***The following review, such as it is, might be considered spoilerish.
Proceeding cautiously through my long-awaited, chronological rereading of the works of Cormac McCarthy, reading the supplemental materials I’ve picked up over the years, and marveling at things I hadn’t noticed first time around. Isn’t that why we reread anything?
This one, as dark and foreboding as anything he’s written, in several ways, seems the telling of the Anti-Nativity—not the birth of the Anti-Christ, but a birth magn...more
Like The Road, it is dark and sparse, and involves destitute people travelling on foot, looking for food, shelter and hope, but that is where the similarity ends.
This is set much longer ago (before cars) and tells several parallel and occasionally intersecting stories: a woman searching for her missing baby; her brother searching for her; a tinker t ...more
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:30, KJV
If there were ever a more unprofitable servant to appear in literature, it would be difficult to find one less so than Culla Holme. Brother to Rinthy, he has perpetrated the social taboo of incest. He fears his sin will be found out. When Rinthy's water breaks, he allows her to suffer through labor, refusin ...more
But maybe this one came along at just the right time in my evolution as a reader. Despite the violence and sadness, despite the intentionally evil actions of some and the wrong actions of others that were committed in innocence, this book became for me an allegor ...more
Look for a man who bares 'his orangecolored teeth in a grimace of lecherous idiocy.' Regard the 'dead gray serpentine of the river' as it flows. See the old crone with the elfin face in the woods. She won't abide a hound dog on the place, but has no qualms with a pig rooting around and sleep ...more
With 'Outer Dark', he transcended the labels and comparisons, defining himself as the greatest prose stylist of his generation, framing the rough structure for his dark personal vision of America... pop ...more
This novel should top the list in any Google search for, or be featured in any dictionary's definition of, "Southern gothic fiction." What we have here, friends, is two odysseys through a few circles like Dante's, full of nihilistic brutality, edentulous elderly, incest, cannibalism, grim reapers and angels of death, liquor, piety, grotesquery, apocalyptic ambiguities, and Biblical allegories.
You'd best wear boots when you start to readin' cuz yore fixin' to enter ...more
― Cormac McCarthy, Outer Dark
I keep reading Cormac McCarthy to find a single crack of light in his dark, grotesque lyricism. 'Outer Dark' was unconventional and amazing. The story was allegorical without being stiff, it was regional without being provincial. Like most of McCarthy's work it is Biblical in its power and intensity.
In 'Outer Dark', McCarthy is throwing chert boulders at the dark center of ...more
The ancestors had called Europeans “the orphan people” and had noted that as with orphans taken in by selfish or coldhearted clanspeople, few Europeans had remained whole. They failed to recognize the earth was their mother. Europeans were like their first parents, Adam and Eve, wandering aimlessly because the insane God who had sired them had abandoned them.I will always be a fan of McCarthy because of his treatment of the "Western" tradition. H ...more
-Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the Dead
Here, in this forested glade lorded over by Moloch, I could remain evermore. I place Outer Dark in one of the medaled positions of McCarthy’s entire body of work—it’s that extraordinary. There is an ephemeral otherness to the whole affair that renders it an uncommon jewel of a novel (and a bit of an outlier in comparison to his other books): you’re required to do a lot of the heavy-lifting and connect some dots yourself. As I don’t mind working for my keep, that’s more than ...more
This was a weird story. I know it runs a lot deeper than my brain is wanting to go. I spent a lot of time backreading to determine if I had missed something written, only to discover that what I had missed was something indirect. I did consider bringing my review down to two stars because of this, but the author has a unique writing style that kept me engaged. What impressed me the most w ...more
One of them old-timey people from in the bible.
This was as bleak and foreboding as each McCarthy novel I've read so far. Perhaps made all the more enjoyable as I just returned from visiting a very “Child of God like” part of Tennessee. Almost put me off BBQ meat, though...
The best fiction is based on the truth. However, the majority of fiction writers are terrified of real truth. Why? Because it ...more
I have read several Cormac McCarthy books: The Road, No Country for Old Men, Blood Meridian and Suttree. With the exception of Suttree I have not disliked any of those books and I even gave Suttree two stars (It Was OK) because of the stunning language that turned up regularly.
So Outer Dark was a special McCarthy experience for me. I could actually follow the story: sister has baby; brother abandons baby; ...more
It reminded me somewhat of his book "The Road" but only in that Holmes was out looking for his sister who was roaming the country trying to find their baby, and in their search they we ...more
While the writing is beautiful, lyrical, and sparse (like all of McCarthy’s writing), the issue I take with this book i ...more
I've read enough McCarthy to understand, I think, that his prose is almost tediously spartan for nine parts and then will bust a sudden swagger of rhetorgasm, as perhaps suggested by prior remarks on Blood Meridian.
Some examples (in addition to the quotations in the status updates):
Early foreshadowing in "the trees reared like enormous androids provoked ...more
Rinthy Holme has no sooner given birth to her first child than its father, her brother Culla, hoping to rid himself of the incestuous offsp ...more
I have never experienced stories or books such as Cormac McCarthy writes. None are pretty, all reach into your chest and rip your heart out but not in a romantic sense. I read this right after Child of God which completely blew me away as did the film and it was yet another story of people who I constantly wonder about. I ponder the whole nature vs nuture debate and how these lives may have been different if circumstances were drastically different than they were. How would have l ...more
Culla Holme has committed incest with Rinthy and made her pregnant. They are both very young,
illiterate and desperately poor. They inhabit an isolated and impoverished landscape in ...more
His earlier Blood M ...more