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Rest in Peace, Cormac McCarthy

June 14, 2023
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One of the greatest American novelists of all time, Cormac McCarthy captivated readers, critics, and the whole of the Western canon with solemn rhythms of prose accentuating descriptions of historical and social belonging amidst the rise of industrial progress, colonization, generational shifts within families, and the jagged caverns of self-understanding in his Southern-gothic and Southwestern-wild characters. 

Known for his apocalyptic and minimalist style, McCarthy wrote his novels and screenplays on a Lettera 32 Olivetti typewriter, clacking out 50 million words that consistently won awards for capturing the attitudes of an America burdened by the complex amalgamation of identities, clashing for understanding, acceptance, and survival. 

Read a quick synopsis of his major works below to find your next springboard into the world of McCarthy. As you read, ask yourself, What is progress? What is freedom? These themes and more are expertly explored by the author we’ll miss tremendously. 

Cormac McCarthy, may you rest in peace.

An epic novel about the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s.
A fierce and haunting meditation on the tenuous divide between civilization and savagery, and the essential, sometimes terrifying power of filial love.
Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, instead finds men shot dead, a load of heroin, and over $2 million in cash.
In the first book of the Border Trilogy, John Grady Cole sets off for Mexico with two companions on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.
The follow-up to All the Pretty Horses, this novel contains the unstoppable momentum of a classic western and the elegiac power of a lost American myth.
Two ranch hands driving horses in New Mexico try to save a luckless prostitute, against their better judgement. Hauntingly beautiful, filled with sorrow, humor, and awe, the final book in the Border Trilogy is a genuine American epic.
The story of a salvage diver, haunted by loss, afraid of the watery deep, pursued for a conspiracy beyond his understanding, and longing for a death he cannot reconcile with God.
The second of a two-volume masterpiece and entirely told in dialogue, Stella Maris is an intimate portrait of grief and longing, as a young woman in a psychiatric facility seeks to understand her own existence.
A man has forsaken a life of privilege to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River, among a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters.
In McCarthy's first novel, a young boy, an outlaw bootlegger, and a stoic, naturalist uncle are heroes of an intense and compelling celebration of values lost to time and industrialization.
McCarthy's acclaimed first screenplay is a taut and riveting intergenerational drama of fathers and sons, power, inequality, rage, and violence set in post-Civil War South Carolina.

For more Cormac McCarthy selections, as well as boxed sets, audio editions, and critical biographical novels, click here.

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