despair, depravity. The futile but pressing need for hope in the world.

Jerome Charlin’s description of “Satley” in a 1979 Times book review could be about any of McCarthy’s novels. “This book swoops down upon us like a terrifying flood. A language that licks, slaps, hurts — a poetic, troubled rush of rubble,” Charyn wrote. . “Without the tedious sense of decency and desire for resolution that often occurs in well-written novels, it’s personal and tough.” …’Sutori’ is like a long yell in your ear.”

These seven novels constitute the best of McCarthy’s work.

Many scholars consider this to be McCarthy’s greatest Southern novel. As The Times wrote about it, the book follows the life of the title character along the Tennessee River in the spirit of “The Doomed Huckleberry Finn.” Left with a life of privilege, Satry spends his days fishing, trawling the shady underworld of Knoxville, and mingling with drunks, scammers, and misfits. His attempts to connect more meaningfully with others always end in disaster. At nearly 500 pages, this whip-like picaresque is McCarthy’s longest novel (and perhaps his most autobiographical) and reflects the height of his wry humor.

This scorched-earth epic, widely hailed as McCarthy’s finest work, tells the challenging (albeit esoteric) story of a teenage wanderer known as “The Kid” as he makes his way across the American South to Mexico in the mid-19th century. Some might say) It’s a breathtakingly violent story. . Along the way, he joins the psychopathic Granton gang. Scalp hunters were originally dedicated to fending off Apache attacks, but instead came to indiscriminately murder nearly any Indian or Mexican they encountered. The novel’s key themes—manifest destiny, the triumph of nihilism over morality—are complemented by indelible imagery and text as vast as the desert sky.

The first of McCarthy’s border trilogy — including ‘The Crossing’ (1994) and “Plain City” (1998) — This was his breakthrough novel commercially. The story of a 16-year-old boy who heads to Mexico with his friends after being kicked out of the Texas ranch where he grew up, has the pathos and plain language that his early nasty novels lacked. The novel is a moving but non-sentimental novel about human consciousness, landscapes, horses, and the immigration that accompanied America’s migration westward.

McCarthy’s novel was made into a haunting movie by the Coen brothers, but forget about it. This book is part of a brave story and deserves a revisit. It tells the story of an average Joe who stumbles upon a leather bag worth over $2 million after a failed drug deal. It also features a contemplative small-town sheriff and a brutal killer, Anton Chigurh, who sends his victims out with a pneumatic bullgun. “No Country for Old Men” is a terrifyingly lyrical, quick-witted, but blood-dark meditation on human-on-human violence. McCarthy’s most readable work.

This brooding post-apocalyptic novel details the journey of a father and young son in the wake of an unexplained cataclysm. They encounter one horror after another, but this novel is also heartbreaking in its humanity. “My job is to take care of you,” the man said to the boy. “I have been commanded to do so by God. I will kill anyone who touches you.” This Pulitzer Prize-winning short novel is as harrowing as it is humane.

Sixteen years after The Road, McCarthy has released two new novels that are radically different from anything he has published to date. The intertwined work explores the esoteric scientific and metaphysical fields of McCarthy’s long-standing fascination: quantum physics, mathematical philosophy, and theories about the nature of consciousness. In “The Passenger,” McCarthy tells the tragic story of Bobby Western, a beautiful but troubled math genius and salvage diver haunted by the loss of his sister Alicia, who died by suicide.

A sister novel, Stella Maris, focuses on Alicia and follows the dialogue between Alicia and doctors in a psychiatric hospital in Wisconsin in 1972. In her conversation, Alicia reveals how her revolutionary pursuit of mathematical theory has led her to question. pinpointed the essence of her reality and drove her to her madness. “Reading ‘Stella Maris’ after ‘The Passenger’ is like trying to hold on to a dream you’ve had all along,” wrote Times critic Dwight Garner. “It’s an eerie, unsettling dream attuned to the silence of the universe.”

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