Waiting on the man
My copy of Cormac McCarthy’s latest hasn’t shown up yet, but here’s Walter Kirn’s review from the NY Times as well as a fascinating interview with McCarthy from 1992 just prior to his becoming a household name or,at least, a household name in homes where literature is taken seriously. McCarthy is one of only a few authors who can make me go back and read a passage just to wallow in the language. I did a post back in 2003 on Blood Meridian which contained this passage:
They began to come upon chains and packsaddles, singletrees, dead mules, wagons. Saddletrees eaten bare of their rawhide coverings and weathered white as bone, a light chamfering of miceteeth along the edges of the wood. They rode through a region where iron will not rust nor tin varnish. The ribbed frames of dead cattle under their patches of dried hide lay like the ruins of primitive boats upturned upon that shoreless void and they passed lurid and austere the black and dessicated shapes of horses and mules that travelers had stood afoot. These parched beasts had died with their necks stretched in agony in the sand and now upright and blind and lurching askew with scraps of blackened leather from the fretwork of their ribs they leaned with their long mouths howling after the endless tandem suns that passed above them. The riders rode on. They crossed a a vast dry lake with rows of dead volcanoes ranged beyond it like the works of enormous insects. To the south lay broken shapes of scoria in a lava bed as far as the eye could see. Under the hooves of the horses the alabaster sand shaped itself in whorls strangely symmetric like iron filings in a field and these shapes flared and and drew back again, resonating upon that harmonic ground and then turning to swirl away over the playa. As if the very sediment of things contained yet some residue of sentinence. As if the transit of those riders were a thing so profoundly terrible as to register even to the uttermost granulation of reality.
As the well-read yet vampish Mrs. tbogg put it, “You can’t get away from images like that. That’s disturbing.”
The overview of No Country For Old Men reminds me somewhat of Robert Stone’s great Dog Soldiers, so we’ll see. If I disappear for a few days you’ll know why.