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Cormac McCarthy, one of American literature’s great novelists, died of natural causes on Tuesday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is 89 years old. A statement from the publisher confirmed his death.
McCarthy won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his stunning post-apocalyptic father-son love story. the way. He wrote most convincingly in rough, lyrical prose about men, often young men. His work had a strong Southwestern sensibility.
“McCarthy was arguably our greatest stylist, if not our greatest novelist,” says JT Barbaraise, professor of English and literature at Rutgers University. “Not only the origins of evil, but his obsession with history as well. And these two themes of his intersect again and again in McCarthy’s writings.”
Consider, for example, the opening scene of McCarthy’s Western classic. Blood Meridian. His teenage boy from Tennessee escapes and ends up in San Antonio, haggard and penniless. In exchange for a horse, saddle and boots, the boy agrees to join a rebel former Confederate captain in his attempt to invade northern Mexico and claim white American rights. That night, the young man and two new acquaintances go to a local tavern, where they meet an old Mennonite who warns them of dire consequences for their adventure in Mexico.
McCarthy’s next line is cruel and poetic.
They continued to drink, the wind blew in the streets, the stars that had been overhead were low in the west, the young people clashed with others, words were uttered that could never be corrected, and the children and the children were separated at dawn. said the second child. The corporal knelt over a Missouri boy named Earl and they mentioned his name, but he said nothing back. He lay lying on the dust in the courtyard. Men are gone, prostitutes are gone. An old man cleaned the clay floor inside the tavern. The boy lay in a puddle of blood with his skull crushed, but no one knew who made it. A third came with them into the courtyard. It was Mennonite. A warm wind blew and the east embraced a gray light. The poultry that roosted among the vines began to fuss and crow.
The Mennonite said there was nothing more fun in the tavern than on the way there. He had his hat in his hand, but this time he put it on his head again, turned him around and went out the gate.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve read that book, but I’ve read it a dozen times,” says Barbarez. “There is a passage in which he describes an Indian raid on a cavalry force that had been formed. And it is a massacre, which is about two paragraphs. This is the most extraordinary and beautiful sentence I have ever seen. I mean, I think Fitzgerald had the ability to do that, and I think Faulkner had the same kind of ability, and it’s the threat and the terror in such an inescapable way. It’s a wonderful thing to draw.”
McCarthy was born in Rhode Island but was raised in the South as his father was an attorney for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Beginning his writing career, he changed his name from Charles to Cormac so as not to be confused with ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s famous dummy Charlie McCarthy.
his first novel, orchard keeperpublished by Random House in 1965, Blood Meridian Released in 1985, it received critical acclaim. And in 1992, a youth novel was published. all cute horses The first book in his “Border Trilogy” won the National Book Award and made McCarthy famous.
no country for old people What started as a screenplay grew into a novel, cementing the writer’s reputation as a giant of the Western canon. The film adaptation won four Academy Awards in 2008, including Best Picture.
An extremely private writer, McCarthy hated the smell of celebrities and refused most interviews. But she made an exception for Oprah in 2007, who of course asked why and said, “Well, I don’t think it’s smart.”
McCarthy then shared stories of literary inspiration. It begins with a writer and his young son in Texas.
“He and I went to El Paso and checked into an old hotel there,” McCarthy said. “One night John was asleep–it was night, probably about 2 or 3 in the morning–and I went there and just stood looking out the window at this town. I heard the sound of a train passing by.” And a very lonely sound.
“I had this image of a fire on a hill and everything in ruins, but I thought about my young son and wrote that page and that was it. And about four years later, This is what happened to me, Ireland and I woke up one morning to find that it wasn’t two pages of another book, it was a book, and it was about that man and that little boy .”
Born in the darkness of El Paso, these few pages grew into McCarthy’s devastating Pulitzer Prize winner. the way.