My two and a half year trek through the published works of Cormac McCarthy has finally come to an end. It has literally taken me through the plains, forests, sands, and volcanic fields of West Texas and New Mexico. It has figuratively carried me across Tennessee, Mexico, and various borderlands. The journey has been life threatening, mentally taxing, and exponentially rewarding. I have met God and the devil, life, love, and death. I have had no comparable experience.
What have I gained along the way?
1. A friend among pages who shares many of my feelings and anxieties.
2. A file of over one thousand words that I had either never heard before or only vaguely understood. Unbelievable.
3. A new understanding of just how desperate the human condition is.
4. A stronger desire for love.
5. A greater appreciation for the the west and the natural world.
6. A renewed love for literature, meticulousness, and history.
A Personal Ranking of His Work:
- Blood Meridian (1985)
- Suttree (1979)
- The Road (2006)
- The Crossing (1994)
- Outer Dark (1968)
- The Orchard Keeper (1965)
- Child of God (1974)
- The Stonemason (1995)
- The Sunset Limited (2006)
- No Country for Old Men (2005)
- Cities of the Plain (1998)
- All the Pretty Horses (1992)
- The Gardener’s Son (1976)
I could spend hours talking about each work but that isn’t necessary. They speak for themselves. I hate to leave so soon, but I know we will meet again– whether in a next book, continuing research at Texas State, various publications about his work, film, or a return to the landscapes and characters that I have met along the road. Until then, I’ve got to be riding on.
While McCarthy isn’t for the faint of heart, I hope you decide to make a stop in his world. Most will be glad they did.