Saturday, August 29, 2009


Corman McCarthy, American novelist

Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Or, The Evening Redness In The West, is a brutal novel that traces the journeys of a band of marauding scalp-hunters in the Old West who viciously murder Indians and Mexicans, armed and unarmed alike. The book is a dark masterpiece and a meditation on violence and the American psyche that owes much to Melville and Faulkner, as well as the King James Bible and Paradise Lost. McCarthy has written a number of excellent books, including the Border trilogy (which includes the National Book Award-winning All the Pretty Horses), and his most recent novel The Road is being made into a film, but he is probably best known to the general public as the writer of the book that became the Coen Brothers' film No Country for Old Men, which won four Oscars including Best Picture of the Year (2007).

Wheezing literary eminence Harold Bloom (pictured here guarding the canon) hailed Blood Meridian as one of the best books of the last century and placed it firmly in the Western canon, as well as his own "canon of the American Sublime." Bloom spoke recently to AV Club:

"I went straight through it and was exhilarated. I said, 'My God! This reminds me of Thomas Pynchon at his best, or Nathanael West.' It was the greatest single book since Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. In fact, I taught it for several years...I don’t think McCarthy will ever match it, but still… He has attained genius with that book."

Read the entire Harold Bloom interview here.

Professor Amy Hungerford teaches The American Novel Since 1945 at Yale, and she devoted two lectures in the course to Blood Meridian. This is the first lecture, and the second can be found here:

In a rare interview, the reclusive McCarthy speaks with Oprah. Perhaps not as insightful an interviewer as one would hope, her teatime chat at the Santa Fe Institute will give you some idea of McCarthy the man--and surprisingly enough he does not carry a six-shooter or wear a scapular of dried human ears. In fact, he seems like a perfectly pleasant gentleman--but looks can deceive.

The latest film based on McCarthy's work, The Road, is a harrowing post-apocalyptic story about a father and son (played by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee) traveling through a burnt out wasteland in search of safety while evading predators. The film will be released October 16th.

Read a great on-set story from the New York Times


Monster Paperbag said...

I'm nervous about the movie adaptation of The Road. I hope it's good.

Bob Rini said...

I hope so, too. It will be q totally different experience from reading the book (obviously) because the book benefited from McCarthy's unique prose and the cumulative effect of his words. Film is different, and of course, and there have been great film adaptations of books, but I'd still recommend the book. At first, at least. Keep your fingers crossed, Monster Paperbag.

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