Cormac McCarthy Archive

Writ in Water: Reservation Round

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In a space like this, when we talk about genre fiction, we are often talking about its limitations: its conventions, its shallowness, its easy accessibility, its (overly) familiar repetitions, its elastic distance behind the invisible but razor-wired line of the literary.

Book vs. Movie: No Country for Old Men

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If, while watching a movie with your spouse, you like to whisper “that didn’t happen in the book” (and who doesn’t?), then you’ll be sorely disappointed by a screening of No Country for Old Men. Virtually every scene and every line of dialogue in the Coen brothers’ Academy Award-winning

Out In This Desert

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When I’ve talked about the desert in various settings over the years—with family and friends, in academic contexts, with strangers outside of the desert—I’ve heard the same remarks time and again about the unviability of the landscape, the loneliness, the emptiness, the desolation. But there is a lot more

Round-Up: Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Cormac McCarthy, and Neil Gaiman

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From Cormac McCarthy's death hoax to the new Neil Gaiman book, here's this week's biggest literary news:

Writ in Water: The Wet Years

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I live near a cemetery in the Berkeley hills that has turned green from the rain. I do most of my jogging in the cemetery, and it reminds me—especially going uphill—that our time here is fleeting. I run among the dead, and I run among the deer and turkeys

Six Books to Light the Way Through the Darkest Night(s) of Your Soul

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  John Gardner once wrote, “If there is good to be said, the writer should say it. If there is bad to be said, he should say it in a way that reflects the truth that, though we see the evil, we choose to continue among the living.” While

Far Beyond the Pale in 1970’s Missouri: A Tiny Interview With Daren Dean

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Daren Dean’s novel, Far Beyond the Pale, explores masculinity, religion, and delinquency in a coming of age story set in rural 1970’s Missouri. The novel follows Honeyboy who has moved back to Kingdom County, Missouri along with his mother following a stint in California. They return, in part, to leave

Harper Lee and the Politics of Genius in Today’s Age

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The intensity of the reaction to news of beloved author Harper Lee publishing a sequel to her masterpiece, To Kill A Mockingbird, is ironic, given the very reasons we thought we’d never see this day come: Lee often proclaimed that her first book had said all she wanted to say,

Literary Enemies: Cormac McCarthy vs. Philip Roth

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Disclaimer: These two writers are not actually enemies. As far as I know. In 2003, Harold Bloom wrote in the Boston Globe that there were only four great American novelists alive and working: Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, and Philip Roth. I don’t agree. I think there were

The Things I Haven’t Read

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Legend had it that a famous scholar of nineteenth century American literature visited my college to lecture, and someone asked him a question about Melville. He began his answer with “While I’ve never read Moby-Dick…” At this remove, I still question the man’s scholarship and sanity—but I do admire his