"I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing."Cormac McCarthy (born July 20, 1933) is an American novelist who has steadily risen in stature over the past 20 years. Though he has written since the 1960s, it was the publication of his book All the Pretty Horses in 1992, and its subsequent cinematic adaptation, that brought him widespread recognition.Interest in McCarthy skyrocketed after The Coen Brothers' Oscar-winning adaptation of his novel No Country for Old Men and the adaptation of The Road.His reputation as one of the best living American writers was cemented in the placing of his book Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West behind Don Delillo's Underworld and Toni Morrison's Beloved in a New York Times poll of the Greatest American novels of the last 25 years.A reclusive author, McCarthy surprised everybody, when he agreed to give his first-ever television interview after Oprah Winfrey selected The Road for her famous Book Club.While McCarthy has written books in genres such as historical fiction, Southern Gothic, crime and post-apocalyptic science fiction, most of his works are, at heart, Westerns.In early 2012, he made a big splash by selling his first screenplay, titled The Counselor, a drug thriller about a naive attorney who becomes involved in the drug trade. It was immediately picked up by the producers of the film adaptation of The Road, with Ridley Scott signing on to direct.
His works include:
- Child of God (1973, adapted into a film in 2013)
- Blood Meridian (1985)
- All the Pretty Horses (1992, adapted into a film in 2000)
- No Country for Old Men (2005, adapted into a film in 2007)
- The Sunset Limited (2006 play, adapted into a television film in 2011)
- The Road (2006, adapted into a film in 2009)
- The Counselor (2013, screenplay)
Recurring themes and elements:
- The Anti-Nihilist: What "carrying the fire" means. It's for this reason that McCarthy's work is often taught in conjunction with courses on Nietzsche (and to a lesser extent Kierkegaard).
- Arc Words:
- "Carrying the fire" shows up in No Country for Old Men and The Road, and is obliquely referenced at the end of Blood Meridian.
- "Call it" showed up in All the Pretty Horses before it became a motif throughout No Country for Old Men.
- "They rode on" is the most frequently used sentence in Blood Meridian.
- Beige Prose: Often used. However, he also often uses words that people who aced the SATs would have to look up. It all depends on the book.
- Crapsack World
- Downer Ending
- Gorn: Many of his works contain very grotesque amounts of violence and gore.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Most of his characters are morally ambiguous, although genuine villains do crop up from time to time.
- Historical Fiction: A lot of his works tend to be period pieces, most notably Blood Meridian.
- Humans Are Bastards
- Karma Houdini
- No Punctuation Period: McCarthy has a number of stylistic idiosyncrasies, but his most pronounced is his continual refusal to use quotation marks, as well as an aversion to apostrophes when using contractions. Another quirk of his is that in many, if not all, of his books, there is not a single exclamation mark. At all. In an interview, he stated it's just because he doesn't want to clutter up the page.
- Purple Prose : Often mixed in with his Beige Prose and he is damn good at it.
- "The mother dead these fourteen years did incubate in her own bosom the creature who would carry her off"-Blood Meridan.
- Shown Their Work: His historical fiction is known to be extensively researched.
- Southern Gothic: His pre-Blood Meridian work, in stark contrast to the Westerns he's most famous for.
- The Wild West: A lot of Western tropes crop up in his work, usually relocating them to the Modern era, or in the case of Blood Meridian, giving them a darkly Revisionist twist.