Monday, August 16, 2010

McCarthy as a "Serious Reader"

In the review I spoke of previously, Fonash relays a comment that Kenneth Lincoln made to him in reference to the "other writers" that Lincoln brings McCarthy into conversation with in his book.

Lincoln explains:
The mention of other writers is an attempt to place McCarthy in a modern literary context, as well as an historical tradition. He's too often seen as a literary outlaw, rather than a serious reader who references the Old Testament, Homer, Shakespeare, Joyce, Yeats, and a raft of 20th-century masters. But he's not for the masses, nor does he curry favor with the light-hearted.
The last sentence here is particularly to the point. Many of McCarthy's narratives are not for the "light-hearted" by any means. Indeed, a reader only familiar with his latest five novels would most likely be surprised (and maybe repulsed?) at the tone and content of his first five novels.

But, perhaps there is no need to sugarcoat the unsavory elements of a great writer. They are what they are. They're part of the whole package that McCarthy brings to the table as an author.

To reiterate the tautology, He is what he is: A human writer writing about the human condition, which invariably contains unsavory elements.

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